Mourinho claims less pressure in England - Is he right?

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho asserted in his press conference on Friday lunchtime that the ‘pressure’ on managers is less intense in England than it is in Spain.

The former Real Madrid, Inter Milan, and Porto boss explained his belief that, due to the higher level of competition for the Premier League title across the top teams in England, the pressure to win games week in week out is less intense than in La Liga where ordinary only Barcelona and Real Madrid challenge for the title.

Since his return to Stamford Bridge this season after six years away spent at Inter Milan where he won two Serie A titles back to back and Real Madrid where he won the La Liga title in 2011/12, the Blues boss is happy to be back in England for more than one reason.

So far this term, Chelsea have won three, drawn two and lost one of their six Premier League fixtures and sit fifth in the table on 11 points, just four points behind leaders Arsenal heading into their clash with Norwich on Sunday lunchtime.

Is he fair and he accurate in his claims about the English top tier? In comparison to La Liga which, for all intents and purposes often resembles a sunnier and more attractive SPL, he is correct in his assertion – either Real Madrid or Barcelona have won the Spanish title nine out of the last ten seasons in a row. The last time another team won the title was in 2003/04 when Valencia were crowned champions.

Real Madrid have won the title 32 times and come runners-up 21 times, Barcelona have won 22 titles and come second 23 times. The next most successful team in the history of La Liga is Athletico Madrid with just 9 titles; way under half the amount of last the present champions Barca.

Last season the Catalonians lost just two games, drew dour and won an incredible 32 of their 38 games. The previous season, prior to Mourinho’s disappointing final season in which the Los Blancos failed to retain their title, losing five games and drawing seven, Real Madrid equaled Barcelona’s form from last season winning 32, drawing four and losing just two games. That is championship form in Spain.

In England, however, eventual champions Manchester United lost five, drew five and won 28 of their 38 games last season. The season before, in 2011/12, Manchester City kept exactly the same form – five defeats, five draws and 28 wins from 38.

The last time Chelsea won the title, incidentally, they lost 6, drew five and won 27 games under Carlo Ancelotti, Mourinho’s replacement at the Bernabeu this summer. The last time Mourinho lead the Blues to the title in 2005/06, they lost five, drew four and won 29 games. As is clearly the case, Mourinho is correct in his belief that the pressure to win games – all of your games almost – is indeed more intense in Spain than in England.

However, I wonder how Chelsea fans will feel about his revelation, given that the Blues have already lost one game and drawn two of their first six fixtures this season?

Not that I am asserting that Chelsea will continue in this exact vein of form all season long but, hypothetically, if they did (multiply their record so far by 6.33) that would equate to at least six defeats, at least 12 draws and, generously given the remainder in the equation, just 20 wins which, in reality, would very unlikely be enough points (72 points) to win the title and, in fact, going on last season's totals, wouldn't even be enough to get in the top four as Tottenham found out.

Again, to clarify, I don’t expect Chelsea to continue in the same vein of form as they have been so far – for a number of reasons, including the time it takes for the boss to settle back in, the time for new players to bed in, the time for players to get optimum fitness, the time for confidence and belief to grow and, besides all that, the prospect of signings in January.

However, whilst Jose Mourinho is correct in his comparative analysis of England and Spain, he still can’t use that to hide behind Chelsea’s inconsistent start to the season and, more over, he’ll still be expected to win the vast majority of his games with the Blues, as he did in 2009/10.

Just because the competition is more intense does not necessarily mean the pressure is less so – I reckon the Chelsea faithful will be expecting something a little special than that from the special one.

image: © apasciuto

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