Jose Mourinho has stepped up to the table as the de facto mind games master. Given that he is also the best manager in the league sometimes it is hard to distinguish what is achieved through managerial skill and what has or has not been aided by mind games. For instance going to Man City and getting a win at a time when City looked impregnable can be attributed to a brilliant game plan and the players executing it more than anything else. Mind games alone do not win the battle. But it certainly helps.
Mourinho vs Wenger
What Has Been Said (in summary)
Mourinho: We cannot win the League we are not ready
yet (little horses in the race).
Wenger: Only someone afraid of failure would say they cannot win the League in their current position.
Mourinho: Wenger is the master of failure.
Wenger: I am embarrassed for Mourinho
On Wenger reaching 1000 games. Mourinho says he "admires" both the club and Wenger for sticking it out despite many "bad moments".
Arsenal 0-0 Chelsea
Chelsea 6-0 Arsenal
Should Managers Respond?
Only after Wenger rose to the bait, did Mourinho brand him a master of failure. Rising to the challenge, Wenger essentially put himself in the firing line for a war of words. Which is not wise given Mourinho lacks respect! The last time a manager rose to a masters bait in a title race, was Rafa Benitez when Liverpool challenged Man Utd for the title in 2009. That was effectively the end of Liverpool's title challenge. Arsenal's title challenge this season has gone the same way.
Though truthful, the master of failure comment broke a boundary of respect between managers. What is more alarming however is that Arsenal as a team did not rally after these insults where levelled at themselves and their manager. They went to Stamford Bridge and rolled over.
Mourinho vs Moyes
"Yes, he's the right man for the job. They can still make the top four. It won't be easy, they know that. They know they are in the limit for the top four, and they also know that teams like us, Liverpool and Arsenal are doing OK. So it won't be easy for them to close such a big gap. But it's possible."
"I feel sorry for them," Mourinho said. "I never enjoy it when somebody is having some problems, like they're having. But United are United. David is experienced enough to cope with the situation, and the future will be
better for them.”
Mourinho vs Pellegrini
What Has Been Said
‘If they [Real Madrid] get rid of me, I won’t be going to coach Málaga. I will go to a big club in the Premier League or Serie A.’
Mourinho in 2010
‘I don’t know him. He worked in Spain, I worked in another club. We played Real Madrid against Malaga, nothing more. I don’t have any complaint about him.’
Pellegrini in 2013
‘Maybe it is a small horse if the manager thinks like that. It can be a little horse, but very rich. This is the team that has spent most money in the last 10 years, is the
team that spent most money this year and the team that spent the most money in the transfer window. So, little – but rich.’
Pellegrini in 2014
‘Academically he is an engineer and he does not need a calculator to work it out. Mata was sold for £37m, De Bruyne £18m. That is £55m. We brought in Matic for £21m and Salah for £11m – that is £32m. So £55m less £32m is £23m. So for Chelsea in this window it is £23m – he does not need a calculator for this.’
Mourinho in 2014
Chelsea 2-1 Man City
Man City 0-1 Chelsea
A slice of luck and an opportunist Fernando Torres decided the first game whilst the second game saw Chelsea stake their claim to the title and outplay Man City at home, something that had not previously been done all season. Make no mistake this win was pure brilliance from Chelsea from preparation to execution. Mourinho talked the talk and his players executed his plans.
Chelsea have always been a club with plenty of strong personalities. This is mirrored in their transfer market activity. The purchase of Willian came at a time when Chelsea had three of the best attacking midfielders around. They didn’t need him. They bought him so he would not strengthen a rival, at the time of speaking it was looking like Tottenham. Willian has come into the side and proved a good signing but at the time with Mata Hazard and Oscar already in the side. Signing Willian was excessive.
The signing of Salah, or the daylight robbery of Salah as Liverpool fans might view it, happened for similar reasons. They simply did not need Salah. But rather than see him thrive in an ever improving Liverpool squad. Chelsea are in a position to buy and have him warm the bench.
Man Utd's power stems from their ability to pay top salaries and prices for players, and the fact they are genuinely one of the biggest clubs in world football. There is a certain prestige of being able to call yourself a Man Utd player. But rather than being put to good effect, these points have been exploited.
Marouane Fellaini has and will continue to be a feckless use of 25 million. Rooney has been indulged with a new contract, and Van Persie looks set to follow. Whilst Mata was ruthlessly dismissed and bought for what now looks like an extortionate fee. Time will tell for Mata as he is still a quality player, such an action serves as an example to the rest of the squad. No Chelsea players will be under any illusions that they are bigger than they are. The same cannot be said at Utd.
the kings of penalties?
A few games later, Liverpool are awarded 3 penalties at Old Trafford. So this clearly failed. Or Jose could simply have been moaning. But don't be suprised if Mourinho ignites more penalty talk coming up to the Liverpool game.