In the wake of Chelsea’s surprise 2-1 Champions League defeat by Basel, José Mourinho has attempted to defuse criticism of his tactics by unbuttoning his shirt even further while making bedroom eyes at the assembled press pack.
Mourinho had been forced to undo his second-top button on Saturday following Chelsea’s defeat to Everton, revealing just a hint of silvery chest-bush and sending various reporters into paroxysms of excitement.
Sources close to the Mourinho say that the richelieuvian coach had hoped to keep his third button done up until January at the earliest, with the promise of form-fitting trousers to follow if Chelsea’s title chase appeared to be faltering.
But his side’s failure to deal with Basel’s counterattacking system has left his plans in ruins, and his shirtfront open to the nipples, leaving him looking vulnerable but undeniably spicy.
“Chelsea were deservedly beaten last night, off the pace and a tactical shambles compared to their Swiss opponents,” began one fortysomething male journalist.
“Um... José. Um, José, you’re... oh, wow. Oh my. Oh José.”
“José might have got it wrong on the pitch, but in the press room, he’s still the Special One,” said one experienced Mourinho-watcher. “Hair tousled, moist lips slightly parted, one eyebrow raised as if to say ‘Do you feel lucky tonight?’ I’m torn between wanting Chelsea to turn things round and wondering how far he’ll go if they lose to Fulham on Saturday.
“He doesn’t want to have to rely on his eggs, if you know what I mean.”
Mourinho will be aware that other managers have tried to keep the press onside by the judicious removal of clothes, with mixed results. Christian Gross, Spurs boss from 1997 to 1998, used to slather on the baby oil before meeting reporters, to their general dismay, while Mick McCarthy has been repeatedly fined by the FA for his tendency to leave difficult questions to “little Mick who lives under the table.”
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