Bridge Banter: Can Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho really 'smell' his way to winning matches?
Jose Mourinho reckons he has a nose for management after claiming that he smelt the risk of defeat at Carrow Road.
The Blues were bossing Sunday’s lunchtime game, but Norwich steadily clawed their way back into contention in the second half.
Mourinho sent sub Eden Hazard scampering down the touchline to warm up, with the intention of bringing him on to protect Oscar’s fourth-minute opener.
But before he could make the change, Anthony Pilkington popped up in the 68th minute to head the Canaries level.
Cue a hasty rethink. Looking back at that critical moment, Mourinho claimed – in one of his more surreal post-match chats – that he could smell trouble.
From the press seats, I have to admit that all I could smell was the all-pervading whiff of Delia’s half-time pies... but the Portuguese detected something else.
“During the game I’m not nervous, but I have feelings; I smell things,” he said. “I smelled they would score a goal!”
Mourinho’s instincts are not to be sniffed at. Nor are his subbing decisions to be questioned.
On came Hazard, and on came the underused Willian – a Brazilian who now has a hilarious, and completely unprintable, terrace chant of his own.
In the space of two minutes Hazard had slipped the ball under Norwich keeper John Ruddy to make it 2-1, then Willian curled a left-foot beauty into the top corner to round off the Blues’ first away league win of the season in the glorious East Anglian sunshine.
It was a tactical triumph for Jose, although he cheerfully admitted it had been a bit of a gamble and could have gone either way.
Demba Ba, who started last weekend’s match, played a “very British game”, said Mourinho. Pressed to define a phrase some might view as a bit of a backhander, he said he understood it to mean ‘with emotion’.
If Jose continues to sniff out opportunities and dangers, he may have to find a new nickname. Nostrildamus?
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