After a crippling home draw against Swansea Jose Mourinho had the following excuse:
“We did not look tired and exhausted, we are tired and exhausted,” You cannot isolate the performance out of the context. This is the ninth match of April, it is not human. We have a squad of 22 that is reduced to 13 or 14 players. The players are very tired.”
Instinctively most would assume the intention here for Mourinho is to admirably defend his players but really behind it all is to lower expectations for himself. Beside that as a point of fact Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Celta Vigo also played nine games in April and even Liverpool played 10 matches between Dec. 31 and Jan. 31.
This was not the first time Mourinho tried this of course. In the first season of the return of the prodigal son to Chelsea, Mourinho oddly downplayed his squad chances throughout the season. A summer net spend in excess of £45M and a formidable squad were to be ignored apparently. Most famously after a February home win against eventual Champions Manchester City the portuguese offered the following when asked of his title race chances against City and Arsenal:
“Two horses and a little horse. A little horse that still needs milk and to learn how to jump. A horse that next season can race.”
Again, that was February mind you but it offered perfect insight into one of Mourinho’s tools of success over the years – keeping the bar of expectations low. This artificially boosts his reputation as SoccerSurgery has laid out before when we thoroughly examined Mourinho’s legacy. These latest comments just add further proof. We expect nothing less from Mourinho now.
In the leadup to tomorrow’s big match against Arsenal, the Special One made a point of forecasting a weakened lineup and priorities elsewhere i.e the Europa league. Mourinho famously never reveals his thoughts on his lineups in advance. The thought here then by Mourinho is clear – A finish outside the top 4 is not my fault! It was the schedule’s fault! I was forced by the villainous schedule people to prioritize one over the other!
We are not falling for this for one minute but with this working for him in building a “special” legacy worth trying again we suppose.