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Jose Mourinho is looking for a reaction.
Against Newcastle United, up at their place on Saturday, November 2, Chelsea came unstuck, as they often have recently at St James' Park, returning to London without any points due to a 2-0 defeat.
Both the performance and the end-result rankled Mourinho, who believed he had made mistakes in his selection policy. That's right… plural. Not one mistake, but 11.
There are numerous changes expected when the Blues take to the field against Schalke 04 in a matter of hours, at Stamford Bridge, in the fourth match-day of the Champions League in terms of a: playing personnel and, what Jose hopes will lead to b: a change of attitude.
The reaction, he hopes, will come from his players, but he has already provoked one from a man fast turning into a managerial rival. The man is Fulham (although he is not Fulham) to his Chelsea, he is James Hunt to Formula 1s Niki Lauda, gruyere cheese in a croissant to eggs, bacon, sausage and black pudding, he is… Andre Villas-Boas.
Just yesterday - and reported in this column - Mourinho referenced the case of Petr Cech when it comes to immediate treatment for any type of on-pitch head injury. And, while not addressing Jose directly, AVB has issued a riposte, calling any and all of his critics over the Hugo Lloris incident; 'incompetent'.
'I stand absolutely by the decision that I took and the decision that the medical department has taken following the checks that they made on the player, all of which were according to the book,' Villas-Boas is quoted to have said by The Guardian.
'I stand by the decisions that gave us the green light for the player to continue. I registered the fact that a couple of people have taken this opportunity to find a chance to get themselves publicised.'
AVB then moved to remind his detractors that the people responsible for aiding the recovery of Lloris were the same people involved in saving the life of Fabrice Muamba a brace of years ago.
'What is extremely disappointing is the fact that two persons – a great doctor and a great physio who saved the life of Fabrice Muamba – were put into question by lots of incompetent people and people who have no experience on the pitch, in the action, in the moment. That is extremely serious and disappointing.'
Mourinho may well react to AVBs reaction and, if indeed he does, he could be angry and scary, as Oscar testifies in Standard Sport: 'Mr Mourinho has been very angry since the Newcastle game, very angry indeed and frustrated. We know his personality and it is scary when he’s angry like this.'
Don't make him angry then!
Elsewhere, if out of favour Demba Ba was pondering the merits of switching clubs during the winter window, his omission from the Senegal international call-ups may push him over the edge as Sadio Mane, Moussa Sow, Dame Ndoye, Papiss Demba Cisse, Mame Birame Diouf, Henry Saivet are all favoured for the forward positions over Ba.
What is your reaction? Is AVB referring to Mourinho with his 'incompetent one' outburst? Will Jose get a positive reaction from his players this evening against Schalke? Let us know in the comment section below…
image: © Ben Sutherland