Last season, Jose Mourinho’s narrative was clear. Chelsea were the underdogs, they were the ‘little horse’ in the Premier League title race and if they achieved anything then it would come as something as a surprise. Clearly Mourinho did not believe what he was saying for one second. He knew exactly what his players were capable of and will have been disappointed to miss out on the title.
This season the narrative is different. Mourinho can no longer claim that his team is still a work in progress. The acquisitions of Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas have put the finishing touches to an already stellar line-up of players and Chelsea are clear favourites – with users of Betfair’s exchange betting app – to wrestle the title from Manchester City. Instead of being the little horse, Chelsea are now the playground bullies who have built up a reputation with referees and are being targeted. There is apparently a ‘campaign’ against them, according to Mourinho.
Rub of the Green
There may be some truth in what Mourinho is saying. Chelsea players may have been scrutinised more closely when it comes to diving or foul play, and there have been times when they have not had the rub of the green. But is there really a campaign? Over the course of a season there are always times when things go your way, and times when they do not. For most teams, these will generally even themselves out. By highlighting a perceived bias, and then refusing to talk to the press for fear of his words landing him with another FA charge, Mourinho is painting himself as a martyr.
In some quarters he may gain some sympathy but this course of action looks likely to ensure that further decisions go against Chelsea. It is hard to believe that there is a campaign against Chelsea, but referees have a number of 50-50 calls to make during a game and there must be some subjectivity in their decision making. They are bound to be influenced by outside factors such as the crowd and the reaction of managers. If Mourinho continues to aggravate those in charge of the game, and continues his silent protest, it seems highly unlikely that many more of these 50-50 calls will go his way in the future than they do now.