Jose Mourinho is not happy. He’s focused, yes, and certainly hopeful, but he isn’t happy, and hasn’t been for some time. Ever since Chelsea’s stunning defeat to Sunderland on April 19, Jose has been unhappy. Mourinho’s reaction to the 2-1 defeat was accurately described as a “sulk-fest” by gambling.com, and little has happened since then to improve the Blues Boss’s attitude.
Certainly a nil-nil draw with La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals is an acceptable result, encouraging even. Yet even that served to sour his mood, as his side lost Petr Cech and captain John Terry to season-ending injuries in that tilt. In addition to those injuries, the Blues will also be without Frank Lampard and John Obi Mikel for the April 30 second leg with Atletico, both of whom were booked in Madrid and must now sit out a game.
With all those details swirling around his head Mourinho is faced with the unenviable task of determining how to split his team’s focus. Chelsea still has an outside chance at the Premiership title, five points out of first with a weekend fixture with league-leading Liverpool ahead of them. Even with a victory, however, the Blues would need a number of other dominoes to fall if they wish to clinch the league crown.
So what is a manager to do? Does he send his best squad to the pitch against the Reds and risk putting them in poor form ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final decider in an effort to win the Premiership? Or does he utilize a weaker line-up on Sunday, keeping his team better rested for Atletico at the risk of dropping from the Premiership race?
It appears Mourinho is taking the latter tack, prioritizing the Champions League. Aiding his decision making while simultaneously fouling up his mood is the decision of the FA not to move the match with Liverpool to Friday or Saturday. Citing the advantage given to Atletico by their own home league in scheduling as a concern, it appears Mourinho will be putting a squad on the pitch come Sunday leaving something to be desired.
That is not to say that Chelsea are conceding defeat early, as they will still have stalwarts such as Mikel, Lampard, Nemanja Matic, and Mohamed Salah in the lineup. While certain key players for the Blues will see their roles reduced or eliminated altogether for the match, there will still be enough talent on the pitch to pull an upset in the always unpredictable Premier League.
No matter the outcome of the contest with Liverpool, however, Mourinho’s mood can best be salvaged by a pair of victories in the Champions League.