In the 1960’s Chelsea, for some reason, were always better away from home than they were at home. Could it have had anything to do with the crowd being so far from the pitch, seemingly a current problem for West Ham United?

The days of Peter Osgood, Charlie Cooke, Peter Bonetti, Ron and Alan Harris et al produced far superior returns on the road than any other team. In fact, if Chelsea could have corrected their home form during this period they wouldn’t have had to wait quite as long as they did to win the title.

For Manchester United, playing Chelsea at Old Trafford was always more difficult than the away game. United had an excellent record at Stamford Bridge but, like most other teams, found Chelsea a difficult proposition on their own ground.

When José Mourinho arrived at Stamford Bridge Chelsea seemed to become Manchester United’s bogey team. Because this fact coincided with the appointment of Mourinho as manager, most people thought that it was he who was the jinx rather than the team.

The game and the result from yesterday proved that it is the team, not the manager. If anybody was expecting Manchester United to return to their old winning ways at Stamford Bridge, particularly as Mourinho is now in the red dugout as opposed to the blue one, they were sadly mistaken.

From the goal by Pedro in the first minute, (a player supposedly signing for United until Mourinho took advantage of the customary dithering by Ed Woodward), where no United player even touched the ball until David De Gea fished it out of the net, this started like a typical Chelsea-United game where Chelsea looked full of confidence and United didn’t.

Only the great Sir Alex Ferguson could boast a better than average record against Chelsea. In total he faced 13 managers only two of whom managed to win more than they lost against United. One of them, of course, was Jose Mourinho, who only lost once against Ferguson while in charge of Chelsea. The other was Bobby Campbell who did not stay very long. All the others during the Ferguson era failed miserably when facing United. (Here is an article with the list of all 13 and their results against Ferguson).

This all went to perpetuate the myth that it was Jose Mourinho who was the jinx, rather than the Chelsea team. Whilst it is true that Chelsea’s results against United improved dramatically when Mourinho took over the same can also be said about their results when playing many other teams. He may have had the Abramovic billions at his disposal but he still had to buy well and turn his purchases into a title winning team.

The fact that he has also had recent success at Inter Milan and Real Madrid proves that he was capable, when given a decent squad of players, of turning them into trophy winners.

So now he is at Manchester United and everybody expects him to weave his magic and turn them into champions. There are two possible ways this adventure can go.

Mourinho could fail which would suggest that he is past his managerial best and reached the nadir when facing Leicester City last season. He needs to show strength of character to recover from that season, particularly at a club like United where the spotlight is on him 24/7.

Alternatively, Mourinho could succeed. This is the more likely of the two scenarios but he needs to be given time. The Moyes and van Gaal eras did untold damage to United both mentally and physically. Bad players were kept while good ones were sold or sent out on loan and there were some questionable purchases made by both managers.

Even now there are players in the United first team who wouldn’t get anywhere near the first teams at Chelsea, Manchester City or even Liverpool. They need to be moved on and fresh faces brought in.

Only when this happens will United begin to look like winners again. Then, when Mourinho’s team is beating Chelsea on a regular basis we will be able to agree that the jinx WAS Mourinho after all, not the team.


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