Although the latest reports of a CRISIS at Chelsea have been largely exaggerated — as they usually are — there is no doubt that the team were under pressure to return winning ways following Premier League losses to Manchester City and Crystal Palace as well as the 3-3 draw to Roma.
And while Chelsea seemingly managed to snap out of the slump with the comeback win over Watford, it’s going to take more than just one game to turn the mood around, especially as any awkward moment immediately reminds of the ‘Mourinho Season’ from two years ago.
The players haven’t forgotten either, and according to Thibaut Courtois, are doing their utmost to avoid repeating it.
“I remember what happened two years ago under José Mourinho and things started to be said, there were stories about the dressing room without knowing what was happening."
“We are happy to show that we are ready to fight. We all know what would have happened [as in more debate over Conte’s future] if we had lost against Watford."
“There was a moment when we were 2-1 down, we were having difficulties and Watford could have made it 4-1. It was very important to come back to win."
“In 2015 [under Mourinho] we wanted to fight as well but the game didn’t turn out well for us, there was too much bad luck. Sometimes different things happened."
“But we are showing we want to fight again now, firstly as a group of players. We want to win games. We don’t want to lose and say we don’t care any more. We want to fight for ourselves, too. It is important for us."
“Some of us remember what happened two years ago and we don’t want the same thing to happen.”
-Thibaut Courtois; source: London Evening Standard
While there are certain parallels between the predicaments faced by Mourinho and Conte, the one key difference so far is the players’ apparent undying commitment to the cause. As long as that remains intact, we can remain hopeful of managing to avoid a repeat of 2015-16.