Wrong way to behave, Jose
(Loic Remy 41)
MAN CITY 1
(David Silva 45)
Jose Mourinho had it all in English football. He was both loved and feared.
That's why he left Spain and came back.
The Chelsea manager's cheekiness tickled the media and entertained a country steeped in self-deprecation.
Mourinho made the English Premier League laugh. And the English have always loved jokers.
But he's sabotaging his own appeal. The boyish smile that once charmed jaded journalists keeps giving way to a permanent snarl.
His latest childish media blackout defies belief. He's turned his back on the world media and, by obvious extension, his global audience.
He's not merely biting the hand that feeds him. He's ignoring it and the obvious disrespect is hurting his reputation.
Mourinho is no longer both loved and feared, he's just feared. Increasingly, he's loathed and feared.
The Blues boss appears determined to strip away his most prized asset - a genetic asset denied even Sir Alex Ferguson.
He's charming. Ferguson was ruthless in his pursuit of success, but never charming. Only Mourinho was both cute and clinical.
Clearly, that is no longer the case.
At a time when he deserves qualified praise for holding Manchester City to a 1-1 draw yesterday morning (Singapore time) with depleted resources, he plays the pesky fly in need of swatting.
The petulance persists. The sulking irritates. The enforced, artificial siege mentality against a fictional campaign of prejudice angers just about everyone and even embarrasses those inside the Bridge.
Chelsea should be better than this. But Mourinho is not. Chelsea don't need this, but Mourinho can't help himself.
That white line separates a master craftsman from a meddling moaner.
Almost everything that went right on the pitch was undermined by Mourinho's wrongs off it.
Quite deliberately, Chelsea's manager threw a security blanket across the Stamford Bridge turf and suffocated the contest.
He has often bragged how easy it is to win games 1-0 and might have proved his point, had Thibaut Courtois not made an uncharacteristic error to present Man City an equaliser.
Mourinho set up his side not to lose.
Indignant purists may castigate the negativity, citing home advantage and the creative merits of Willian, Oscar and Eden Hazard as reasons for a more positive outlook.
But purists will not be picking up the Premier League title at the end of the season. Mourinho probably will.
Preserving the five-point advantage was the overriding priority. All other concerns were secondary.
And the Portuguese pulled it off without the league's leading scorer and the league's leading assist supplier.
While Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas sat in the stands in garish knitwear, their deputies held the line against the champions.
Fernandino and Fernando stretched Nemanja Matic and Ramires. The City pair knew that any space left behind was unlikely to be exploited.
Mourinho retaliated with raw speed. Kurt Zouma was tasked with tracking slipped passes between the lines. His interception against Sergio Aguero in the first half was the tackle of the game.
City had plenty of possession without penetration. It was first date fumbling with the odd rush of blood, the occasional thrill, but no outcome beyond an overwhelming sense of anti-climax.
Mourinho remains the master of the manacle. He defeated Liverpool last season. He denied City this time around.
Chelsea lost their two best players, but they didn't lose the initiative. As he so often does against elite opposition, Mourinho won the battle.
But he lost the PR war.
Perhaps he doesn't care. But the game cares. Its global audience cares.
He's turning into the insufferable brat at the birthday party who's eaten his cake, but still complains that other kids have bigger slices when they clearly do not.
After a week of claiming that referees are influenced by a media campaign against Chelsea, Mourinho refused to speak after the game. So far, so Ferguson.
But he was also overheard abusing Sky Sports stuff in the tunnel after the game.
He savaged journalists for criticising Costa's obvious stamp on Liverpool's Emre Can, which earned a thoroughly deserved three-match ban.
Such unpalatable behaviour is beyond the most myopic of managers, beyond even Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.
Mourinho's tantrums are all the more tiresome when one considers his lofty position and status.
He's not fighting an unwinnable relegation battle with meagre resources. He's top of the table, flying in the Champions League and guaranteed a trip to Wembley for the League Cup Final.
He's fighting a war that exists only in his head.
There's no campaign destroying Chelsea's reputation.
Mourinho is managing that all by himself.
What Mourinho did right
1) Picking pace over experience
Selecting Kurt Zouma over Gary Cahill ensured that Sergio Aguero could be caught around the penalty box (not a good sign for Cahill though).
2) Pulling back midfield
Mourinho spent most of the match screaming at Ramires and Nemanja Matic to hold their positions. They pulled back. It wasn't always pretty, but it worked.
3) Attacking the left
Manuel Pellegrini made a mistake in starting with Bacary Sagna instead of Pablo Zabaleta. Mourinho let him know by piling on the pace of Hazard and Loic Remy on Chelsea's left.
What Mourinho did wrong
1) Arguing all the time
Every decision was wrong. Every decision was contested. He had to be spoken to by the referee for constant abuse on the touchline.
2) Shouting in the tunnel
After the game, Sky Sports staff were abused in the tunnel for their so-called "campaign" against Chelsea. Pathetic.
3) Media blackout
Mourinho refused to talk to the media, denying not only the press, but the game's fans and Chelsea's own supporters.
4) Can't let it go
Even in the club programme, Mourinho referred to those who weere criticising the club, making him look childish.
5) Defending Costa
He defended Costa's awful stamp on Liverpool's Emre Can publicly. And then he defended it a second time by not talking to the press, in protest at the Spaniard's three-match ban; irritating behaviour beyond belief.