Jose Right to Play Mind Games

With a squad as deep and talented as Chelsea’s, it should come as no surprise that Jose Mourinho’s men are challenging on all fronts. Despite registering a convincing 3-1 win over Championship high flyers Derby in the League Cup on Tuesday night, topping the Premier League and strolling into the knockout stages of the Champions League, the Portuguese manager is right not to let talk of an unprecedented ‘quadruple’ creep in to Stamford Bridge.

Taking The League Cup Seriously
In the past, it may have been the case that top clubs prioritised Premier League and European commitments over the League Cup and that they were less than devastated when they were knocked out of the midweek competition. But where Chelsea are concerned it serves two purposes.

Firstly, playing in the League Cup allows the Blues to continue their momentum and keep in the rhythm of playing two games per week. This enables Mourinho to either build on an impressive Premier League performance or to make amends if the Blues have disappointed.

Secondly, the League Cup enables Mourinho to use his whole squad, ensuring that the likes of Andre Schurrle and Filipe Luis – both of whom scored against Derby – are kept happy, fresh and ready to perform in the Premier League if required.

Mourinho Mind Games the Difference
Up until two weeks ago, fans, experts and pundits, like those at bluesq, excitedly spoke of Chelsea becoming the new ‘Invincibles’ this season but defeat at Newcastle United put paid to that. Mourinho knows that media talk can lead to complacency amongst players, as well as motivating opposing teams to raise their game, and he is right to dampen expectations.

Chelsea are clearly taking the League Cup seriously this season and, with their main title rivals having already been eliminated – such as Manchester City going out to Newcastle – they are deserved favourites. But talk of them winning the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup (in which they haven’t even made it through the third round yet) is premature.

Chelsea are a special team and they will enjoy success this season. The amount of success that they enjoy, however, might just come down to Mourinho’s mind games and whether or not his players start to believe their own hype.