With the league taking a weekend off for international play, it has given even more time to contemplate our most recent defeat at home, a 3-1 loss to Southampton. That’s too bad, because like many, I would rather forget our performance, particularly the second half.
However, there has been some good news recently, with the club offering an unprecedented show of support for manager Jose Mourinho. After years of revolving door changes at Stamford Bridge, it finally appears that the coaching carousel has stopped with the ‘Special One’ in a very welcome turn of events.
Typically, this sort of public showing of support, as Leafs fans have become all too aware of in recent years, is just an all too predictable step towards an inevitable firing. Especially with the Blues, who employed six different managers in the six years between Mourinho’s stints at the helm.
At times during that stretch, Chelsea appeared to be ruled by knee-jerk reactions, so this recent show of support is a great sign of growing maturity with the club. When he returned in 2013, Mourinho pledged a two-pronged approach that would see the club combine instant success (last season’s league championship and League Cup win) with the dedicated devloping and stockpiling of young talent.
Last season, Mourinho stated several times that he is interested in sticking with Chelsea for the long haul, and these recent events have gone a long way to prove that those comments were not just sound bites.
Stability is the new mantra at Chelsea, which is great news for the club, even with these early-season hiccups that began in the pre-season and have carried over into Premier and Champions League contests.
Three things stood out for me when my family made the trek to Charlotte to witness Chelsea take on PSG. First, the stadium was roughly 75 per cent for Chelsea, 15 per cent for Paris and 10 per cent just general soccer fans. Second was that it took a penalty goal from keeper Thibaut Courtois to secure the win. The third was unrelated to the game, but my wife Kate and I were beyond pleased that our daughter Abbileen was the most popular baby in all of North Carolina that day.
The offensive struggles that were evident on that muggy July afternoon have carried over into the first quarter of the Premier League season, but there is reason to hope that the defending champs can right the ship and contend for one of the top-four spots in the table when all’s said and done this campaign.
The other thing that stayed with me was the awesome support for Chelsea, with fans traveling from all over the United States, and us from Canada, which did seem to surprise a number of our fellow fans.
Mourinho may have his faults, you need only to hear my howls everytime I see Branislav Ivanovic still in the starting line-up to know that much. But, he is still the best man for the job. As he has said before, he’s the best manager that Chelsea has ever had, and it’s great to see that his bosses agree.