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Chelsea Players Are Undermining Jose Mourinho with Their Diving Antics

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Chelsea Players Are Undermining Jose Mourinho with Their Diving Antics
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"There are no divers at Chelsea," claimed Jose Mourinho in The Telegraph. Well, events in recent weeks seem to suggest otherwise.

The Chelsea manager likes to cast himself as a man of principles—one who often endeavors to practice what he preaches.

How true that actually is comes down to opinion, what side of the spectrum you find yourself on. If his players continue behaving the way they have recently, however, life's going to become very difficult for the Portuguese.

Indeed, against Derby County on Sunday, Ramires became the second Chelsea player in as many games to be booked for simulation—the first being Oscar after his dramatics against Southampton on New Year's Day.

In fairness to Ramires, his attempts to win a penalty were not as cynical as his compatriot's just a few days earlier, but it was nevertheless an embarrassing moment on an otherwise positive afternoon for Chelsea.

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The Blues progressed to the fourth round of the FA Cup with a 2-0 victory at iPro Stadium, yet their win was overshadowed by another talking point completely out of Mourinho's control.

"I will speak to Ramires. I didn't watch it on TV but [referee Andre] Marriner was so close, so if he made that decision it's because he's right," the Chelsea manager continued.

What Mourinho says to the Brazilian exactly will be interesting, as right now his players are forcing him into a debate he shouldn't be part of.

It's not at the opposition where Mourinho is being forced to point the finger these days; it's all happening a little too close to home.

When Chelsea faced Liverpool shortly after Christmas, the Blues manager was within his rights to criticize Luis Suarez when he appeared to make the most of an off-the-ball challenge by Samuel Eto'o.

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The same Telegraph report quotes Mourinho's description of the Uruguayan as being like an "acrobatic swimming pool diver."

Since then, however, it's his own players who have been put in the firing line, leaving Mourinho little choice but to agree with the criticism leveled at them—either that or appear a hypocrite.

Rather wisely, he has stopped short of publicly condemning Oscar and Ramires, although the pair have put their manager in an unfair position.

It's a little Catch-22. Mourinho's damned if he does, damned if he doesn't.

Oscar was through on goal, odds on to score, when he opted to take a tumble after minimal contact from the Southampton goalkeeper Kelvin Davis.

That Oscar should have opened the score at St. Mary's, receiving a yellow card instead, threw the spotlight of scrutiny firmly on Mourinho and amplified everything he has protested over in the past.

Warren Little/Getty Images

Suarez had been adjudged to be guilty of similar antics by Mourinho, but here now was one of his own players attempting to fool the referee.

How can a manager raise a valid point in the aftermath of a game if his own players are behaving no better? It's simple—he can't.

Ramires and Oscar are far from being the only guilty players when it comes to simulation in the Premier League, yet their consistent offending recently not only amplifies the problem but also makes it difficult for their manager to debate the issues in the future.

Mourinho's position on the subject right now is severely weakened—not by his own doing but through those he selects come matchday.

It's been an unwelcome addition to the English game in the past however many decades and one the authorities must look to crack down upon.

The way things are going, though, the irony is Mourinho, a manager with more than the odd soundbite or two on the matter, may be most affected. And for that, his players will have a lot to answer for if they refrain from cleaning up their act.

 

Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter @garryhayes.

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