Date: 22nd September 2013 at 9:23pm
Written by:

I have read with disgust some of the opinions of some commenters here on VC in the last few weeks regarding the situation with Mata, david Luiz , Cesar Aspiliceuta etc that have had limited minutes thus far this season.

Let me be clear I am one of the greatest admirers of Mata not just as a player but as a person. I have been on record when many were drooling over hazard and Oscar as describing Mata as the closet thing to the Chelsea player I revere most; the Siciilan genius Gian Franco Zola. I say all this because like many I love Mata but as far as club footie my allegiance is first and foremost to Chelsea FC and this exceeds my affinity for Mata, Jose or any other person within the Chelsea hierarchy including Roman himself. The club existed before any of these persons and will God willing continue to exist after each and everyone of these persons move on.

It is one thing to be disappointed that a player one likes is not seeing as much time on the pitch as you would like but is another thing entirely to say and write some of the errant nonsense I have been reading on VC recently. Interestingly a few of the exact same childish persons who clearly only started following Chelsea in the recent Roman era peddle the exact same ridiculous comments on other Chelsea blogs I visit. For so called fans of this club to decide that the best way for players to respond if they are not picked to play for a few matches is to hand in transfer requests in the winter window and to then go on foul mouthed tirades abusing the current manager and asking for his sack (and this after the team just won a BPL match too) is just baffling. With “fans” like this who needs enemies for the club? This is the sort of childish, immature behavior that has earned Chelsea fans a reputation of being “plastic” fair weather “fans” who have no real actual affiliation to the club but are merely seekers of glory in the now. It is just embarrassing honestly.

Fortunately Mata himself has shown way more maturity and class than some commenters here. I wont rehearse the reasons behind the limited time that some of these players have had on the pitch so far this season. Jose has been quite explicit explaining why so as to dispel the fiction and lies that much of the media peddle on these matters (media outlets that have never liked us anyway and so why fans would believe these rags rather than the words of Jose himself beats me). People may disagree with Jose`s reasons for his actions but I daresay that none of us have half the experience the guy has, none of us have even managed one top tier footie team, none of us has his neck on the line if and when mistakes are made or the project fails, none of us has his reputation on the line. None of us has been tasked by Roman to change the style of play of our team with players he has largely inherited, he does.

Furthermore in case guys saying some of these things are in a trance the league season is just 5 games old!!! At least for mata and Luiz both have had opportunities to start so far this season and neither has been stellar. That is the honest truth. It is interesting that there is no such outcry that players like Ba, Cesar, Essien etc have not seen as any significant pitch time either. This makes it clear that all this angst is personality driven rather than genuine concern for the good of the team.

I mention Ozil and Robben above because both players were faced with situations similar to this where their regular starting positions were questioned by their managers. Heynckes demanded that Robben needed to be a more complete player and contribute on both sides of the ball. Till he got with the program Tony Kroos was preferred despite the preceeding Bayern legend of the Robery connection. Robben learnt his lesson and rather than pout or hand in a transfer request, rather than take the easy way out and transfer elsewhere he decided to buckle down and the moment Kroos got injured and Robben had another chance he played like a man possessed tracking back, tackling, working like a maniac of the ball. He did it all and in the latter half of Bayern`s season last year he was arguably their best and most influential player. He answered Heynckes on the pitch and his evolution as a player during that period ensured that even with the arrival of Pep his place in the side was secure.

This same sort of scenario arose with the goal keeping situation at Real. Jose made a decision based on who was performing best at training; who was doing all the things he wanted and it was Diego Lopez. Rather than knuckling down and working harder Casillas used the media to curry for favor and try to get his spot back by media circus rather than hard work. He allowed the lies to be peddled suggesting it was all a personal vendetta. Well Ancelloti came and saw exactly the same thing and made the same decision..that Diego Lopez was the better keeper on current form (not on history or legendary status). Casillas has continued to pout and use the media to fight his battle rather than knuckling down and doing the hard work required to win his way back into the side.

Mesut Ozil is another contemporary example. The arrival of Isco to the Real side meant more competition for starting spots. Dimaria and Ozil were the persons who were at risk and would need to work harder to earn their places especially as Isco is Spanish and seen as the next big thing in Spain. Di maria was vocal in saying he was going no-where and wanted to fight for his place at Real. He was willing to work extra hard to earn and secure his place and he had Ronaldo even lobby hard to insist on his retention. Ozil on the other hand decided to take the easy way out, rather than stay and compete, rather than work harder where the lights are brightest he decided it was better to go to a place where his starting spot was guaranteed with minimal efforts hence his move to the gunners so he could ultimately be sure of his spot on the Mannscraft side. It was his choice but time will tell if it was the right one.

Mata and others who are presently having limited minutes on our side are not in the dark about what Jose expects of them. For all his faults few people who actually know the man would say he is duplicitous. He is on the other hand said by both friends and detractors to be very direct and clear with his players as to his expectations. On Tuesday Mata and others who have had limited minutes thus far will have a chance against diminished quality opposition in Swindon town to make their case on the field of play. I expect them as professionals who love this club and who have a point to prove (rather than being crybabies and pouting kids like some posters on this forum) to put on a performance to remember. To totally and thoroughly dominate Swindon. To put on a performance that showcases their quality and ability and so make Jose`s team picking process for bigger games to be even more difficult than it is now. That is the way it is in the biggest clubs worldwide and is the beauty and pain of having adequate squad depth.

I feel Mata and others like Cesar and Luiz will make their claims to starting places as the season progresses but if they ultimately decide to take the route of Ozil or Casillas it wont be the end of Chelsea FC. There are always other players that can be brought in willing to work hard and compete for their place on the squad and understand the dynamics that exist in top squads with considerable squad depth. The club must come first..no player or personality , no manager or agenda is more important than the big picture of what is best for the team. I hope those here whose vision of Chelsea revolves around one player or person would either get their priorities right or simply move on with said player(s) or personalities when and if they decide to go elsewhere. What is transpiring with Spurs since they sold Bale should be instructive; no one player is bigger than the team, no one player is indispensable..it is a team sport first and foremost. The commonality on this forum should a first and pre-eminent love for Chelsea FC. KTBFFH.