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At Chelsea you fight for titles every year, but you get that on the expense of guaranteed playing time. Some players accept that (Remy, Mikel, Begovic), some don't (Schurrle, KDB, Luis?). Jose only wants players who accept the challenge of hard competition. That is why players, despite being quality options, are sold. Some fans seem to disapprove of that strategy. But it is the way Jose does it, it is the way he creates the team - and the squad - that wins us titles. This is the balance he is referring to all the time. Which is also why people will think our squad is thin, and that the club (and Jose) are deluded. Well, thin or not, the squad we get is the squad Jose wants (more or less). And In my opinion that is more important than splashing cash in the European market on whatever new wine is on Twitter's lips.

Good post, fully agreed.

Harmony and work ethic have always been key in Mourinho teams, and I feel that's the main reason his Real Madrid side failed comparatively to his Chelsea, Inter and Porto sides. All the talent in the world, and even a lot of work ethic from his squad.... But disharmony upset the balance, and there were constant leaks to the press.

I think Hazard and Fabregas are our two most talented players, and they buy into Mourinho's ideals and philosophy as much as anyone. If reports of De Bruyne's attitude and lack of work ethic in training are to be believed, then perhaps we'd be worse off with him despite just how talented he really is? No one should be above it, and we shouldn't keep unhappy players around for their level of talent.

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At Chelsea you fight for titles every year, but you get that at the expense of guaranteed playing time. Some players accept that (Remy, Mikel, Begovic), some don't (Schurrle, KDB, Luis?). Jose only wants players who accept the challenge of hard competition. That is why players, despite being quality options, are sold. Some fans seem to disapprove of that strategy. But it is the way Jose does it, it is the way he creates the team - and the squad - that wins us titles. This is the balance he is referring to all the time. Which is also why people will think our squad is thin, and that the club (and Jose) are deluded. Well, thin or not, the squad we get is the squad Jose wants (more or less). And In my opinion that is more important than splashing cash in the European market on whatever new wine is on Twitter's lips.

This so much this.

Every summer we have the same posters complaining about the squad depth - I'm as guilty as anyone by the way. But it is important to remember that this is the squad size José has always worked with. Always - without exception.

It isn't very likely to change now. I do think it does hamper our ability to be serious contenders for both the PL and the CL but this is the methodology we should expect as long as he is our manager. It kind of comes with the package.

A lot of people has aksed for more than 6 AMs. That will never happen so we might as well forget it. Droy is continously asking for 7-8 AMs and 4-5 strikers. I feel very confident saying it won't ever happen as long as José is our manager or unless we all of a sudden is supposed to play 45 PL games.

What we can expect in squad size is 3 GKs and 20-22 outfield players where roughly 18 or so will be seniors. That's his blueprint.

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^ Well, most summers in recent years we're talking about a side that fell short. Some of those years we fell very short. So it's no surprise it's a recurring worry. And particularly because, as has been clear both under Mourinho these last two season and in the three or four seasons before that, the real squad size is often smaller than the number of players training at Cobham.

A lot of problems in jones's post for me. There's been almost no threat to 'guaranteed playing time' for about two-thirds of our outfield players and almost no hope of any meaningful playing time at all for the remainder in recent times. There has been no genuine competition for places, which is something Mourinho vocally aspires to. I cannot fathom anyone who tells me that any manager actively prefers to work this way. Who on Earth would prefer fewer useable players to more useable players?

This supposedly preferred 'thin' squad has won precisely one title; not 'titles'*. Generally the teams that win titles are those that have options and competition. The reasons why are obvious.

*This should not be seized on as complaining or criticism, as it is not. That we won the title with so few useable players is one of the things that made it such an achievement.

Edited by thevelourfog

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BlueFizz   

Who on Earth would prefer fewer useable players to more useable players?

A coach who prefers to work with a smaller group of players in which all of them are sufficiently involved and motivated, rather than a larger group, in which the possibility of disaffection and spreading demotivation is greater.

This isn't a radical or novel approach. I've encountered it in business for years. You want just enough people in a project team to build real esprit de corp. It's also the basis of most super-hero and action movies.

The Fabulous Four (not Fourteen). The Three Musketeers (not the Thirteen). The Seven Samurai (not the Twenty-seven). There's a reason for this you know.

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I think we're still looking like title favourites.

Arsenal have an excellent keeper in Cech, but when Ospina took over last season he looked solid. Their problem is their terrible injury record and having a squad full of bottlers.

Man U have made some interesting signings in midfield, but Schneiderlin should be a squad option and Schweinsteiger didn't have the best injury record last season. Add to the fact they have to keep Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger, Mata, Carrick, Herrera, Fellaini, Di Maria, Januzaj, Blind, & Young all happy.

City have real problems if they can't keep Aguero fit, or worse still Madrid come calling for him (as of yet they've not signed a "Galactico"). Toure looks done, Kompany looked really bad last season and add that to the fact they have a poor (IMHO) manager. Don't see them tearing up trees.

Liverpool seem content being mid-tablers these days, signing average players or paying way over the odds for slightly above average ones (see Benteke). Add Brendan's ego to the mix and you've got another "it'll be ours next year" season.

Whereas we have a settled squad now with a winning mentality, Hazard can kick on again this year, Cuadrado hasn't shown us anything near his best yet, we'll get the standard blistering half season out of Fabregas. Add exciting prospects like RLC and Traore to the mix and I'm pretty confident.

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A coach who prefers to work with a smaller group of players in which all of them are sufficiently involved and motivated, rather than a larger group, in which the possibility of disaffection and spreading demotivation is greater.

This isn't a radical or novel approach. I've encountered it in business for years. You want just enough people in a project team to build real esprit de corp. It's also the basis of most super-hero and action movies.

The Fabulous Four (not Fourteen). The Three Musketeers (not the Thirteen). The Seven Samurai (not the Twenty-seven). There's a reason for this you know.

I believe this is very close to the truth.

As for TVFs comment about who'd actually actively want to work with a small squad - well probably a manager that likes a settled squad and match-day squad. A manager that works hard for the team to reach the stage where a lot comes automatically and isn't forced.

It can't be that every board that JM has ever worked under has set the same small squad size limit on him. I'm imclined to think it's a lot more likely to be an active choice by Jose.

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We shouldn't forget that in a small squad it's even more important to have every player count.

We had several players last season that contributed virtually nothing.
Changing a few of the subs (Begovic for Cech, Falcao for Drogs, Traore, Moses and Cuadrado for Salah and Schurrle) isn't really all that promising, but pretty much what needed to be done.

Ideally you'd want a few more, but the summer's still long. I doubt this was it.

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GURJ SS   

At Chelsea you fight for titles every year, but you get that at the expense of guaranteed playing time. Some players accept that (Remy, Mikel, Begovic), some don't (Schurrle, KDB, Luis?). Jose only wants players who accept the challenge of hard competition. That is why players, despite being quality options, are sold. Some fans seem to disapprove of that strategy. But it is the way Jose does it, it is the way he creates the team - and the squad - that wins us titles. This is the balance he is referring to all the time. Which is also why people will think our squad is thin, and that the club (and Jose) are deluded. Well, thin or not, the squad we get is the squad Jose wants (more or less). And In my opinion that is more important than splashing cash in the European market on whatever new wine is on Twitter's lips.

I agree with the outline of what you are saying, but it's the same as can be said for many managers in the world. They all want every player to be giving their all and fighting for their place.

However Jose seems to have a different way of doing things.

Just take Shurrle as a prime example, he would come on as a sub and get a goal, but would then not come off the bench for the next game and come on for the last 15 mins the game after that. I am not saying he was world class, but he was good enough to be used a lot more. Cuadrado doesn't look great, but he wouldn't lose a team a game, nor would Salah, yet when we had the game in the bag they still didn't see any decent amount of minutes.

Players should fight for their place and for the team's objectives. If it's true that Jose demands more from his players, then our club needs to improve their interviewing skills. Or are we being realistic and honest? We have all been to job interviews where we have been promised things that have never been delivered.

We need to be straight and honest. If the player is not already good enough to take someone's place in the squad, then they never will be no matter what they do, simply because the chance won't present itself. Last season it looked like Ramires and Remy were ahead of Cuadrado and Salah, two players who would be out of position yet still picked over those two players, so are we promising and doing a dodgy salesman job to potential signings or are we not that good at picking talent up?.

Edit: If Jose wants a small squad, then that is fine. However at least make it a small squad full of fantastic quality. After the starting XI we could massively improve our bench, yet we don't.

Edited by GURJ SS

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BlueFizz   

I agree with the outline of what you are saying, but it's the same as can be said for many managers in the world. They all want every player to be giving their all and fighting for their place.

However Jose seems to have a different way of doing things.

Just take Shurrle as a prime example, he would come on as a sub and get a goal, but would then not come off the bench for the next game and come on for the last 15 mins the game after that. I am not saying he was world class, but he was good enough to be used a lot more. Cuadrado doesn't look great, but he wouldn't lose a team a game, nor would Salah, yet when we had the game in the bag they still didn't see any decent amount of minutes.

Players should fight for their place and for the team's objectives. If it's true that Jose demands more from his players, then our club needs to improve their interviewing skills. Or are we being realistic and honest? We have all been to job interviews where we have been promised things that have never been delivered.

We need to be straight and honest. If the player is not already good enough to take someone's place in the squad, then they never will be no matter what they do, simply because the chance won't present itself. Last season it looked like Ramires and Remy were ahead of Cuadrado and Salah, two players who would be out of position yet still picked over those two players, so are we promising and doing a dodgy salesman job to potential signings or are we not that good at picking talent up?.

Edit: If Jose wants a small squad, then that is fine. However at least make it a small squad full of fantastic quality. After the starting XI we could massively improve our bench, yet we don't.

Good points.

But one thing we should all bear in mind when we make judgments about who is picked ahead of who, which players perform, which don't etc...

Let's assume players are in the training ground for five or six hours a day or thereabouts, five days a week. That's 25 to 30 hours a week. During this time Jose and his coaching team get to see how they are performing physically, how they seem in terms of mood and motivation.

We have to base all our views on just 90 minutes a week, if they're lucky to get the full 90 minutes.

What I'm saying is - we know about 10% of what there is to know about any player at any given time, if that.

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Boni   

I'm also calm but (surprise, surprise) not very confident at all.

We started brilliantly last season. Maybe we will again, maybe not. But no matter what we are very dependent on a good start as the squad is so small I fear our ability to play catch-up with the other teams should that situation arise.

I'm not going to say we don't have a chance of winning the league. We're the defending champions so of course we have a great chance. I'm worried because our success is very dependent on Costa not having the same injury issues as last season, that Oscar performs for more than a month and that Cuadrado turns out to be a good squad option for us. Not to mention that Fabgregas doesn't go AWOL for half a season.

Our midfield is no better than last season and that scares me. After Matic and Fab we have nothing at all. RLC better have a good season! I do believe we are better off at AM if we keep on both Moses and Traore. Remy can't be allowed to leave. But what happens if Oscar is no better this season and Cuadrado continues to flatter to deceive? Then we are very light indeed...

We won the league with all those challenges last season, didn't we? By a 7point gap to top it off

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