Following Chelsea’s thrilling 2-0 victory over Liverpool on Sunday, NBCSN’s Rebecca Lowe sat down with England legend Gary Lineker to discuss the brilliance of Jose Mourinho.
Lineker’s fascination with Mourinho begins with his ability to concoct a lineup of players who have never played together and make it work. That was no more obvious than looking at Chelsea’s back four, which consisted of a player who had yet to make a Premier League appearance, Tomas Kalas, being paired with Branislav Ivanovic at center-back while normal left-back Cesar Azpilicueta moved to the right-side and out-of-favor Ashley Cole returned to left-back.
It was a setup that looked primed for Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling to tear open, except it never happened. The inclusion of John Obi Mikel and Nemanja Matic at holding midfield provided an extra buffer for the defense, and also allowed the attacking midfielders – Andre Schurrle, Mohamed Salah, Frank Lampard, and later, Willian – to cause problems on the counter.
The team choice was impressive, as was the result, which came in the middle of the semi-final legs of the Champions League. It was a feat by Mourinho that didn’t impress Brendan Rodgers but had Lineker floored, noting: “The man is special, no doubt about it.”