Glenn Hoddle Grades Jose Mourinho's Start at Chelsea This Season
Ex-England manager Glenn Hoddle will be contributing regularly to Bleacher Report UK this season. Learn more out about Glenn's exciting new website venture, Zapsportz, here.
The Mourinho Factor swept into the Bridge in preseason like a whirlwind. Never before has a manager been appointed to so much expectation and with so much love sent his way, than our Portuguese Special One.
I was at the Bridge when the prodigal son returned, and the vibe was one of true excitement from the Chelsea faithful. Rightly so.
Mourinho's reign started with some scintillating football, as they ran out 2-0 winners against newly-promoted Hull City. I said before that game I fancied them to win the title, closely pushed by Manchester City.
Watching them against the champions Manchester United at Old Trafford, I could see the old Jose tactics back on show—keeping things tight and making it difficult for United. Chelsea were happy to take a draw that day.
But then they faced a revived Everton, led by Roberto Martinez, and I felt Mourinho picking the wrong striker contributed to their defeat. Playing new signing Samuel Eto’o up top on his own was a big mistake.
Eto’o needs time to adjust to the Premier League—Mourinho should initially start him at home, but use Eto'o as an impact sub from the bench in away games.
That said, if the Blues had taken their finishing boots to Goodison they would have won. It's been a so-so start for Mourinho's Chelsea in the league, but what a body blow losing at home to Basel in their opening Champions league tie. Nobody saw that coming, I certainly didn’t, and it will have left Jose shell-shocked.
Suddenly, what would normally be a routine home win over Fulham on Saturday has taken on huge proportions for Mourinho. It's rare for him to lose back-to-back games, and they simply dare not lose this west London derby under present circumstances.
If they do, the knives will be well and truly out.
GLENN'S GRADE: I would rate Chelsea’s start to their Premier League season as average, but with a lot more still to come. Six out of 10 would be my mark for them at this moment in time.
* Zapsportz.com is the new exciting website where Glenn Hoddle reveals how kids from all over the world can enter the X-factor style Zapstarz, the former England manager's search for a new generation of footballing talent.
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