Some of Jose Mourinho’s curious selection decisions, in the aftermath of a Tottenham’s depressing 2-1 loss to Chelsea, deserve a deeper look.
It’s easier to sit on a couch and express negative opinions about certain personnel decisions than it is to actually have to make those decisions. But that is why Jose Mourinho gets paid millions while, suffice to say, I don’t.
In victory the manager receives praise. And in defeat he must be accountable for regrettable decisions. I’ll save for a subsequent article castigating Mourinho about his apprehensive, negative, defensive-minded formation at Stamford Bridge, focussing instead on a few incorrect selection decisions.
Ben Davies’ inclusion
Ben Davies returned last week after almost three months on the sideline. His winning return against Aston Villa on Sunday was followed by a harrowing display against Leipzig midweek, which saw the Welshman concede the decisive penalty. After playing two highly competitive matches in four days, one would think Jose would err on the side of caution and give Davies a well deserved break. Instead, the Welshman played his third match in less than a week and, unsurprisingly, looked absolutely knackered. It’s was a perplexing decision I still can’t get my head around.
Jan Vertonghen’s inclusion
Jan Vertonghen has lost a step and everyone knows it. He was static and caught too often on the back foot. His inability to stay close to Olivier Giroud led to Chelsea’s opener. While I’m a big proponent of the Belgian’s, this was not a match to reinstate the elder statesman.
Dele Alli’s exclusion
I get it. Dele Alli endured a woeful evening in the Champions League against Leipzig. He was clearly infuriated with both his performance and being pulled off. But Dele has historically played excellently against the Blues and, based on that fact alone, deserved his chance for redemption. Maybe the Englishman would have harnessed that anger and let hell rain down on Chelsea. But we’ll never know, as Jose cruelly took that opportunity from the enigmatic midfielder.