Chelsea were quite optimistic despite the fact that Mourinho would not be at the dugout due to the stadium ban he received on Monday. Chelsea went into the game off the back of a 2-1 win against Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League.
The special one was back at the team hotel during the game against Stoke, definitely with his eyes glued to the game, despite his pre-match suggestions he might not. And while he would have seen his side in many ways end up unlucky to slip to their seventh loss in 12 league games this season, he will know the result only increases speculation about his future.
Chelsea Lost to Stoke 1-0 courtesy of a Marko Arnautovic goal despite the Blues being on the front foot throughout the game.
A statement from Chelsea in early October said Mourinho had their “full support”, although it added: “Results have not been good enough and the team’s performances must improve.”
Chelsea goalkeeper Asmir Begovic said after the Stoke game that Mourinho’s players were behind him and Blues fans at the stadium certainly made their backing for the manager known.
Former Chelsea defender Graeme Le Saux believes the Portuguese is the right man to lead the club out of their current troubles, but feels Mourinho needs to change his approach.
Le Saux told the BBC 5 Live’s Sportsweek programme on Sunday: “Mourinho has skills and the ability, but he is in a situation he has not been in before, so he will have to change his approach in order to improve the environment for the players to then drag themselves back up the league.
“There were positives yesterday, but it’s a case of him giving the players that guidance to make sure they really do believe in what he has to say and believe they are good enough to do better.”
Chelsea striker Diego Costa has bagged just three goals this season and against Stoke his performance was once again most notable for the frequent tangles he got into. He’s been critically acclaimed for his ungentlemanly conduct on the pitch this term.
Le Saux added: “Costa looks very isolated and he wants to have a fight with anyone at any moment on the pitch, even when he is not being wound up.”
“You sense he is becoming a distraction – he needs to deliver what he should.”
“I also thought Chelsea played very narrow. Tactically they played into Stoke’s hands.”
Stoke boss Mark Hughes,feels Chelsea are suffering due to the improvement of other teams. Hughes said: “They are going through a surprising period for them. “But in the Premier League, certainly this year, the middle group of teams are presenting a challenge for the top teams. “I think Jose has said he feels the top teams will lose more games this year because of the quality and strength of the mid-group of teams – and I have to agree.”
Chelsea play Norwich in their next premier league encounter and the Chelsea board and fans alike will be expecting nothing short of a win to set the pace for Chelsea’s season revival.