Fabio Capello has launched a stinging attack on Jose Mourinho, claiming the Portuguese coach is burning out his Chelsea players.
The Blues were the outstanding team in the Premier League last season as they won a first title since 2010, but they have started the current campaign in alarmingly poor form. The champions are in 16th position having lost half of their eight matches, and the 3-1 home loss to Southampton prompted Mourinho to challenge the board to back him or sack him.
In an unusual move in the Roman Abramovich era, the Stamford Bridge club responded 48 hours afterwards to insist that the 52-year-old retained their full support. But it appears as though the head coach has shifted his targets for the season already, as he accepts their defence of the title is already all but over and the focus, at least domestically, is a top-four finish.
There have been accusations that Mourinho is again suffering third-season syndrome, as he did in his first spell at Chelsea and also with Real Madrid. And former England coach Capello has joined the bandwagon of criticising the Blues boss, by claiming he is burning out the players who helped him collect a Premier League and League Cup double during the 2014/15 season.
“Mourinho burns out his players after a year and a half, at most two years,” the Italian told Fox Sports. “I had already heard it when he was in Madrid and now we have confirmation in London. It is true that Chelsea are paying for some of their absences – like [Thibaut] Courtois – but there have also been tactical errors from the coach, who this year is not preparing for matches very well.”
The frustrating thing for Mourinho and his champions is they have a prolonged wait to get their season back on track due to the international break. When the season resumes it does so with the visit of an Aston Villa side who are just one of four who sit below them in the table, with Tim Sherwood’s side losing six of the seven games played since their opening day win at Bournemouth.