Costa & Terry Training Ground Bust-Up Typifies Chelsea Problems. Stan Speaks…
So the Chelsea malaise continues. I don’t think anyone saw the start the Champions have had, and it leaves so many questions that it will be interesting to see if Jose can answer in the coming weeks.
The kids first. Remember the glowing tribute Jose gave to his academy, the under age groups sweeping all before them at home and in Europe? Well i bet you a quid that the likes of Loftus-Cheek and Co. will be as near first team action as I will in the coming months, and the reason is simple.
Jose is a pragmatist, and the nightmare start Chelsea have had means the fanciful (if he was ever being serious in the first place) dreams of a Fergie-like Jose ushering in a generation of Chelsea kids just won’t happen because Jose at times like this relies on what he knows, and that’s off the peg, experienced talent.
Also, the dressing room characters could be an issue for him.
A little birdie told me Messieurs Costa and Terry had a little training ground bust-up recently adding an interesting twist to the poor start the champions have had.
Now training ground bust ups are nothing new; by the time you’ll have read this column there will be half a dozen or so players kicking off from Arsenal to Aberdeen, but not many will involve a volatile star striker and the Captain, Leader, Legend.
Jose needs to assert authority in the dressing room or I could see a scenario where Costa and maybe even Hazard, courted by the mega euros of Spain or France leave centre stage and find Jose and his current prickly behaviour just a little too much.
It’s early days of course and Mourinho is at his best when backed against a wall, but with big names squabbling, results not forthcoming, maybe those wise sages that suggested the special one may already be looking for his exit, could be proved right.
Great managers are also lucky managers. Fergie’s 99 European Cup, Rafa likewise in Istanbul, sometimes you need fate and the Gods to give you a helping hand to change the mood, to get the fans onside and create your destiny.
So I wonder if Anthony Martial may have just done that for LVG. Man United were average at best against Liverpool, shot shy, lacking a spark, ideas and the kind of invention we all dined on under Fergie.
So when the teenager who even Wayne Rooney knew nothing of came onto the pitch at OT, we may have expected some pace, maybe a shot or two and even some nervous poor touches, but no. The kid broke onto the scene with a burst of speed and touch that had everyone in the press box beside me drooling.
United seal the victory, a star is born and the headline writer had their Martial Law headline, and virtually none of the 75 thousand United fans were talking of lethargy, that lack of spark but of the potential of the new start and an almost cocky “I told you so” post match interview from LVG.
Martial may be a superstar or just another over priced kid, only time will tell, but for Van Gaal, under real pressure from a growing number of Man United fans, may have found his lucky charm to get United back on the goal trail.
Can we retire the Tinker man name now please? How about “I’ve learned my lesson and am going to abide by the adage, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, man…”. Long winded I know, but for me Ranieri has learned a valuable lesson late on in his managerial career, namely to trust players, trust an existing backroom staff and be very light touch when it comes to something that works so well.
Leicester’s performance against Villa was the perfect illustration. It was the spirit, will, desire of a Nigel Pearson team that won the game and saw that incredible comeback. Not a change in formation, a defensive midfield one or two or adopting 3 central defenders.
Modern managers and Claudio of old would have thought, fretted, gone to the notepad for inspiration, when the fundamentals of a football team are always the same, particularly in the Premier League, and thats something you can’t buy; team spirit.
Ranieri knows this and if he’s clever, will ride the coat-tails of a fantastic group of committed players, a raucous KP stadium and knowledgeable backroom staff including Kevin Phillips, Craig Shakespeare, Steve Walsh and Micky Stowell.
So an old dog can and is learning new tricks; Ranieri the “leave it as it bloody well is-man”.