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A crisis of confidence at Chelsea

Nothing is working; everything's the worst; everybody needs to improve; we have to believe

Stu Forster/Getty Images

If there is a crisis at Chelsea, — and 4 points from the first 15, our worst start since 1988 probably does qualify as a crisis — apparently it's one of confidence.  The quality is there from the players.  At least we have to believe that it's there, unless all 20-plus members of the first-team squad have suddenly become atrocious footballers.  They probably haven't, though they are certainly doing their best to play like it.

Mourinho refused to apportion blame after the match.  Doing so would've been unlikely to accomplish anything good anyway.  It's a team game, no player is acting in a vacuum.  Not even Ivanovic, or Fabregas, or Hazard, or Terry.  This is the squad we have to deal with until at least January.  Perhaps they do need a public rollicking to shock the system.  Or perhaps they need some positive words.  All that's for the manager to figure out, collectively and individually.  What they do need, for sure, according to the manager, is for something to go right on the pitch.  Something.  Anything.

"Confidence is low, we're a team with some doubts, about some lucky and unlucky incidents in each game, but I felt the players deserved a better result than we got."

"The biggest concern is that everything goes against us. We know we are making mistakes but with every mistake we are punished immediately. We lose a player for the first time, goal. One shot from outside the box, goal. After that it was a fantastic reaction. Eden Hazard had two fantastic chances with two shots, the ball hit the defender twice and when it looks like the ball was going in it goes for a corner."

"In the second half we had control, we changed and took risks. They defended and the first time they crossed the midfield line they scored another goal. Everything is going against us. The players feel that way. It's the old story of the striker who, when things are going well, there is a cross and he scores with his elbow or knee. When things go wrong he hits a fantastic shot, the ball hits the bar and post and comes out. Everything is more difficult."

-Jose Mourinho; source: Chelsea FC

We might say this is Mourinho's delusion, if we want to be harsh — the whole world is running a campaign against us! — but he's just as likely to be reflecting the player's true moods.  Just when something does go right, everything goes wrong again.  And that sort of rut, that sort of negative thinking is even harder to snap out of without veteran leadership in the dressing room, an exodus of which we suffered this summer.  So it's up to Mourinho to keep the belief and restore confidence.

"We need to win a couple of consecutive matches, we need the players to smile again, we need the strikers to score goals, we need the defenders to not make mistakes and be punished, we need confidence. Confidence is fundamental and at the moment everything is going against us. The players fight, play, try, like they did, but the reality is that at the moment it's difficult for them. It's not easy to play football with the confidence level low."

-Jose Mourinho; source: Chelsea FC

It's like a Torresian nightmare, amplified, multiplied.  Back at it on Wednesday in the Champions League, then Saturday against Arsenal, then away to Walsall in the League Cup.  Needless to say, three wins are needed.

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