Sep 19, 2013, 8:45 AM EDT
Following Chelsea’s shock 2-1 loss at home to FC Basel, Jose Mourinho accepted responsibility for his side’s performance.
“I am the manager, I am responsible for everything,” he told Sky Sports.
“Especially after a bad result. In the good moments I want everyone to shine, in the bad moments I want everyone to keep calm,” Mourinho said.
“In the next match, we go to Bucharest (in the Champions League), we have to get the points to put us in the Champions League. We don’t want to play in the Europa League.”
Playing in the Europa League, the tournament that the West London club won last season, is exactly where Chelsea may find themselves if things don’t tighten up on both sides of the pitch. It’s on Mourinho to make that happen.
Defensively, Chelsea were punished for two schoolboy errors.
The first came when the left side of Chelsea’s midfield left Mohamed Salah, widely known as Basel’s most dangerous player, in acres of space to finish with ease.
The second goal came on an equally regrettable decision, failing to put men on the post during a late corner kick with the score knotted at one apiece. Factor in that Marco Strellar is a 6’4″ beast of a man known for doing damage with his head, and this is inexcusable.
Offensively, with the exception of Oscar, the Blues were anemic in front of goal.
Few will deny Oscar’s offensive quality. After beginning the match unhitched he quickly sorted himself out to become Chelsea’s most dangerous attacker.
His 45th minute goal was sensational. The lateral run across the top of the box split the Basel defense and his flash turn of the hip and a snap strike was pure class. In the second half it was more of the same when his pull back at the corner of box created the necessary space to launch a curling teaser that kissed the top of the bar.
But aside from the Brazilian playmaker, question marks surround the Chelsea attack, and as Mourinho admitted, he is responsible.
Eden Hazard had one of his worst displays ever in a Chelsea kit. If the rumors were true and the Belgian was carrying an achilles injury then he should have been rested. If he was healthy then it’s time Mourinho put the winger through some intense finishing work. With no goals in the first four Premier League matches and two golden opportunities sailed into the upper stand last night, Hazard’s finishing is becoming an issue.
Mourinho is also responsible for throwing Willian into the fire without blooding him first.
The Brazilian, who was an unused substitute against Everton, looked overwhelmed and was ineffective in his starting role against Basle. Same goes for Marco van Ginkle, who’s touch was poor throughout the match. Why Mourinho thought the two new boys hold would the midfield together better than the established likes of Juan Mata and Jon Obi Mikel is anyone’s guess.
Where Mourinho bears the most blame, however, is up top. Samuel Eto’o failed to register a single shot until injury time and looks a shadow of his former self. Perhaps that’s because at the age of 32, he is just that or, perhaps he too, needs more time to acclimate himself to a new squad.
Either way, having Eto’o lead the line after his numbing performance against Everton last weekend was a head scratcher – almost as much as the Portuguese manager’s decision to loan out Romelu Lukaku in favor of keeping Demba Ba and Fernando Torres.
But for now, in this “bad moment,” we’ll do as Mourinho suggests and stay calm.
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