Paul Parker

Chelsea dilemma could make or break Mourinho – and it’s his own fault

Paul Parker

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The question of whether Thibaut Courtois or Petr Cech start in goal for Chelsea this season is a very, very difficult decision to take and one that ultimately could make or break Jose Mourinho.

It is an extremely complex problem to solve and if he gets it wrong, Mourinho could leave himself open to causing big problems in the dressing room. By allowing the issue to drag on for so long, he has already lit the blue touch paper.

This is a big moment in Chelsea’s recent history. A real point upon on which dynasties can turn. Mourinho has to get this one right or he could be feeling the repercussions for some time.


I’m sure Mourinho wants Cech around because he has been such a loyal servant to him in the past. Mourinho likes to surround himself with his allies. You can see that with the deal to re-sign Didier Drogba. Drogba has declined as a player but as a personality and a right-hand man, he has value.

Cech has been a regular for years and years and done everything with Chelsea. He’s risked his health at times and been hugely consistent for the club. You could argue they owe him a starting role.

However, if you pick players on form then the decision goes in favour of Courtois, given the way he has performed in his past couple of seasons at Atletico. In the last season alone, he won La Liga, reached the Champions League final and performed at the World Cup.

Now he has returned to Chelsea, he will not be happy if the season starts and he finds himself on the bench. Rightly so. Getting the odd appearance in the League Cup means nothing when you have been playing in front of huge crowds every week and winning trophies.

Whichever way Mourinho goes, it’s going to upset one player. What he absolutely cannot do is rotate them: it just doesn’t work with goalkeepers. He has to take a decision – and it has to have been made already.

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Neither of these players should ever be back-up. Can you imagine Cech warming up Courtois before a game as the Belgian prepares to don the gloves? Or vice versa? It just cannot happen. Neither of these two are personalities like Mark Schwarzer, Mr Nice Guy who is just happy to be there. They are bigger and better than that.

Cech is only 32 and in theory he could have 10 more years as a keeper; it’s not as if he is on the way out. In truth, I cannot understand why Mourinho has made a rod for his own back by bringing back Courtois from his loan spell. If he believed in Petr Cech, why did he do that?

Bringing Courtois back loaded a gun. And it was completely avoidable. Courtois would have been happy to go back to Atletico and spend another season on loan with the Spanish champions. He would have gone back a hero and Chelsea could have put the decision off for another year. Everyone would have benefitted.

It was a crazy decision. Courtois wasn’t needed this season. If anyone was needed it was Romelu Lukaku and look what happened there. If Courtois doesn’t play this season, then we might be seeing him join his international team-mate in leaving Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho has left himself with a big, big problem. I’m sure there will be many a journalist sharpening their pen and waiting for the first game of the season to see who gets picked. All the TV cameras will be focused on the bench to see how the substitute likes it. I can guarantee one thing: they won’t be happy.

- Paul Parker

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