in

Why Mourinho might be better manager for Chelsea than Pochettino and which stars could miss out if Special One returns

IT IS rare for managers to return for a third spell in the Premier League – but Jose Mourinho is no ordinary boss.

The Special One won three Prem titles across his two Stamford Bridge spells, and now some are tipping Mourinho to return to his old stomping ground.

Jose Mourinho was sacked by Roma in January and could replace Mauricio Pochettino at Chelsea

14

Jose Mourinho was sacked by Roma in January and could replace Mauricio Pochettino at Chelsea

Pochettino, 51, arrived with big expectations as many expected him to improve performances from last season, when Chelsea struggled under Graham Potter and Frank Lampard.

But Poch has proved to be one of Chelsea’s worst Premier League managers – his points per game barely eclipses Potter’s record.

Potter’s calm management style failed to register with an expensively assembled squad and now there are reports that players are unhappy with training under Pochettino.

However, he continues to work his magic outside the Prem, with the Blues through to the Carabao Cup final and they just put in their best performance of the season in the 3-1 win over Aston Villa in the FA Cup.

They backed that up with a 3-1 win at Crystal Palace but the big problem during Pochettino’s reign has been consistency, with big wins often followed up by demoralising losses.

Look no further than beating Tottenham and drawing to City – to then get hammered 4-1 by Newcastle.

And beating Brighton in a 3-2 thriller led to them slumping to defeat against Manchester United and Everton in the subsequent two.

Pochettino will be hoping the Villa win proves to be a turning point, but if not, Jose is waiting in the wings, as former technical advisor Petr Cech said ‘you never know’ when asked about his potential return.

FREE BETS – BEST BETTING OFFERS & NEW CUSTOMER BONUSES

How Chelsea could line up in a 3-5-2 under Jose Mourinho

14

How Chelsea could line up in a 3-5-2 under Jose Mourinho

Mourinho, 61, boasts one of the biggest personalities in football and if he does return to West London we can expect fireworks.

SunSport takes a look at the changes the tactical tweaks Mourinho would likely make to transform the team’s struggling form.

Three at the back?

During his spell at Roma Mourinho chose to play almost exclusively with a back three system as he has favoured a 3-5-2 shape – a system he would likely replicate at Chelsea.

Given the way that Chelsea have spent in recent seasons and the way that they have built their squad, they would have the players to play with three central defenders.

Chelsea have spent heavily on defenders in recent windows, bringing in the likes of Wesley Fofana, Benoit Badiashile and Axel Disasi, so have the personnel to play three at the back, with Levi Colwill and Thiago Silva other options.

Mourinho favoured three central defenders and a double pivot in midfield at Roma

14

Mourinho favoured three central defenders and a double pivot in midfield at Roma
Caicedo played all across the midfield in the 3-1 win at Palace

14

Caicedo played all across the midfield in the 3-1 win at Palace

The midfield would be interesting at Chelsea if Mourinho did remain true to form in terms of playing a 3-5-2 system.

He typically looked to keep two midfielders in deeper positions as a double pivot to control the centre of the pitch.

While there is a real argument that Enzo Fernandez would be better served as a more advanced midfielder there is no doubt he has the tools required to play deeper as part of two deep midfielders.

The second deep midfielder would then be Moises Caiceido and the former Brighton man thrived in a similar set–up at times under Potter while the two were still at Brighton.

The real question would then surround the more advanced or free midfielder.

Would Mourinho look to use Conor Gallagher in this role or would he look for the more attacking option and give Cole Palmer a slightly deeper role than he has been used in?

Both are capable of playing this role but they offer slightly different profiles.

Gallagher is better against the ball and his intensity with and without the ball is very good but in the attacking phase of the game, there is no doubt that Palmer would have the edge.

Raheem Sterling is another option in attack

14

Raheem Sterling is another option in attack
Roma played with advanced full-backs and their attacking midfielder was given a free role

14

Roma played with advanced full-backs and their attacking midfielder was given a free role

Another contention is which players make up the attacking positions in a potential 3-5-2 system.

First of all, there is no space in this system of play for an out-and-out winger so the likes of Noni Madueke and Mykhalyko Mudryk would find their roles marginalised.

For the two strikers, however, Mourinho prefers one to be a more powerful type and one to be mobile.

This would suggest that Nicholas Jackson and one of Christopher Nkunku or Raheem Sterling would likely be in favour.

Cole Palmer and Conor Gallagher have been pivotal this season

14

Cole Palmer and Conor Gallagher have been pivotal this season

Attacking roles

Under Mourinho, we saw Roma use a very specific set of roles for their attacking players and he could do similar at Blues.

The two strikers tend to have different profiles with one being a more physical type who will play furthest forward to give his team a platform to play from – this role was fulfilled by Romelu Lukaku at Roma.

The second striker is a more mobile and creative type who will drop off the front line and link with the midfield, Roma used Paulo Dybala.

Once again Chelsea do, almost, have the players to fit this set of profiles although the jury is still very much out on Jackson as he has yet to fully convince in the Premier League.

The second striker role is well covered though as Nkunku, Sterling or even Palmer would be comfortable playing in this position in the 3-5-2.

Enzo Fernandez plays the ball sideways most of the time

14

Enzo Fernandez plays the ball sideways most of the time
How Chelsea could advance possession under Mourinho

14

How Chelsea could advance possession under Mourinho

Here, we see the kind of movements we can expect from the forwards at Chelsea in Mourinho’s 3-5-2.

As the ball is played forward the main striker goes up the pitch to give a forward option while the second striker drops back to receive in space between the defence and the midfield. In these situations, the more attacking central midfielder will also move forward to support.

The lack of wingers means that when Roma, under Mourinho, attacked in a more direct manner the main focus of their attack tended to be central.

The two wing-backs would hold the wide positions and stay wide and when Roma were in a more controlled build-up they would move higher to give an option for the ball to go wide.

For the most part, however, the first pass from Roma would be central.

This is where they need their strikers to be comfortable either dropping into space to receive the ball playing with their back to goal and taking possession when under direct pressure from the opposition defenders.

While the second striker position at Chelsea looks to be well accounted for there is some doubt that Jackson has the profile to really receive effectively when under pressure with his back to goal.

Chelsea's wing-backs could be key to Mourinho's system

14

Chelsea’s wing-backs could be key to Mourinho’s system

Again, we see here that Roma go long from the back line with the ball played into the second striker, who moves back to receive in space.

As this pass is played the two wing-backs, both of whom stay wide, will move up to provide support.

There may be some argument that Nkunku would be capable of playing as the more advanced of the two strikers but the French international is at his best when given a more free role as opposed to when he is expected to provide the focal point of the attack.

That means Chelsea could focus their summer transfer activity on signing a striker to lead the line.

Palmer has been Chelsea's biggest threat this season

14

Palmer has been Chelsea’s biggest threat this season

Wingbacks and not wingers

As we have already mentioned above the lack of wingers in the 3-5-2 system will be a concern for some of the wide men that Chelsea have signed over the last year or two.

While some who have played in the wide positions such as Nkunku, Palmer or Sterling will be able to fill a role elsewhere in the system the true wingers like Madueke and Mudryk will struggle for game time.

The 3-5-2 will also, however, mean the wing-backs, or full-backs that can play that role will have an important role to play.

The injury to the England star Reece James, who is thought to be out until at least the end of March, is a real blow as when fit the right-back has been consistently one of Chelsea’s top players.

Malo Gusto has deputised in his absence but the Frenchman has struggled at points to impose himself on the English game.

On the left flank the return to a wing-back-based system may see Ben Chilwell come back into the picture as an alternative to Marc Cucurella.

Colwill has been used as a left-back under Pochettino but he is not suited to the wing-back role.

Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo could be responsible for dictating play

14

Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo could be responsible for dictating play

Of the options that are currently in the Chelsea side, there is no doubt James and Chilwell would be capable of effectively playing as the wing-backs in the system that Mourinho used in Rome.

They both have the athletic capacity to get up and down the wing consistently and they are both strong in terms of their use of the ball when they get into the final third.

The issue will come for Chelsea, however, when these players are not available as the likes of Gusto and Cucurella simply have not convinced in these positions or roles.

With the transfer window closed until the end of the season Mourinho would need to work with the players currently in the squad was he to come in to take the Chelsea job.

Chilwell and James could be given the attacking freedom they experienced under Thomas Tuchel

14

Chilwell and James could be given the attacking freedom they experienced under Thomas Tuchel

There is a possibility Mourinho would look to adapt Madueke to play as a right-sided wing-back as his physical profile would likely be effective in that role. This would at least offer a short-term solution for the position in the absence of James.

Conclusion

The prospect of Mourinho returning to Chelsea is already generating speculation and buzz throughout Premier League fanbases.

If the Portuguese manager does return to Chelsea for a third term then we can expect fireworks in terms of his dealings with the media.

What we can also expect, however, is a well-thought-out and balanced tactical approach that just might get the most out of this expensive Chelsea squad.

Fernandez would be expected to cover a lot of ground under Mourinho

14

Fernandez would be expected to cover a lot of ground under Mourinho

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Man Utd transfer news: low-ball offer snubbed January move

Sven-Goran Eriksson set to manage Liverpool as dying wish comes true