Chelsea FC: Oscar Challenged Jose Mourinho’s Tactics, Was He Right?


The Daily Mail is reporting that, during a team meeting in the end of January, Oscar spoke up against the increasingly defensive tactics that Jose Mourinho had been implementing, saying that the team needs to be more adventurous. Since then, Oscar has only been allowed to complete one full game (10 in his last 11). It is suggested that the lack of playing time might be a consequence of the team meeting where Oscar spoke up against Mourinho.

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I usually do not buy into that stuff (although sometimes it does turn out to be true), but I do think that the story brings out an important question: what is going on with Chelsea lately? What happened to the magic we saw earlier in the season? Where is the team that got scored on 3 times, but scored 5 of their own against Everton in August? With a very talented attack, and a very creative midfield, why have we been depending on penalties, corners, and fouls to score?

The answer is simple, and it is classic Mourinho. We have become more defensive… a lot more! We often look like we are playing a deep 4-1-3-2 with only Hazard and Costa truly encouraged to go up, instead of the attacking 4-2-3-1 that got us top spot in the first place.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I do not understand the motivation. We have 8 games left, Arsenal and Manchester United have been in formidable form, and this is the only trophy we have left to chase this season. Mourinho does not want to give up his seat of power, and that instinct is good!

It is also classic, classic Mourinho. He does it in games, and he does it in seasons. When we are winning late into the second half, it is almost expected that we will see an attacking player subbed for a defensive midfielder, or even a fifth defender. Similarly, when Mourinho is winning late in the season, he switches his tactics: defense over flair.

It is an attitude that wins trophies, and he has shown us that with silverware, not just talk. In Madrid, Mourinho’s attitude was eerily similar toward the end of his campaigns. His message to the midfield was simple: get the ball to Ronaldo or defend. The message now is exactly the same, but with Hazard. It is an effective strategy, and I understand the motivation, but is it really necessary right now?

We have 7 points between us and Arsenal, with a game in hand. The reigning champions just slumped down to fourth. You can laud the form of Arsenal and Manchester United, but you cannot call it consistent. We simply don’t have enough to fear yet! If we take a game to allow all of our players to play “adventurously” again, and it goes really poorly, the worse that can happen is that we will be down to a 4 point gap with a game in hand. That is a risk worth taking to play good football!

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It is no surprise that Willian got two assists for Brazil against France, and Oscar got a goal… they were allowed to play their football there! Even playing second fiddle to Neymar, currently one of the best attackers in the world, they find the space to play offensively. Even with the extra responsibilities of backing up an engine room that does not compare to Chelsea’s, they find the space to play offensively. They are encouraged to take risks, and they show time and time again that they can do it well.

It is undeniable that form has dropped almost all around (except for Hazard, who has been picking up a lot of the slack), but it does not fully account for the boring, difficult football we have been seeing lately. We have been sitting back, waiting to run out the 720 minutes left on the clock. Let’s bring the fight to them again! Loosen the dogs! We might get hit, but we’ll hit harder. That’s how Chelsea plays, and that’s why we’re on top.

Next: Chelsea FC: Filipe Luis Makes The Team Better

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