Apparently, the Internet still has not killed off the old warhorse, the book, as it seems like everyone's coming out with one these days. If you're 24, you write an autobiography, if you're Steve Gerrard you reveal your passive aggressive nature, if you're Sir Alex Ferguson, you just reprint what you've sold many times already and if you're Mourinho, you just slap a bunch of pictures together and call it good. The Special One don't play by no rules!
If you're Didier Drogba, you dish the dirt. Well, sort of. Here's what The Big Man has to say about Andre Villas-Boas, without whom we probably never win the Champions League. Certainly not that season, with one of the worst Chelsea squads in modern times.
That's his right [to get rid of the "Old Guard"], because the club needed to keep moving forwards, but he shouldn't have kept those players at the club while he was trying to make his revolution. Although we weren't going around complaining, it had an impact on the rest of the squad if we weren't happy."
Sorry, AVB. Player power. Eventually, the "communication between the players and manager" reached a breaking point.
"Andre's mistake was to think that it was going to be easy — that we just had to do things his way and we would win. You have to be able to listen [to experienced individuals] and communicate with them. Otherwise, if you manage a team like Chelsea, you're heading for a fall."
Sounds like a rather unhealthy combination of naïveté and mismanagement. Doomed to fail; set up perfectly for Di Matteo. All's well that ends well.
The last two times Chelsea fired a coach mid-season was due precisely to this loosely defined concept of "losing the dressing room." It happened to Scolari, it happened to Villas-Boas ... so far, it hasn't happened to Jose Mourinho, Mk.II. But Didier does hint that there may actually be something to this narrative of the mysterious "third-season syndrome" for The Special One, though more in terms of the manager's message not getting through as effectively as before rather than exact timing.
"Things often come in three-year cycles - we'd arrived at the end of such a cycle [in 2007]. By the start of the fourth season that Jose had been in charge, I think we had started to reach a point where it was harder for his message to get through."
"We wanted to hear it, we tried but somehow we had lost a little bit of what made us special."
It's not hard to imagine something like this happening right now in the Chelsea dressing room as well. Without any significant fresh blood, without anything to truly shake up the status quo, methods that have served Mourinho so well over the years may be falling on deaf, overly familiar ears.
Drogba's book is entitled 'Commitment'. A fitting choice for him and something that's definitely needed at Chelsea right now. Commitment to each other, commitment to the cause, commitment to winning. (Though we should remind ourselves that Mourinho already denied any potential return on loan for Didier.)