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Mourinho's Caveman Tactics Are a Slap in the Face To Chelsea Fans

Chelsea welcome Atletico Madrid to Stamford Bridge this evening to play out the second leg of their respective semi-final ie - and, following a dead heat in the first meeting, both sides still have it all to play for.

So, one place in the Champions League final taken. One left to play for.

As Carlo Ancelotti's rampant Real Madrid side systematically dismantled Bayern Munich on their way to a 5-0 aggregate victory last night, the rest of the continent could be forgiven for wondering just where the Bernabeu side's weaknesses lie - if, indeed, they exist at all.

It was a quite incredible counter attacking performance from Los Blancos, and, again, signals something of a power shift from Germany to Spain. The two nations have long tussled to cement their place as the superior force at the forefront of European football, and it appears that their battle is far from over.

So long have Bayern Munich swept all before them in the Bundesliga, a domestic dominance which has seen them secure the title with a record seven games left to play - yet against the might of the Madridistas, the Bavarians looked under prepared, overrun and outfought.

Meanwhile, Chelsea welcome Atletico Madrid to Stamford Bridge this evening to play out the second leg of their respective semi-final tie - and, following a dead heat in the first meeting, both sides still have it all to play for.

A clean sheet from that game has boosted the Stamford Bridge side's chances significantly, but they might still find it difficult to contain their guests, who boast a wealth of attacking talent, including David Villa, Adrian Lopez, and, of course, Blues target Diego Costa.

Of course, Chelsea head into this clash confident, and full of momentum, following a morale-boosting 2-0 smash and grab victory over Premier League leaders Liverpool at the weekend.

It was a result that single-handedly blew open the top tier title race - but instead of the resounding warning shot that their performance should have signified, Mourinho has instead been on the receiving end of a barrage of criticism since that win.

Essentially, the encounter was one of attack versus defence. Beauty versus brawn. Some would even say, right versus wrong.

Liverpool have excited and enthralled with their free-flowing and pulsating football this campaign, but Mourinho's Chelsea ripped out the soul of their opponents' beautiful game - time wasting, diving, and defending deeper and deeper until, despite the lion's share of possession, 73% in fact, the Anfield side slipped, before taking advantage.

It was two counter-attacking breakaways which led to the Blues' goals, and, in truth, they didn't create much more than that. In fact, they didn't really create those opportunities, either.

The first, an error by Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, left Demba Ba with little to do but race through and slot the ball under desperate keeper Simon Mignolet. The second, in injury time, stemmed from Liverpool's eagerness to grab an equaliser, and was a simple tap-in for Willian.

Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that the Blues defended magnificently. Without the likes of Petr Cech, John Terry, Ramires and Eden Hazard, for securing an historic victory at Anfield, Mourinho surely deserves credit.

But, whilst I don't doubt the effectiveness of the negative tactics he employed, the bottom line is - Chelsea deserves better.

I have been a Chelsea fan all my life, and although I spend much of my time outside of the country now, I still manage to get down to the Bridge as much as I can. In my opinion, there is a real feeling that, eventually, persisting blindly with this stifling brand of anti-football can only end in tears for Jose.

His boss, Roman Abramovich, has made no secret of his desire for the Blues to play easy on the eye, tiki-taka style football - Barcelona, at their peak, are the model.

It surely will not please him to see his players, of which, let's not forget, there are several hundred million pounds worth, resigned to digging in - two deep banks of four.

The most frustrating thing is, that we know Chelsea can play another way - we've witnessed them at their scintillating best, and it just feels like such a shame that we don't see that more often.

Take the 6-0 thrashing of Arsenal last month. From start to finish, the Blues tore into their guests to blistering effect, carving out a four goal advantage by the break.

But it is not the performances against the 'top four' that are most worrying to Chelsea fans. As Mourinho said himself this week, his side has beaten Liverpool twice, Manchester City twice, and remained unbeaten against Arsenal and Manchester United, an enviable record by anyone's standards.

It is the defeats to Newcastle, Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Stoke City which will stick in the memory - and the bottom line is that when Chelsea are required to take the initiative and 'play', they too often come up short.

Mourinho burst onto the scene in style, guiding underdogs FC Porto to an incredible Champions League victory against all the odds back in 2004 - his well-drilled and somewhat defensive approach bearing fruit as his side surprisingly secured that silverware.

But since then, he has managed at Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid - all massive clubs - and with those roles come all the politics and weight of expectation of leading football's elite.

It's all well and good spending hundreds of millions on attacking flair and talent, as Jose has done during his time at Stamford Bridge, but ultimately, this cynical approach to playing the game renders those players obsolete - and Mourinho's lack of tactical ambition is unlikely to gain him many friends in the game.

Incredibly, despite an abundance of quality, and highly expensive players, it could even be said that Chelsea are looking a little bereft of creative spark.

Let's take a look at the midfield. Oscar, such a bright prospect last campaign, has looked a pale imitation of his former self for much of this season, and simply has not shown the same ability on a consistent enough basis.

Eden Hazard is undoubtedly up there with the best on the planet right now - but when he is absent, as injury has rendered him currently - Chelsea look a far poorer side, and the worry for Blues fans is that, with the likes of Paris Saint Germain sniffing around the Belgian, his absence could become much more permanent over the summer.

That was, of course, the eventual fate of Spanish fantasista Juan Mata, who so often showed glimpses of real quality for the Stamford Bridge side, but ultimately was not much of a loss following his move to Manchester United - a switch which has not really reaped dividends in the north west, either.

Then there's the Brazilian wizard, Willian. The subject of an old fashioned tug o' war between Chelsea and their cross-city rivals, Spurs, Mourinho, perhaps predictably, won the battle - but for all of his tireless running, and that should be applauded, the player does seem to lack creative impetus.

Jose is often hailed as a modern-day Brian Clough - but the truth is, the only similarities lie in their respective eccentricity and prickly personalities. His approach to playing the game couldn't be further away from the beautiful, fast-flowing brand of football encouraged by the ex-Nottingham Forest and Derby County boss.

When Clough arrived at Leeds United to start an ill-fated spell back in 1974, he famously told his new squad, who had just secured the league title, that they might as well throw their medals in the bin, because they hadn't won them the right way.

It raises the question: is winning all about the result, or should clubs be expected to win in a certain way?

I don't doubt that the majority of Chelsea fans would be delighted should Jose's ugly style of play lead them to their second ever Champions League trophy this year, but in the long run, no great manager has been successful by abandoning their principles.

Indeed, I don't believe we would ever have seen Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, or Manuel Pellegrini at Manchester City resort to such desperate tactics.

In Bayern Munich's tie with Real Madrid, we didn't see Pep Guardiola change his open and attacking approach, and ultimately, it could be argued that his stubbornness contributed to his side's downfall.

But is the Spanish manager going down playing the way he feels that the game should be played more noble?

In truth, should Chelsea overcome Atletico Madrid to reach the last two tonight, Mourinho might be quietly relieved that he won't face his old adversary in the Lisbon final next month.

After all, there was certainly no love lost between the pair during their time in Spain, and it could even be said that it was in the aftermath of their opening exchanges, back in 2010, that Mourinho first developed his penchant for 'parking the bus'.

A wave of excitement greeted his first 'El Clasico' as Real Madrid manager - but as his side travelled to face arch-enemies Barcelona at Camp Nou, things did not quite go according to plan for the Portuguese gaffer.

What followed was a five goal, footballing lesson from a Guardiola side at their peak and in their pomp. That 5-0 drubbing saw Mourinho leave Catalonia with his tail firmly between his legs, and a vow never again to see his side undone in such a humiliating manner.

In their following 14 meetings, Mourinho won just three - but never again were his side handed a beating akin to that first clash, and it appears to have been a case of once bitten, twice shy for the Portuguese manager.

No one can argue with Mourinho's record in football. Two Champions League trophies, one UEFA Cup, seven league titles and 10 domestic cups cements his position as one of the all-time greats.

But, although his trophy haul speaks for itself, to football, Jose still has much to prove.

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