LONDON: Chelsea’s Premier League clash with Manchester United on Sunday will see the return of Jose Mourinho to Stamford Bridge for the first time since he was sacked as manager by the London club in December.
David Chidgey — Chelsea FanCast podcast
“What we’re most pleased about is the quiet and measured way (new manager) Antonio Conte has gone about things.
“He has changed the formation, he has introduced players we didn’t expect to see playing regularly, look at (defender) Marcos Alonso and (winger) Victor Moses and how integral they’ve been to this new way of playing.
“Plus JT (captain John Terry) didn’t come back in automatically (after injury against Leicester City) on Saturday. Conte has done it all without any drama, any nonsense or any fuss. He’s done it in a very thoughtful and measured way.
“That’s a real breath of fresh air. Jose Mourinho would be very dogmatic in the way he did things.
“The reports from last weekend suggest (striker) Diego Costa was having a go at Conte, saying he wanted to come off and Conte was ignoring him, saying it’s him who makes the decision.
“The bottom line is it’s the manager who makes the decision and I don’t care who you are as a player, you don’t ask to come off, you just don’t.
“If the manager or the medical staff think you’re injured you come off or if the manager wants to make the change, you come off. You don’t dictate to the manager what happens at all.
“I don’t agree with him doing that if that’s what was happening. It’s perhaps not as clear-cut as it’s been made out.
“That said, Costa gets treated very differently from a lot of other players who similarly play very close to the edge. He has been set up as a pantomime villain and I do think it is very unfair.”
Paul Ansorge — Rant Cast By United Rant
“I don’t think Jose Mourinho was happy with taking just a point at Liverpool (on Monday) until the 70th minute when (striker Marcus) Rashford started getting cramp and he subsequently decided to take him off and bring Wayne Rooney on.
“There’s a sort of ironic humour to the whole situation when it comes to the style of play. A lot of fans said Mourinho would change if he came to United and what happened at Anfield shows pretty substantial evidence that he’s not really interested in changing.
“In a way this is a good thing because if you’re going to have Mourinho in charge then you don’t want to compromise him, you want him doing the things he’s done for years to win trophies.
“When we’re away from home he will play a back six and Rashford at right back, which was happening a lot on Monday evening. It is a little bit hard to take.
“I’m very concerned about the toxic situation Mourinho created at Chelsea eventually repeating itself at Old Trafford. He did it at (Real) Madrid too. It’s got to be considered as a possibility.
“The Mourinho appointment was always a case of this is a risk worth taking or this is an unhappy ending worth living through because of what will come before that unhappy ending. There will be trophies and then there will be some sort of implosion, that’s the Mourinho way.
“I think more than anything else Mourinho operates on trust. If he feels trusted and feels like he can trust people, it’s that you’re in the boat or out of the boat idea. If he thinks people are in the boat with him then he’s not going to take them on.
“But I wouldn’t be surprised if Mourinho falls out with somebody along the way, it seems kind of inevitable. I don’t think it will be (striker Zlatan) Ibrahimovic though because I don’t think it’s necessarily the big characters that will be his problem.”