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Why Chelsea are the game's joyless Alpha Males

Alan TyersMarch 2, 2015
Terry delighted with winning performance

Congratulations, Chelsea. Loathe them or hate them, you have to admit that they are not only the best team in the country, but the benchmark that other clubs have to strive for.

This is seen not just in their blend of explosive power and skilful, direct running with the ball, but in their whole approach to big matches. Controlled, crushing and Alpha-Male dominant, but with just enough flair to make sure they always grab the headlines. Much like Jose Mourinho and his one-for-the-camera-boys slide in front of the massed team. Unless he was, in fact, just trolling Steven Gerrard after all.

Maybe Mourinho felt that it would be unseemly to celebrate the lesser of the English cups too vigorously, although he must have been relieved to end what has, by his own standards, been a trophy drought. Maybe it was just to send the message that he wants his team focused back on bigger challenges than Spurs. Maybe he just couldn't believe his luck that the gamble to play Kurt Zouma in midfield paid off and he had to share his feelings.

But whatever it was, by promptly getting on the phone, Mourinho managed nevertheless to dominate the celebrations even as his players cavorted and gambolled around him.

Slinking off oh-so-casually to make a phone call to his wife was classic Mourinho. It said at once that he expected to win the game, that this was nice but it was no big deal, and that he was already getting ready for the next challenge. Maybe he is on an earner from a mobile phone company. Or perhaps Mrs Mourinho was not near a TV, who knows.

The traditional role of the manager at cup celebrations was to look pleased but slightly alarmed by the boisterousness of the young men in his charge. One of the great appeals of Mourinho - much as it was with another brilliantly charismatic visionary whose worldview was warped by control-freakery, 1997 Tony Blair - is that he looks young, relatable, part of the same generation as those he is leading. Not for Mourinho the standing off to one side in a polyester suit and getting sprayed with Asti Spumanti by the young bucks. Even in victory he still gives the impression that he is in perfect control of everything.

Jose Mourinho managed to dominate the celebrations even as his players cavorted and gambolled around him

He said that Nemanja Matic had given the team talk before the match, and no doubt the suspended midfielder was given dispensation to appear in his full kit for the presentation ceremony. To anyone with a traditional bone in their body, this seems like the most outrageous modern "look at me" self-indulgence. Perhaps the most appealing quality of Matić as a player has been his iron determination to do the dirty work for the team. To see him dressed up in his Chelsea strip like a common or garden John Terry was most disappointing. But this Chelsea side are writing the rules as they go along.

In the same way, the idea that they would celebrate for "20 minutes" is somehow very Chelsea. Even for all their success they have ever been a joyless proposition. Perhaps it's the money or the lack of history, but the idea of them all squeezing in a quick celebration before getting back to work is both admirable and typically soulless.

And, of course, even in the moment of triumph, Mourinho couldn't resist a little go on the violin.

"For me, the pain was to see a player play yesterday [Ashley Barnes, for Burnley] and Matic not playing today," he said.

You'd say give it a rest, but he - and Chelsea - never will. On the upside, Diego Costa did manage to get through his handshake without stamping on a dignitary. Onwards they march.

The suspended Nemanja Matic did a 'John Terry' by posing with the trophy in his full kit © Getty Images
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