When it was announced the Special One would be back for another term at Chelsea, fans of the blues opened their arms for the return of the prodigal son. Funnily enough, Jose Mourinho came in with the new moniker of the "Happy One", suggesting his second tenure at the club would be less chaotic than the first. For a while he seemed to true to his word, but a leopard never changes his spots and Arsene Wenger, Manuel Pellegrini and Sam Allardyce plus many others found that out the hard way.
I mentioned Mourinho's spats with Wenger, Pellegrini and Allardyce not so much because they were the most publicised, but rather because they encapsulate so much of what went wrong with Chelsea's season.
Wenger was criticised for being a specialist in failure, yet it is Mourinho is without a trophy by the season's end for the second season running. Similarly, Pellegrini was attacked because Manchester City were not romping away with the title - this despite the fact Chelsea are the only other Premier League club that has spent close to what Man City have spent. Meanwhile, Allardyce was criticised for playing 19th century football and whilst I understand Mourinho's point, he came out of it looking like a hypocritical manager trying to deflect the fact his side worth hundreds of millions could not break down sides like West Ham, Crystal Palace, Aston Villa or Sunderland.
Even more bizarrely, Mourinho would constantly berate the performances of his strikers whenever Chelsea failed to put a team to the sword like expectation demanded. When this did not suffice, he went on further picking on the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Juan Mata, Ashley Cole, Eden Hazard and latterly Mohamed Salah for questionable and sometimes baffling reasons.
No doubt Mourinho gets it right more than often and perhaps more importantly, gets it right when it truly matters in the big contests. However, his constant bickering has caused him to drop the ball on numerous occasions, costing them big time.
Starting with Chelsea's dearth of strikers, you have to ask the question why a team like Chelsea were ever in such a position? In the summer tonnes of money was spent on players like Willian and Schurrle. Whilst they are good, it does not change the fact neither was needed. At most Willian is understandable considering he effectively replaced De Bruyne, and went on to have a fruitful season. Schurrle however was made to sit on the bench for long periods of the season. Surely the 18 million spent on him, as well as the money recouped on De Bruyne and Juan Mata could have been used on signing a world class striker?
Better yet, Lukaku should have been given a chance to shine in blue of Chelsea, instead of the blue of Everton. Lukaku had another great season on loan but nothing was gained from it, we already knew Lukaku was a Premier League ready player, what we and Chelsea needed to know is if he could fit into the Chelsea line up. Having been at the club since 2011, we are no closer to knowing that.
Mourinho could have used what will be the least pressurized season of his tenure to bed Lukaku in, instead he watched a washed up Fernando Torres, a decent but not good enough Demba Ba and a player seemingly only motivated for the big games in Samuel Eto'o prance around.
Admittedly, Chelsea's strikeforce were not helped by Mourinho's stifling methods. Aside from Eden Hazard, Chelsea were devoid of creativity. Oscar started of brilliantly but faded horribly; Willian had a good season but Mourinho utilised his workman-like qualities, instead of his playmaking; furthermore, the horribly managed De Bruyne created 51 chances in 16 games for Wolfsburg, only Hazard and Willian created more for Chelsea in a full season.
With such poor service (especially considering Willian was poor at the beginning of the season and Hazard tailed off towards the end of the season), all but the most clinical striker capable of creating something out of nothing in the style of Thierry Henry or Didier Drogba could ever hope to flourish in system that punishes the striker.
Contrary to Mourinho's claims, he did have the tools to win the Premier League and more this season. His stubbornness and inability to be versatile led to Chelsea's downfall this season.
Missing out on the Premier League by 4 points as well as a Champions League in the semi-finals shows that there is a method to Mourinho's madness, he just does not have to make it as difficult as he does for himself.
Grade: B -