10 Biggest Concerns for Jose Mourinho Ahead of 2014-15 Season
After all the talk of Chelsea being little horses in the title race last season, Jose Mourinho has spent the summer building a thoroughbred squad. The transition from the old guard to a new team built in his image is almost complete, and he has declared himself happy with the players at his disposal, per Ed Aarons at The Guardian.
Despite being ready to challenge for trophies again, Mourinho will still have some concerns entering the 2014-15 season. Click through to see the biggest issues and the worst-case scenarios that The Special One could face in the coming season.
Will He Be Able to Keep Everybody Happy?
Chelsea’s squad certainly looks strong, with at least two quality players for each position.
When faced with the same dilemma last year, Mourinho showed no mercy in selling fan favourite Juan Mata and Belgian youngster Kevin de Bruyne after they complained about a lack of playing time.
He will not have so much flexibility this time around, giving him the tricky task of keeping 23 talented footballers happy.
Who Will Start in Goal?
Both Thibaut Courtois and Petr Cech have the credentials to claim the No. 1 spot for their own, and keeping both happy will involve a lot of difficult decisions and some heavy rotation when it comes to the domestic cup competitions.
Will John Terry Be Fit Enough Throughout the Season?
John Terry came in from the cold last year to start the majority of Premier League games for Chelsea.
Having been deemed unfit by Rafa Benitez, Mourinho has brought the best out of his captain again and will be hoping for a repeat performance this year. However, Terry has a history of niggling injuries. If one of them strikes during the season, he will be tough to replace.
Chelsea may have plenty of options at centre-half, but Terry brings more to the side than solid defending. Frank Lampard’s departure has left Petr Cech as the vice-captain, but Terry is more efficient than the goalkeeper at leading the line.
Can Oscar Recover and Maintain His Form?
Mourinho put his neck on the line last season when he stated that Oscar was his No. 10, per Matt McGeehan of the Press Association (via The Independent), and the best player in the squad to boot.
A serious dip in form after the Christmas period was put down to the player preparing for the World Cup, but he will have no such excuses this year.
Oscar has the potential to become one of the best players in the world, and his versatility could see him emulate Cesc Fabregas in being able to play several midfield positions.
However, he will need to work on his fitness to enable him to maintain his form across four competitions throughout the season if he is to have a long-term future at Stamford Bridge.
Will Diego Costa Perform in the Premier League?
Diego Costa has hit the ground running in pre-season, scoring four goals in six games. His physique and aggressive style of play would appear to make him the perfect fit for the Premier League, but that can only be confirmed once the competition starts.
If he falters, Mourinho will be left to rely on either Didier Drogba or Fernando Torres—a far from ideal scenario.
Do Chelsea Have Sufficient Depth Up Front?
Didier Drogba’s return has warmed the hearts of many a Chelsea fan, but he sustained an injury in the penultimate pre-season game and is facing a race to be fit for the bench against Burnley.
At 36 years old, Drogba will only play a supporting role this season, leaving Fernando Torres to pick up the pieces if Diego Costa sustains any significant injuries.
Torres has been spectacularly unsuccessful so far, and Mourinho will need to ensure that he has a fourth option available from the under-21 side in case of emergency.
What to Do with Fernando Torres
Fernando Torres is a shadow of the player he once was, and his confidence has seemed to be at rock bottom for several seasons.
Playing every week did little to alleviate this, but it is unlikely that sitting on the bench for the whole season will help much, either.
Mourinho must find a way to keep the striker motivated in case he is called upon, while ensuring that the best interests of the club are met.
How Would an Injury Crisis Affect the Squad Dynamic?
Chelsea have played dynamic, dominating football throughout their pre-season campaign, using all available players in the majority of the matches. They have at least two quality players for each position, but if multiple key individuals are hit with injury at the same time, it could leave them in trouble tactically.
For example, the midfield pairing of John Obi Mikel and Ramires is certainly a good second option. However, it would be far less fluid than the first-choice pivot of Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas.
It would take an apocalyptic level of injuries to cause a major crisis, but as Arsenal fans will tell you, anything is possible in football.
Will He Win a Trophy?
The Special One has now endured two seasons without silverware. A third would be unthinkable.
Although he ruled that last year was a transition year, and although he said he would not be challenging for anything until 2014-15, it will still have been a disappointment to end 2013-14 in that manner.
Mourinho has relied on his confidence throughout his career, and there is a chance that three consecutive seasons without a single trophy could shake his resolve.
Will He Keep His Job?
Mourinho is building a squad to dominate for a decade, per Darren Lewis at The Mirror, and his contract still has another three years to run.
However, the hire and fire policy at Chelsea has become something of a joke in recent times.
Roman Abramovich is highly unlikely to countenance another season without success in some form, and despite the rhetoric of this being a long-term project, Mourinho will be well aware that his job could be in jeopardy if his squad fail to deliver.