Chelsea vs. FC Basel: Are Blues Fans Giving Jose Mourinho an Easy Ride?
So, that's the honeymoon well and truly over.
After an impressive first 45 minutes against Hull City Tigers on the opening day of the season, it's been pretty much downhill for the Blues.
They scraped up another win over Aston Villa a few days after that Hull victory, and they haven't tasted victory in any competition since then. They tied with Manchester United before losing in the Super Cup to Bayern Munich and against Everton last weekend.
Arguably the worst of those results came at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, as Swiss champions FC Basel pulled off a major upset, winning 2-1 in their Champions League Group E opener.
If Mourinho didn't feel any pressure upon returning to West London in June, he must certainly be now—although, you won't be hearing a word of it from Chelsea fans.
Give or take one or two changes in the Basel lineup, this was a team Chelsea faced four months ago—a team they swept aside with relative ease en route to lifting the Europa League.
Winning 2-1 in Switzerland in the first leg of their semifinal in May, Chelsea cruised to a 3-1 victory on home soil. Not this time.
It was a pedestrian performance from Chelsea at best, which surely must have frustrated fans. There were glimpses of the verve we know they're capable of, but, in the end, their performance was found wanting, and they paid the ultimate price.
The man in charge at Chelsea when these teams last met was a certain Rafa Benitez, whose name was booed and jeered at the slightest sign of a drop in form during his Chelsea tenure.
With the Blues struggling to find their flow under Mourinho, however, his name continues to be sung with all the gusto that helped define his legend during his first spell in West London.
Sure, he has plenty of credit, but are Chelsea fans committing the ultimate sin by accepting his failure based on what he previously achieved?
Is Mourinho being given an easy ride?
On the hour mark, it was a telling moment when Mourinho's name echoed around Stamford Bridge against Basel. Chelsea were leading 1-0, but Basel were forcing their way into the game as Mourinho's side continued to huff and puff.
Would Benitez have been afforded such patience? In fact, would any of the managers who have kept the manager's seat warm in the years between Mourinho's two spells as boss have been afforded such patience?
They wouldn't, and Mourinho shouldn't be either.
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