Chelsea beat Everton in a thrilling contest at Goodison Park to put themselves top of the Premier League on Saturday. Most managers would be delighted with a 6-3 away win over a side who have a reputation for taking points from the league's four biggest clubs.
However, as his self-anointed nickname would suggest, Jose Mourinho is not like most managers.
The Special One was full of praise for his side's overall performance at Goodison Park on Saturday, but he was scathing in his criticism of their defensive errors, telling the official Chelsea website:
We made defensive mistakes. I don’t want to speak for Everton and Roberto [Martinez] but my team made defensive mistakes. I just said on Chelsea TV before I came down that it’s difficult to believe on Wednesday afternoon we trained for one-and-a-half hours and we did only two things: defensive corners and defensive lateral free-kicks.
Imagine how happy I am with the result of our work! It would have been better to give them Wednesday off and stay at home with my wife and kids!
Although he is set to lose a large chunk of his squad to international duty, Mourinho will be pressuring himself to find out what happened to the bus that the Blues would normally have parked.
The fact that there is not one single player or position to pinpoint as the cause of conceding three goals will trouble him.
Branislav Ivanovic's wanderings down the wing allowed him to score the second goal inside three minutes of the match, but they left the right flank exposed for Kevin Mirallas to score on the stroke of half-time.
Cesar Azpilicueta has so far hung on to his starting spot at left-back, but a lack of communication with Eden Hazard in front of him left Chelsea short on the break at Goodison. If he is to avoid losing his place to Filipe Luis, Azpilicueta will need to work with Hazard to avoid the same gaps being left again.
Ramires made his first start of the season and got a goal and an assist, but he still managed to highlight the biggest flaw in his game.
When Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas have started in the holding role, both have an understanding of their positioning—if one goes forward, the other one stays back to act as a shield for the defence. With Fabregas further forward and Ramires in the holding role, the defence was left exposed on the counter whenever Matic burst forward, due to the Brazilian being out of position.
While his disorganised defenders did not help his cause, Thibaut Courtois was caught off his line for two of the goals, although the excellent save he made with the score at 4-3 will have gone some way to redeeming him.
The pressure to avoid such free-scoring games comes from Mourinho's own philosophy. High-tempo performances are thrilling for the supporters and neutrals, but it is not how Mourinho likes his teams to play. Speaking after Arsenal beat Tottenham Hotspur 5-4 in 2004, he told BBC Sport:
Five-four is a hockey score, not a football score. In a three-against-three training match, if the score reaches 5-4 I send the players back to the dressing rooms as they are not defending properly. So to get a result like that in a game of 11 against 11 is disgraceful.
His side went on to set the record for the fewest goals conceded in the Premier League—15—that season, while picking up a record 95 points. However, the league has evolved since his first spell in charge, and clean sheets are now much harder to come by. Mourinho must also realise that while grinding out a 1-0 win will satisfy him, such scorelines are unlikely to go down too well with the supporters, or Roman Abramovich.
Chelsea have spent the past few years building a team with a new dynamic, based around free-flowing, attacking football. Mourinho needs to adjust his expectations within this philosophy to avoid piling the pressure on himself.
Conceding three goals is rarely ideal, but if you can score six in reply, does it really matter?
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