Jose Mourinho slams West Ham’s “football from another century” as Hammers frustrate Chelsea

14 Comments

Following Chelsea’s 0-0 stalemate with West Ham United on Wednesday, eccentric manager Jose Mourinho has had plenty to say about the Hammers negative tactics.

First, the facts.

Chelsea out-shot West Ham 39-1. They had 72 percent of the possession. The final score… 0-0.

Despite a barrage of pressure, countless shots and the lion’s share of possession, Chelsea just couldn’t break down a stubborn West Ham defense that barely left their own half of the field during the entire 90 minutes. An inspired performance from Hammers ‘keeper Adrian kept out John Terry, Frank Lampard and Samuel Eto’o in the second half, as Chelsea head into their next game against Manchester City knowing a defeat will leave them six points off the Citizens and top spot in the PL.

Sam Allardyce’s side parked the bus, Mourinho style, at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday as anti-football won against Chelsea’s attacking endeavors. In fact the Blues’ tally of 39 shots in a game without scoring is the most by any Premier League team since the 2003-04 season.

(MORE: Chelsea 0-0 West Ham United – Blues slip up in the title race)

But Mourinho, sporting a face like thunder throughout, complained massively about West Ham’s tactics… even though he himself is the master of grinding out 0-0 wins away from home.

What’s that saying again? Something about the ‘pot calling the kettle black…’

“I was frustrated since the first minute. I wanted to discuss decisions during the game [with the fourth official] ,” Mourinho said. “West Ham were trying to win time with everything. With their substitutions they were taking a long time. It was football from another century. The result is not a good result. They defended with their hearts – I respect that and praise that. I don’t think with matches like this we can sell Premier League across the world. My team did everything possible.”

source: AP
Eto’o was just one of Chelsea’s players thwarted by a stubborn West Ham defense.

So, here we have it. The ‘King of anti-football’ is criticizing Allardyce’s West Ham side for doing just that.

Surely Mourinho isn’t being serious?

Already this season he’s set his sides up to frustrate Arsenal and Manchester United away from home and both times his team have gained the 0-0 draw they were looking for. I’ve watched both live, trust me, those games were boring as hell to watch but Chelsea got the point they wanted.

So Mourinho, of all people, should not be lambasting West Ham for employing the very tactics that have helped to make him so successful and widely regarded as the most tactically astute manager in the global game. He loves to attack too, at times, but his ultra-defensive approach and ability to frustrate the opposition, when he wants to, has almost become his trademark over the years.

Look, we all get annoyed and say things we don’t mean.

Mourinho spent two hours of his life watching his expensively assembled, and extremely talented side, hit their heads against a solid brick wall made out of Claret and Blue. West Ham defended as if their lives depended on, throwing their bodies on the line time and time again. Add to that, it was in the pouring rain in West London and in front of his own fans. One more factor probably got right up the nose of the Portuguese boss: West Ham’s manager Allardyce stood in the technical with a grin like a Cheshire cat on his face throughout it all.

Speaking after, Allardyce was delighted to beat Mourinho at his own game.

“Good old Jose, moaning again,” Allardyce laughed. “He can’t take it can he. He can’t take it because we’ve out-tacticed him, out-witted him. He just can’t cope. It’s brilliant when you get a result against him! I love Chelsea moaning.”

We haven’t heard the last of this feud, as Mourinho has been ‘out-Mourinhoed’ by Mr. Allardyce and his Happy Hammers.

Jose will not be smiling.

But can he really moan about negative tactics after his side couldn’t quell them? Give me a break.

VIDEO: Schweinsteiger asked if Chicago Fire can win World Cup

chicagofire.com
Leave a comment

Big press conferences bring unusual media members out of the woodwork, and this can be pretty embarrassing when it comes to sports.

I remember a few years ago in Buffalo, when the NHL’s Sabres had not resigned Chris Drury and Daniel Briere. A TV newsman, not known for his sports coverage, asked the general manager what they would say to fans who bought Drury and Briere jerseys.

The awkward reply: “Sorry?”

[ MORE: Lamela out for rest of season ]

There was no exception when the Chicago Fire unveiled Bastian Schweinsteiger on Wednesday. The World Cup winning midfielder faced the press and was asked if his arrival would help Chicago win the World Cup.

You read that right. Here’s the video, even as the communications man jumped in to try and save the reporter by suggesting he meant the FIFA Club World Cup.

Woof. The media overseas are having a field day with this one, but it doesn’t have anything to do with American soccer fans, perhaps even sports media. I’d be stunned if the reporter spent a ton of time around the game.

But man, oh man.

Celtic’s dominance under Rodgers reaching new levels

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
Leave a comment

They’re unbeaten in 29 games, winning 27 of them. They hold a 25-point lead. They’re about to clinch a sixth straight league title this weekend and it’s still not even April.

Celtic’s players have taken their supremacy of Scottish soccer to a new level this season, putting the storied club from Glasgow in the conversation when discussing the most dominant sides in Europe’s domestic leagues in the 21st century.

Celtic will be the Scottish champion again as early as Friday if its closest rival, Aberdeen, loses to Dundee. If Aberdeen wins, Celtic will take an unassailable lead in the Scottish Premiership by beating Hearts on Sunday.

[ MORE: Lamela out for rest of season ]

There’s been a sense of inevitability about the whole thing since the turn of the year, by which time Celtic had jumped into a 19-point lead. It’s long stopped being called a “title race” in Scotland, more a procession.

Meanwhile, the team coached by former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers won the Scottish League Cup in late November and is also through to the semifinals of the Scottish Cup.

With Celtic’s unbeaten run across three domestic competitions currently at 36 games, this might be the most dominant season by any club in the history of Scotland’s top flight.

A glance around Europe shows a few other examples of title monopolies.

Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) and BATE Borisov (Belarus) are currently on a streak of 11 domestic leagues titles in a row since 2006. Olympiakos is on course for a seventh straight Greek league title, which would be its 12th in the last 13 years, and Sheriff Tiraspol has won the Moldovan league every year except one since 2000. Basel leads the Swiss league by 17 points and is about to seal a ninth title in 10 years.

[ MORE: Zlatan to stay at United?

In these lesser-profile leagues, teams can dominate because of the cash they receive from participating in UEFA competitions, which often allow them to outspend their domestic rivals.

Last week, UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin, attending a conference in Lisbon, spoke of the threats to European soccer in the coming years, including the “decrease in competitive balance within European club competitions and secondary effects affecting domestic competitions.”

There are examples of lopsided championships in Europe’s big leagues, too: Juventus is closing on an unprecedented sixth straight Serie A title in Italy and on course for a third straight Serie A-Coppa Italia double; Bayern Munich is on course for a fifth straight Bundesliga title in Germany, which included winning one championship after 27 matches of a 34-round league; Lyon won the French league title seven times in succession from 2002; and Ajax won four straight titles in the Netherlands from 2011-14.

Scotland is widely regarded as a backwater in European soccer these days, mainly because of the uncompetitive nature of its league and an increasing lack of exposure and coverage outside Britain.

What didn’t help was Rangers – Celtic’s fierce crosstown rival and winner of a record 54 league titles – getting demoted to the fourth tier of the Scottish game in 2012 because of financial irregularities.

This is Rangers’ first season back in the Premiership, but it hasn’t been able to challenge Celtic and currently sits 33 points behind in third place. There used to be constant talk of the two “Old Firm” clubs crossing the border to join the English league but that has cooled.

“I want to win (the league) by 50 points,” Rodgers, who is in his first season at Celtic, said last month.

[ MORE: RSL hires Petke ]

In any other league, that would be a preposterous comment, but perhaps no longer in Scotland.

The season started so embarrassingly for Celtic and Rodgers, a 1-0 loss to Gibraltarian part-timer Lincoln Red Imps in a Champions League qualifier in July described by some pundits as the club’s worst defeat in its 130-year history.

Now, they are about to lift the league title with eight matches to spare and potentially in the month of March for the second time in four years.

“We want to continue winning, continue the run that we’re on,” Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon said, “and make sure we do that for as long as we can.”

AP Sports Writers Graham Dunbar in Geneva and James Ellingworth in Moscow, and Associated Press writers Ciaran Fahey in Berlin, Daniella Matar in Milan, Dusan Stojanovic in Belgrade, Mike Corder in The Hague, Netherlands, and Raf Casert in Brussels, Belgium, contributed to this report.

Steve Douglas is at http://www.twitter.com/sdouglas80

Mourinho: Midseason international friendlies don’t make sense

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United has a big challenge thanks to injuries and a club with far more international participants than the weekend’s Premier League rival.

It has the manager asking, frankly, why the friendlies?

While Phil Jones and Chris Smalling were injured in England training, not the friendly against Germany nor the World Cup qualifier versus Lithuania, Mourinho wonders why the national teams need to play relatively meaningless matches in the middle of club season.

[ MORE: Lamela out for rest of season ]

Mourinho says he is being careful not to be too vocal about his disappointment given that he’ll probably one day need those friendlies as an international boss. From Sky Sports:

“A couple of weeks before the Euros or a couple of weeks before the World Cup makes sense. But mid-season friendly matches mixed with qualification matches, I don’t think that makes sense.

“On top of that the matches are not really big matches so I am not a big fan. But I think one day I will be there so I cannot be very critical.”

Mourinho will be without Jones, Smalling, and Paul Pogba this weekend. He also has several internationals who won’t arrive back at Old Trafford until Thursday. United hosts West Brom on Saturday.

Lamela needs hip surgery, out for rest of Spurs season

Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Tottenham Hotspur won’t be getting an Erik Lamela boost any time soon.

The 25-year-old winger will undergo surgery on his ailing hip this Saturday, costing him availability for Spurs’ stretch run and Argentina duty.

[ MORE: RSL hires Petke ]

Lamela has been missing since Oct. 29, and left Spurs lineup with the team unbeaten in the Premier League (5W-4D).

He registered a goal and an assist in PL play, adding a goal and four helpers in the side’s first two rounds of the EFL Cup and two assists in three Champions League matches.