In Depth

Why Mourinho is the author of his own downfall at Chelsea

The Special One is a 'cultural terrorist' who has brought third-season syndrome upon himself by 'burning out' his players

With Chelsea languishing in the lower reaches of the Premier League, having taken just eight points from eight games, and his proud home league record now ruined, Jose Mourinho is coming under sustained fire.

The latest to stick the knife into the not-so-special Portuguese are former England manager Fabio Capello and ex-Barcelona coach Johan Cruyff, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Capello, who had his reputation destroyed at the altar of English football and was recently sacked by Russia, believes that Mourinho "burns out his players after a year and a half, at most two years".

The Italian, who has won seven league titles in Italy and Spain, adds that the pattern has replicated itself throughout Mourinho's career.

The idea that Mourinho was suffering "third-season syndrome" was first noted by The Week in August. Since then he has seen his side lose at home twice in the league. In his previous five seasons as Chelsea boss he had lost only one league match at Stamford Bridge.

"The theory is that Mourinho's methods, and the regular controversy or tension about some issue or another, is brilliantly effective in the short-term but gradually exhausts players both physically and mentally," explains the Telegraph. "His teams reached their peak during his first or second seasons at Porto, Chelsea, Inter and Madrid before he either left or stayed amid intensified off-field friction and relatively declining results."

Cruyff, meanwhile, believes Mourinho's lack of playing experience and a desire to make himself the centre of attention are also contributing to the problems. He told Sky Sports: "What I like about him is he's always capable of creating good ambience within the players and what I don't like is that he always puts himself on the first row. He should be on the second row."

Those theories are picked up on by Matthew Syed in The Times, who says Mourinho's management technique is based on the "cult of the individual... [and] a sense of permanent crisis".

"In the short term, this technique works... But over the long-term, it begins to grate," he says. "They say that the Real Madrid players eventually became bored of Mourinho, but the truth is that they became ashamed of him.

"Over three seasons, they saw him traduce, malign and infect — and, in the end, they couldn't bear it. They were exhausted by the caricature running their club and his juvenile approach to leadership."

He describes Mourinho as a "cultural terrorist" for whom third-season syndrome is inevitable. "What success he achieves comes by napalming the native culture, and then moving on... Even the most one-eyed Chelsea fans are beginning to recognise that the notion of this man spending ten years at one club is inconceivable."

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