He may have regarded it as just one simple decision, but he was however left to rue the absence of his captain in the second half in Chelsea’s rout at the Etihad stadium.
That’s the story of Jose Mourinho who believed John Terry was not up to the job of marking Chelsea’s nemesis on the night Sergio Aguero after the first 45 minutes of the game.
For him, a young and more agile defender in Kurt Zouma needed to be introduced into the game but the result of this change did more harm than good as City will end up putting two more goal past Chelsea’s goalkeeper Asmir Begovic in the 3-0 whitewash over the league champions.
What Mourinho failed to observe going into the dressing room after the half time whistle was that it was Gary Cahill whom Aguero was running rings around for the most part, having cleverly dummied the right-sided centre back before slotting past Begovic for City’s opener.
Never before had Mourinho substituted Terry since his return to Stamford Bridge in 2013. It was the first time Terry had been taken off by Mourinho, in his 177th game under the Portuguese.
Terry has been up against most of the world’s best forwards and few could be said to have given him a genuine run-around. Why suddenly did Mourinho think a younger, faster player would have to be fielded in the second half of last night’s game?
When asked about the substitution, Mourinho said: “The point was not to take John out, but to put Zouma in.
“I want to have my fastest player on the pitch and not on the bench. I know they are going to play counter attack and long balls to Aguero.”
Asked Why Terry and not Cahill, he said: “That is a good question. Why not start Zouma in the first place?”
A football enthusiast will not be new to Mourinho’s mulishness. For the “Special One”, the decision to replace Terry was vindicated in that Chelsea had most of the play after the break, but for disappointed fans, the Portuguese got his tactics wrong this time.
Mourinho though, had found himself another scapegoat in Terry. Just like Petr Cech, Juan Mata and others players whose usefulness to Chelsea and Mourinho expired. He has ushered a good number of Chelsea legends out of the door in the three summers he’s been back at the club with Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard among them too.
Terry doggedness is certainly a major reason why the skipper is still in London. Mourinho however thinks otherwise, he believes he revived Terry’s career at Chelsea.
Irked at a question, Mourinho said: “I don’t know if you ask many questions to Benitez, Andre Villas-Boas, Di Matteo, to the ones that never played him (Terry).
“I am the one you shouldn’t ask because I am the one who played John every game, made him captain, recovered him from a difficult situation with other managers and I had the right to say I want Zouma on the pitch.”
“He was not dancing in the dressing room and he was not having a bad reaction when he took delivery of the news that he was to be subbed.
“He did what everybody does. The manager says this guy comes in and that guy goes out and they all understand.”
A 2-2 draw against Swansea and this 3-0 hammering, leaves Mourinho’s men five points behind City.
To be enduring such a poor start is strange for Mourinho. In his career he has never been at a club whose output was so shambolic. He has a job on his hands turning this lot around any time soon.
No player is bigger than any club but for a player like John Terry with 20 years at a club, his input has done more than most to challenge that thinking.
Mourinho has not, yet, been able to bring in the players he wants but the signing of Abdul Baba Rahman could yet spell trouble for either Cahill or Ivanovic.
“He is a left back he can compete with Azpilicueta,” said Mourinho before adding: “At the same time Azpilicueta can compete with Ivanovic for the right-back poitison so he replaces Filipe Luis in the balance of the squad.”
The Chelsea manager has also been accused of trying to send a defiant message to Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich with his controversial decision to substitute John Terry at half-time at Manchester City on Sunday.
Mourinho is keen to sign John Stones from Everton – although the Merseyside club are adamant the player is not for sale – and his decision to remove Terry after 45 minutes at the Etihad Stadium has prompted suggestions he was attempting to provoke Abramovich into action in the transfer market.
He was asked at the end of the press conference whether these players could win him the Premier League again and maybe the Champions League. “Yes,” he said quickly and walked away as he could not think of any convincing words to back it up.
To endure such a start and fall out with his medical staff and then drop his captain at half time of a crucial league game is peculiar, something is not right for Mourinho at Stamford Bridge.
Meanwhile, Mourinho slammed his defenders for allowing Manchester City to score two cheap second half goals in their second match of the English Premier League.