I will take the role of devil’s advocate and you may play the part of bloodthirsty crusaders and tear this infidel limb from limb if you like. Having said that, I think there may be a worry in the back of a few of our minds about some of the most beautifully coiffured and loved players in blue. Put simply, Mourinho is risk averse in defence and requires ALL players to defend. Let’s face it, any manager who is determined enough to brute force Robben into tracking back REALLY believes in an 11 man defensive block without holes. With this in mind, let’s take a look at our wee Juan-gician. He can turn a game on its ear out of nothing, making and scoring the most delightful goals. But, when the ball is lost he tends to run toward the player as if to shut them down, then fall for whatever half hearted dummy or obvious pass they make, and then saunter around in midfield until Ramirez wins the ball back for us with his extending legs. It’s not just that he’s lightweight, it’s that he doesn’t seem to me to actually defend. Oscar is pretty lightweight too but every time he harries an attacker I think there’s a chance that we will turn over the ball. I can’t say the same for Mata.
And this is where problem A begins. Because I can see how Jose will appreciate hazards willingness to track back and work to improve him. How he will work with Oscars skill at closing players down and love the very ground Rami walks on. But will he be able to tolerate having 1 player for attack only and allow him to not defend, or will he try to force him to defend? Will we have a Damien Duff situation where a lethal attacker became a less lethal but more well rounded player? Do players like Mata thrive on offence because they can rest half the time thus saving the energy needed to be more attacking? These are questions not answers but at the moment they are keeping me awake at night.
But as vexing as this is, I do believe, on the balance of probability, that Mata will remain and be used in a greater or lesser capacity. Luiz is the more controversial question and the one that worries me the most. I love everything about our frizzy haired demi-god, and I agree that he has toned down his occasional slips under the tubby one. But, he still occasionally makes odd decisions and has the occasional lapse. This makes me love him no less but its Jose’s love we are discussing here not my secret adoration. Jose may love Luiz and work to improve him, or he may not. I just don’t know if Luiz’s forward flamboyance will mesh with Jose’s risk aversion in defence.
This alone is not enough to concern me. But recently we have been hearing stories about Roman wanting Luiz as his next captain and we know how much Jose loves being dictated to by the powers in charge. Also as witnessed in Madrid, Jose is not afraid to drop a player adored by the fans (Casillas).
And finally, the British tabloids are now saying that Jose doesn’t want Luiz. This is all probably me worrying about nothing but if I’m right then there’s a problem. Because I want to keep Luiz far more than I want Jose back and if its a choice between them, I’m with sideshow every time.