Chelsea play “ugly” football under Jose Mourinho and the Premier League’s runaway leaders deserve to be branded as boring because of their refusal to attack teams, their former manager Ruud Gullit has said.
Chelsea F.C., who have already won the League Cup this season, boast a 13-point lead at the top of the table after coming from behind to beat Leicester City 3-1 on Wednesday – this was ahead of the game against Crystal Palace which crowned Chelsea champions.
They can seal a first title since 2010 if they beat Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, but their brand of football that prioritises a watertight defence has drawn some criticism from rival supporters for being boring.
“His team is boring when, in my opinion, the players he has deserve much better. Mourinho deserves his negative label because of the calculated way he makes Chelsea play,” Gullit said in the Mirror newspaper.
“I find it astonishing, because his players are capable of brilliant football, as we saw on Wednesday for a brief moment when they were losing 1-0 at Leicester and were suddenly forced to put their foot on the accelerator.
“You could see their hunger to attack and the joy that playing like that brought to the players. They loved it. They were sparkling. Then, as soon as Chelsea were winning 2-1, Mourinho wanted to bring on Kurt Zouma, the defensive midfielder, to keep everything close up.”
Gullit, who ended Chelsea’s 26-year wait for a major success by guiding them to the FA Cup in 1997, believes Portuguese coach Mourinho should change his approach for the benefit of the game.
“I can’t fault Chelsea when it comes to results and Mourinho is a top class coach… but when you have this kind of quality in your squad, you must bring more attractive football,” Gullit said.
“It does not bother him one bit. He talks cynically and starts saying stuff that in future we will play without goals and that only ball possession will decide games.
“In the end it is a matter of taste. You either like it or not to win the Mourinho style.
“For me, it does not work. I really feel sorry for the players. They win, but in England every football fan says, ‘Yes, they win, but not in style’. Yet the players have so much quality.
“They could win almost every game in style if Mourinho was prepared to play with the handbrake off. You would see great football with lots of goals.”