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The 'Mickey Mouse' gibe that began Chelsea's 'dressing-room discontent' — report

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Imagine for a minute that you're football manager.  This shouldn't be too hard, most of us do it several times a day.  And imagine you're not just any football manager; you're the manager of one of the biggest clubs in the world, the current defending Champions of England, even.  This is your moment!

Now imagine you've reconvened for the new season after an extended summer break and you see some of your players have returned surprisingly out of shape, many even lacking a bit of motivation, thinking that they can rest on their laurels from last season.  And so you jet off to America for an intense training camp and in the very first friendly, you lose to the B (or was it C?)-team of the New York Red Bulls by conceding four goals in the second half.  Like most fans, perhaps you think this is not a huge deal.  For most of those kids, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity.  For most of your kids, this was just something mundane to get done and move on to the next one.  No big deal.

But then things don't really improve.  And at some indeterminate point in the near future, you happen to lose your cool with your collection of so-called champions and, amongst other things I'm sure, you call them out on not even being able to beat a "Mickey Mouse team" like the reserves/youth of some MLS side.

Now imagine if some in your squad react to this negatively, as if you've done them some grave injustice.  Imagine, players to whom later you would refer to as "no primadonnas", players who call themselves Champions of England getting offended that their title-winning manager calls them out for playing so badly that they couldn't even beat a bunch of kids still going through puberty.  Imagine that this suddenly sours the relationship so badly between some players and the manager, that it sets the team up for failure from day 1.

Now, if you can imagine all that as a realistic scenario, even though it basically flies straight in the face of everything Mourinho and the players have been saying publicly, then you might enjoy Matt Hughes' latest effort in The Times.  He peddles this exact story therein, apparently with the utmost seriousness, as the cause of all that's gone wrong at Chelsea.

The Times has been told that his relationship with some of his squad has been strained since pre-season [...] a resentment that has its roots in the manager's reaction to his side's first pre-season friendly of last summer, a surprise 4-2 defeat by the New York Red Bulls.

In the immediate aftermath of that match in New Jersey, in July, Mourinho initially ignored his team after watching them concede four second-half goals to a side comprised largely of Red Bulls Academy youngsters, but brought the game up during a team talk several weeks later, in which he turned on his players and accused them of losing to a "Mickey Mouse team". This outburst infuriated several players, as they had moved on from that defeat and did not appreciate being castigated for it long after the event.

-source: The Times

Oh, the poor babies just didn't appreciate it.  The poor, poor babies.  Here's a lollipop to make it all better.  Don't worry, daddy still loves ya.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.  You can read the rest here.  Don't say I didn't warn you.  I realize these sorts of CRISIS stories are a dime a dozen and have been regular think-pieces in the media for some time now.  But at least Neil Ashton tends to add some daytime soap opera drama to his.  This one's just hilariously serious — it even goes on to say that the recent positive words are nothing but "damning with faint praise" — for something so inconceivably minor and, really, commonplace.

I mean, in my day, we just called this coaching and being a manager, no?