A fortuitous Manchester United debut for Henrik Larrson, a gaffe for the ages by Villa’s Gabor Kiraly, and a death-knell winner by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer — which of these circumstances has 1998 written all over it?
The Independent’s Jason Burt writes that Jose Mourniho’s hot seat is bound to get only warmer after a reported liason between Roman Abramovich and Gus Hiddink.
Mourinho’s own demeanour has also been queried at times – especially his reaction to criticism. Some at Chelsea still have not forgiven the manager for the way in which he threatened to walk out in the wake of the Uefa inquiry after the retirement of the referee Anders Frisk and believe it was simply a ploy to secure a better contract.
Interestingly questions have also been raised over how Mourinho acts under pressure and it is thought the linking of Hiddink to the Chelsea post, following on from the warning of an unnamed boardroom source last week that Mourinho had to sort things out quickly, is part of a growing campaign. He could walk before he is pushed and there will be no shortage of offers from Italy or Spain.
It is also starting to appear increasingly likely that Mourinho’s future hinges on Chelsea’s progress in the European Cup more than the Premiership. Chelsea are expected to defeat Mourinho’s former club, Porto, in the next round but an exit soon after that will seriously undermine the manager who is also under pressure to improve his squad in the January transfer window.