While Manchester United’s troubles started the moment that Sir Alex Ferguson retired, Chelsea have suffered a humiliating and abrupt fall from grace this season after dominating the last Premier League campaign.
Manchester United’s plight is easier to work out – they were managed from top to bottom by a charismatic workaholic with a marvellously apt skill set for over 25 years and have struggled to fill the void since – but Chelsea’s current travails are as baffling as they are dramatic.
The Stamford Bridge billionaires do, after all, have the same squad and the same manager who took them to the title by 8 clear points last season – and they might have won it with even more points had there been any serious competition in the spring.
CHELSEA IN THE MIRE
But they now find themselves in 16th place, just one point above the relegation zone
That would seem barely plausible even after 4 games of a campaign but we are now nearly at the half way point of the season. And another defeat to high-flying Leicester on Monday night compounded their problems.
But TFF believes that there is a common strand to both plights – and that is the respective egos of the managers and their apparent unwillingness to admit that they may be wrong.
In the case of Chelsea, we all know that Jose is a great champion and (possibly because of this) a quite terrible loser. The 2-2 draw against Swansea on the opening day of the season drew his ire and he directed it at Eva Carneiro.
Although any suggestion of sexism was completely unfounded, Mourinho humiliated Carneiro and arguably did himself no favours by slating her simply for doing her job. It was a classic case of sour grapes and it really sums Mourinho up. He is gracious in victory but horrible in defeat.
Unless something else has gone on behind the scenes, this arrogant treatment of Carneiro is still seemingly sending shockwaves through the Chelsea camp. But sorry seems to be the hardest word for Mourinho and it may yet cost him his job.
MANCHESTER UNITED PLAYING LIKE ROBOTS
As for Louis van Gaal, any casual Manchester United fan can tell you that he has got his tactics wrong.
Two defensive midfielders for virtually every game home and away takes the speed and creativity out of the side. And his penchant for the safe sideways pass, instead of the riskier forward ball which so often pays dividends in The Premier League, has made this the most predictable Manchester United side that we have ever seen.
Yet, despite all the paper talk, and all the complaints of the fans, Van Gaal steadfastly refuses to change his ways. He will talk to you about the ‘process’ at Manchester United, which he very cleverly failed to put a time limit on.
EVEN WORLD-CLASS MANAGERS CAN IMPROVE
We feel that both are world-class managers but they have perhaps got wound up in their own hype. Manchester United won’t win anything playing like this and Chelsea don’t look as if they are playing for their boss right now.
TFF believes that a bit of humility and openness to change could work wonders for both managers – but don’t hold your breath.