Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Chelsea Need to Wake Up after Jose's Tired Excuse

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Chelsea Need to Wake Up after Jose's Tired Excuse

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon Johnson Football Correspondent in Basle

BASLE 1 CHELSEA 0 AS A subdued Jose Mourinho boarded the team coach last night, the size of the task he has at turning Chelsea into a major force again appeared to be finally sinking in.

This was just the latest example of the players he inherited in his second spell at the club, barring a couple of his summer signings being named in the first XI, slipping from the sublime to the ridiculous.

From the highs of West Ham at the weekend and claims from midfielder John Obi Mikel that the "real Chelsea are back", came this second deserved defeat to a spirited Basle side in their Champions League group.

The Swiss club are not a heavyweight in Europe, indeed just seven months ago the Blues beat them home and away in the Europa League semi-final under interim manager Rafael Benitez.

Similarly, the teams that have got the better of them on the domestic front thus far, Everton and Newcastle, are not contenders for the Premier League title, even though they do possess undoubted strengths.

Chelsea had their setbacks during Mourinho's previous spell in charge between 2004-07, yet they seemed far more sporadic and unexpected. At present, like many of the other coaches who inherited the post after his departure six years ago, the 50-year-old can't be sure how the team will play from one game to the next.

Even a return to the 4-3-3 formation, which was the key to the Portuguese lifting five major trophies first time around and worked to such good effect at Upton Park last weekend, completely failed at St Jakob-Park last night.

There were some words of frustration uttered by Mourinho afterwards but the disgust and rage that was on full view after the Newcastle debacle earlier this month was replaced by a more resigned demeanour and a surprising statement that the players couldn't be blamed because they were "tired". …

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