Over-analysis and the death of confidence

Predictably, some fickle Chelsea fans have began playing into the hands of the opposition just because we had an away draw at Anfield in the Champions League. Internet chat-rooms and messageboards are filled with venom-vomiting supporters and emergency Mourinho advisers mourning the fact that we did not beat Liverpool black and blue. They’re now busy picking the team for Sunday because apparently Mourinho was thinking via his ass by playing Drogba, Robben or any player they didn’t fancy. While some of these censorious supporters have come to realize that they may have overreacted in the heat of the moment, having been so spoilt with success that they’re now beginning to expect the impossible, some others remain on a warpath filled with blind and impotent fury. And we’re still playing the same opposition in the Premiership on Sunday!

Let’s get real! We may not like Liverpool, but they aren’t mugs. They did not win the Champions League by merely being lucky; they did because they’re a good team that understand what is required to win the big prize and in Rafael Benitez, they have one of the best coaches around today. Going to Anfield and not losing and not conceding a goal is a huge improvement from our last outing there in the same competition. As far as I can see, we’ve done the business by making sure they did not score or win, even as they were playing at home with their vociferous support behind them. Liverpool know that the Champions League is one of their most realistic avenues for silverware this season considering the way the Premiership race is going. They pulled out all the stops to turn us over at Anfield, but we were an immovable object on the night, despite a below par performance. And all that really matters is that we qualify from our group, an objective that has been progressed, not endangered, by our performance at Anfield.

Chelsea fans should read the papers and listen to the reports and assess how the Anfield encounter is being reported. Reading or listening to some, you’d think Chelsea lost the game. When The Sun in a most unoriginal way offered £10,000 for anyone who first scores against us in the league, it says so much about what the press thinks of our success. Rather than celebrate the fact that finally an English team is getting the hand of a winning defensive formation, which in truth is the goal of all great teams, they’re all blaring the boring tune and are likely to continue doing so till the cows come home. Chelsea fans shouldn’t fall for the agenda-driven antics of the cry-wolf press. We are still the team to beat and we have not suddenly become rubbish simply because we didn’t score against Liverpool at Anfield.

Let’s all ignore the over-analysis brigade and put our trust in José and the boys. Of course, a lot of us want Joe Cole and/or Gudjohnsen to play and so on and so forth; but only one man has earned the right to make that decision and he’s the Special One. Football is like the office; it has its bad days and its not-so-good days. It is how a team and their supporters pick themselves up after each disappointment that matters. While what happened in Anfield isn’t a disappointment by any stretch of the imagination, I understand those who for purely vengeful reasons would have preferred a more productive outcome. But, after the emotive part, we must look at the reality, which is that we will not always win games and we may sometimes lose games. But as far as these do not compromise our overall objective in each competition, why should that bother us unduly? So, before getting too much into analyzing Wednesday, let’s all concentrate on Sunday — get behind our team and make sure they get the three points. Weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth will not help.

Related links: