During his time at Old Trafford, former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson criticized referees quite often and was able to turn the tide in his sidea s favour at certain instances, by constantly being in the officiala s ear.
This season, Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho has seemingly tried to use the tactic, but it seems to be going the other way. Former United player and pundit Paul Scholes seems to agree with that conclusion and has compared the effect the two managers had on refereeing decisions.
Writing in the Independent, he said: “How would I describe the impression I got from some referees when it came to Sir Alex? I think some of them wanted to please him.
“I don’t mean that they did us favours. It was more that they were very keen not to make mistakes in our games. That when they came to Old Trafford they wanted to be on top of their game and get everything right.
“It goes without saying that no one at United ever expected any help.
“We understood that decisions can go against you. We believed we were the better team and therefore, if the referee got his decisions right then we would win the vast majority of our games.
“I don’t know what reaction Mourinho expects from referees in saying what he has about them.
“If he had hoped that they would be more likely to give his team the split decisions then it has not worked. They seem to be determined not to be seen to be influenced by him.”
Yet, Chelsea have been the standout team in the Premier League this season, leading the race for the title by five points. This Sunday, the West Londoners take on city rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the final of the League Cup, which, if they win, will be the cluba s first trophy since winning the Europa League in 2013.
Moreover, the Blues are perhaps the only English team who have a good chance of progressing into the Championsa League qualification, with both Manchester City and Arsenal suffering home defeats in the opening legs of their round of 16 clashes.
If there is any battle that Mourinho is looking to win, he is indeed winning as he has been able to pull the spotlight off his players and onto him, shielding his players from the mediaa s scrutiny.