It's not the loss; it's how you respond

Shaun Botterill

Does that title even make sense?  Should it make sense?  Nothing today made sense anyway.  Or did it?  Perhaps everything made perfect sense.  Perhaps everything made perfect sense?  Perhaps sense make perfect everything?

Perhaps.

Here's what we know.  Manchester City crushed.  Manchester United dominated.  Arsenal impressed.  Spurs will surely pull out a result tomorrow.  Meanwhile, Chelsea are somehow still second.  That's second from the top, even though at times today it felt more like second from the bottom.  They will probably be third tomorrow, and that's still counting from the top.

Matchday 10 is when it all started going wrong last year.  Chelsea dropped from first with a 1-1 draw away to Swansea; then dropped from the Champions League with a 3-0 loss to Juventus; then dropped a managerial bombshell with He Who Shall Not Be Named.  Neither of those things will happen this year, but a loss to Schalke on Wednesday could be crisis-inducing.

When the lineups were announced, the general mood was ebullient.  Winners of six in a row and MaZaCar at the ready?  Yessir, gimme some of that! The trio may have hit their apex early on with Di Matteo, but the imprints of those free-wheeling days of footballing bonanza will live on as a shared memory for all Chelsea fans long after all three of them are retired.  And they were back together!  Thank you, based Mourinho!

There were slight concerns over the midfield, just as there have been concerns over the last two years, at least whenever Lampard started ... or Mikel started ... or Ramires started ... or Essien started ... or Meireles started ... or Romeu started ... or ... well, you get the point.  It's our greatest weakness.  Yet, the Lampard - Ramires duo had been winning and they even handled Manchester City well enough the previous weekend.  Surely, Newcastle wouldn't pose even a remotely similar challenge.  Cheick Tioté and Yaya Touré may both hail from Cote d'Ivoire, but that's just about where any significant similarities end.

Up front, Fernando Torres, HERO of Stamford Bridge six days ago, was lacing up his boots.  His scoring boots.  Goal.  Scoring.  Boots.  Boots that laugh in the face of massed defenses (based on no evidence at all).  Boots that induce panic in defenders.  Boots that root fullbacks' studs into the turf.  Boots that...

Alas.

I made 11 mistakes. I should pick the other 11 and not this one, and it's the feeling I have when my team plays so bad. Of course I'm exaggerating because I had some players in good form but the feeling is that I made 11 wrong choices.

-José Mourinho; source: chelseafc.com

If Mourinho commented on our game threads during the match, would we end up having to remove all his overreactions and exaggerations?  Oh no, is he going to sell our entire squad and buy a brand new one in January, too??

That being said, as a few (actual) WAGNH commenters have pointed out, this quote could very easily be interpreted as a warning shot to his starting 11, most of whom have been consistent starters in the Premier League as of late and may have let just a bit of complacency creep into their game.  Once Mourinho properly analyzes what exactly happened out there in that awful-looking late fall weekend midday end-of-days-like weather phenomenon, heads may roll.

It will all come down to the response.  Both from the players and from the fans.  And from the manager.  But mostly from the players.  There were always going to be blips during the season, and with winter coming, a "bad moment" is almost to be expected at this point.

After we lost to Basel, Chelsea won eight of the next nine.  Anything less than a similar response simply won't do.

"I don't know what reaction to expect. First of all I have to understand why we had this performance. The reaction is something that comes after this match."

"I am worried. I saw the previous years and the same thing happened. The team was successful in cup competitions and they were not successful in the Premier League. They finished 15 points, 20 points behind the league leaders."

-José Mourinho; source: chelseafc.com

Well, José, the key difference is now that this year you can actually do something about it.

You can make sure the "same thing" doesn't happen again.

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