9 reasons Jose Mourinho's home record has been shot to bits
Chelsea have been beaten three times in the league at Stamford Bridge this season, and Jose Mourinho has lost more times at home in the past three months than he has in the previous 13 years.
Mourinho's record is extraordinary and unlikely to be repeated again, with the outstanding feat stretching from his days at Porto to Chelsea (first period) to Inter to Real Madrid.
The Portuguese coach went nine years and 150 games without defeat in the league on home turf before his Madrid side lost to Sporting Gijon. In his second spell with Chelsea, he was defeated just once at home in his first two seasons back, so what exactly is going wrong this year?
1. Loss of form of key players
The obvious problem is the fact that Chelsea's best players haven't performed at the level they are capable of. Last season's standout performers such as John Terry, Nemanja Matic, Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa are well below the standard expected.
These players didn't always operate at their very best in every single minute, but at least one or two of them would rise to the occasion at various stages of the campaign. The fact that all these players are struggling individually means that it has a knock-on effect on the group, as each player looks to cover for the others' deficiencies.
2. The late pre-season
Mourinho knew that he was taking a gamble by starting pre-season later than everyone else, but he certainly couldn't have predicted such dramatic consequences. His teams always start well at home, even when they don't win the league, so it makes this decision all the more baffling.
His teams always start well at home, even when they don't win the league, so it makes the decision to start pre-season late all the more baffling
When he won his first league title with Porto, he dropped just two points in their opening six matches at the Estadio do Dragao and none in the same timescale a year later as they retained the crown. In his debut season with Chelsea they drew just one game in the same period, and then won all six in 2005-06.
In his Inter stint, he won five out of the first six home matches in both seasons. At the Bernabeu, Real Madrid won all six in the first two seasons and even in the infamous disastrous final campaign it was five wins and a draw.
3. Setup of the midfield
It's not just the midfield that is failing to perform, after all, the combination of Fabregas and Matic was heralded in last season's title win. But this was a break from Mourinho's normally all-powerful central midfields and Fabregas was exceptional until the end of January.
Of the 15 assists in his first 21 league games for Chelsea, only six came in home matches which indicates the initial plan was to keep it tight centrally. The defeat to Crystal Palace this season has meant that Mourinho no longer trusts the duo as a partnership and as a result is continually changing the dynamic in the centre of the pitch.
4. Lack of defensive familiarity
Asmir Begovic is a top class goalkeeper, but losing Thibaut Courtois has been a major blow for Chelsea. It's not just that the Belgian is amongst the top three in the position; it's that his presence commands the defence in a similar fashion to Petr Cech.
In last season's title win, Mourinho kept the same defensive six players at home until November, when Cesar Azpilicueta missed the game with Queens Park Rangers through suspension. It's been a different back four in all three of Chelsea's home defeats this term.
5. Mourinho's motivational skills
Mourinho has an amazing way with words. Sometimes it was just a look or a wink and you feel like you’re ready
"He has an amazing way with words. Sometimes it was just a look or a wink and you feel like you’re ready," said former Blues winger Damien Duff to The Telegraph. Mourinho has always had a number of players that appeared to have the will to run through walls for the coach, but that no longer seems to be the case, even though John Terry backed him this week.
His intensity becomes too much for some to cope with, as his team's struggle in their third year. Mourinho has regularly publicly criticised one player in his side throughout his managerial career in a bid to get the best out them, however, he has done it to a number of players in his squad in the last few months.
6. Mourinho's media briefings
The Portuguese manager has hardly looked in control of the situation when facing the British media, as he has become more erratic with his statements. He doesn't appear to care about the image it gives of him or the club, which is surprising when you consider he likes to strategically use mind games when results are going to plan.
His assertion that there is a conspiracy and his complaints over refereeing decisions aren't helping his side, especially when the likes of Diego Costa are getting away with violent acts on the pitch.
7. Supporter nervousness
The Stamford Bridge faithful has remained supportive of their manager throughout the current crisis, but that doesn't mean that they haven't voiced their displeasure at the players or been annoyed at how their team has performed.
With the confidence and mentality of the players pretty fragile, it won't help if there's tension in the atmosphere and they certainly won't reach their full capability. After rarely watching the team lose on home soil, it's an adaptation period for the fans as much as the players, as they have become as puzzled and bemused as the rest of us, which can vent itself in a variety of manners.
"[Manchester] City reacted to the fact they had lost the title by buying fantastic players," confessed Mourinho in a dig at his own club's transfer dealings. The manager has always had the biggest resources at his disposal and that's no longer the case, especially when you consider the expenditure of Manchester United in the last two years.
City reacted to the fact they had lost the title by buying fantastic players
The added money in the Premier League means that even Crystal Palace can break their club record and spend £12.8 million on Yohan Cabaye, which means better players at the smaller sides. They are not afraid to arrive at the home of the champions and look to gain maximum points.
It's impossible to remain unbeaten for such a long period without an element of luck. At the moment it's in short supply in West London, but the only way that's going to improve is by generating it through hard work and dedication to the cause.