One point gained? Two points dropped? Either way, the football on display from Chelsea at St James' Park on Saturday, especially in the first half, was some of the worst we've witnessed in some time. And that's saying something, since it's not like we've been going like gangbusters here in the early season or, for that matter, in the second half of last season.
Jose says he has mixed feelings today. He says the first-half performance was one of the worst he has overseen. #CFC— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) September 26, 2015
Two years ago, when Chelsea lost 2-0 to Newcastle, Mourinho said he made eleven mistakes with his starting lineup. Today, he rated the situation just a tiny bit better. He only wanted to make six subs at half-time. Progress! Alas, he couldn't. Something about FA rules or some such limiting him to just three. Campaign, campaign everywhere, I tells ya.
Mourinho "I am not a magician. I tried my best for the team. At HT I said I was sorry I only had three subs as I wanted to change six" #CFC— Ben Dinnery (@BenDinnery) September 26, 2015
Obviously, Jose chooses the lineup. That responsibility rests on him, as does the responsibility to stop picking players who aren't performing. Or does he keep faith with the likes of Matić, for example? We know he's capable and he's got the required quality. It's not an easy decision.
"The second half was a positive but I have to think a lot about the negative first half. I am both relieved and disappointed. I have extreme feelings of the negative and the positive. It depends on the opposition team and the objective but normally I am not happy with a point."
"I put the first half down to awful individual performances and when you have so many, it is impossible for a team to be a team. The reason why we had so many individual bad performances is difficult to answer but it is the reason why the team was not there in the first half."
-Jose Mourinho; source: Chelsea FC
Changes arrived in the 60th and 70th minutes. Often over the last couple seasons, Mourinho would go all-out in a rather haphazard manner when chasing a match, throwing on strikers for defenders, going with three at the back, and entirely discombobulating the team. This time, it was the midfield that got sacrificed — though we could easily argue that the midfield was non-existent anyway — and the changes worked a treat. Ramires, Willian, and even Falcao created urgency and bit of much-needed dynamism. Perhaps we were even a bit unlucky not to find a winner at the end.
"In the first half, from zero to 10 I give it minus one. In the second half we played very well. Ramires and Willian moved the game and arrived in dangerous positions. They gave us an intensity Newcastle couldn't cope with. The second half was really good."
"The players tried and I'm very happy with the second half. I have to try to understand why one team can play so bad in one half and so well in another. The first half was so bad. In every aspect of the game we were bad. Too many poor individual performances and as consequence it's impossible for the team to be a good competitive team."
-Jose Mourinho; source Sky via Get West London
As it stands, we'll have to be satisfied with the two-goal comeback to rescue a point. Better than a loss.