There's been a great deal of chattering around the Chelsea Internet regarding Jose Mourinho's post-match comments today. After the match -- a narrow, nervous 2-1 win -- the boss took a swipe at the atmosphere around Stamford Bridge, which was admittedly not the most imposing of places today, despite it being a London derby.
At first, I thought the uproar was over this quip:
Which, to be honest, I thought was fairly amusing. It's a light-hearted joke and the fans could in turn make the same comments about his side.
But that talkSPORT is reporting -- and they're not going off the public press conference, apparently -- paints a very different picture:
Everyone knows how much I feel connected to this club and the fans. At this moment it’s difficult for us to play at home though, because playing here is like playing in an empty stadium.
The team then starts playing like it’s a quiet, soft game at home. It’s difficult to get that strong start where the players, team and fans at Stamford Bridge [are all together]. I was today looking around and it was empty, but not in terms of people because it was obviously full. That’s what frustrating.
Which makes the collective upset more understandable. It's not a request to do better so much as a direct criticism of the fans who spend a lot of money to go to matches, and I can certainly see why they wouldn't like Mourinho using that sort of phrasing, even if most would agree that he has a point.
Whether he's out of order or not is really in the eye of the beholder*, but rather than berating the manager for having the temerity for going after the fans we'd probably be better off asking what can be done to improve the atmosphere. That's not just down to the supporters, either -- the club seems to sometimes take a perverse joy in suppressing any fun-having at the Bridge, and Mourinho's far better positioned to effect a change there than the fans are.
*As a long-distance fan, I'm by no means qualified to have an opinion here.
Ultimately, this is an issue that needed discussing, and now it's being discussed. Perhaps it was brought up in a heavy-handed fashion, but I'd hope that something good can come out of this now it's all out in the open