He is still the best manager in world football, but it has to be a little worrying to Chelsea fans that Jose Mourinho appears to be coming apart at the edges these days.
Reports from As the Chelsea training ground suggest that Blues employees dive into side rooms or peek around corners to avoid the wrath of the under-fire manager. The mood inside the dressing room is said to be black and the atmosphere oppressive.
Chelsea’s problems can be traced back to the opening game of the season when Mourinho shouted ‘filha da puta’ at the club’s popular doctor Eva Carneiro during the 2-2 draw with Swansea City.
Carneiro has not been to work for the past 36 days, and with Mourinho refusing to apologise, Chelsea are preparing for a potential civil action that could cost them hundreds of thousands of pounds in damages and untold damage to the club’s reputation.
Carneiro is not the onlu one that Mourinho is feuding with. There are reports that he and Diego Coasta are not getting along, something that dates back to last season when Mourinho rewarded his players with four days off to give them time to celebrate winning the title.
Costa, who flew to Madrid to party, indulged a little bit too much and took an extra day. Mourinho responded by axing him from the team that drew 1-1 at Anfield on May 10, but by then the problems were beginning to pile up for Costa.
Over a three-week period in the build up to the title triumph there had been numerous complaints about loud noise and parties at chez Costa. By then, the goals had pretty much dried up.
Physically the Brazilian is back in good shape this season, with Chelsea players noting that he has returned to peak condition following the summer’s excesses. Despite that, he has scored just once.
Radamel Falcao, the back-up striker who shares the same agent, Jorge Mendes, as Mourinho, is paid £150,000 per week by Chelsea as part of the arrangement with his parent club Monaco. He has made little impact.
There is also resistance among the players to Mourinho’s system as the likes of Oscar, Willian and Eden Hazard would prefer to play with more flair.
The last time Chelsea played Arsene Wenger’s team was in the Community Shield clash at Wembley last month, and Mourinho lost to the Frenchman for the first time in his managerial career.
If he is beaten again, the pressure on Mourinho will be huge.