His misfortune was to follow a man who was reckoned by everyone to know precisely what he was doing at every single moment of every single day. José Mourinho, the handsome Portuguese capable of weakening the most football-phobic of female knees, had elevated the art of coaching to new levels.
A wily media operator, a sharp tactician, the shrewdest of psychologists, Mourinho took credit for Chelsea\’s success in recent years. It was the manager who did it; nothing could have been done without him.
And yet, this season, the club is in with a strong chance of achieving everything with a man written off as second rate. It is a result that would suggest the manager doesn\’t matter that much. Which would rather undermine conventional wisdom.
We live in the era of management. We are fully paid-up members of the cult of the executive. It is a modern-day tenet of faith that everything can be delivered by simple application of management techniques.