Poor old Jose Mourinho, everything’s conspiring against him. Here he is, sixteen matches unbeaten (16!), but with only nine wins in that span including Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Watford. Too many draws, not enough goals, and while United briefly moved up to fifth, they were back down to their now customary sixth after Liverpool beat Spurs.
Manchester United’s second goal came from a nice counter-attack after forcing a turnover in midfield, and perhaps inspired by that, Jose Mourinho was back on the narrative warpath.
“Chelsea are very good defensive team. They defend very well and with lots of players and I think in this situation a very defensive team wins the title with counter-attack goals and set-pieces goals, so I don't think they will let it slip but football is football.”
-Jose Mourinho; source: FourFourTwo
Mourinho was once synonymous with the idea that winning is all that matters, but he’s changed (at least publicly) in Manchester and continues to ramble on about his team’s attacking football — “good football” he called it today — and how he’s not getting the rewards and public acclaim they deserve. Mourinho’s become the one thing he’s trained us to hate over the years.
The Mourinho narrative: he restores United's attacking traditions as a "defensive" Chelsea doggedly grind their way to the title. Hmmm.— Tom Williams (@tomwfootball) February 11, 2017
It’s a bit sad that The Special One continues to work so very hard to turn Chelsea fans against himself. He will no doubt tell you that his jabs are aimed at the team and not the fans, but that’s not a distinction that’s easy to make from our position. Recently, he also complained about how his great Chelsea teams never got the credit they deserved (they didn’t?), unlike Conte’s Chelsea. Mourinho vs. The World, as usual.
It would be a pity if Mourinho taints his own Chelsea legacy with self-serving snipes at Conte's achievements. Seems inevitable though #cfc— Liam Twomey (@liam_twomey) February 11, 2017
EDIT: Since my interpretation of Jose’s words has been called into question, I’ve added video of the post-match interview itself. It’s the last question asked, around the 4min mark. Keep in mind the context of everything that’s been said since the opening volley, via the pen of Duncan Castles.
Mind you, a “very defensive” Chelsea, have scored more goals than all but Arsenal and Liverpool (and 13 more than United), and our supposed reliance on set-piece goals has yielded a grand total of 9 goals (18% of the 51 total), which, according to WhoScored is only good for joint-sixth in the league. United have 6 set piece goals according to the same, which amounts to 19% of their goals total.
I don’t know how good WhoScored’s statistics are in this regard, but presumably any errors are consistent for all teams measured, so they should still give decent insight. I’m also not clear how they determine what’s a counter-attack goal and what isn’t, but they credit Chelsea with three, while they credit United with zero. Overall, those numbers seems very low for the whole league, though anecdotally, I’d agree that Chelsea are nowhere near as good on counters as we should be (we waste far too many of them). Of course, Mourinho was already blasting Conte’s Blues for beating him 4-0 on the counter back in the fall, which wasn’t exactly the case (the 4-0 was, but not the manner of victory).
In a way, none of this is surprising. We know Mourinho better than any other team in the world. Still it’s all a bit disappointing, as he continues to insist on being our enemy. We should ignore him, as you should all trolls, but he is pretty good at being unignorable.