Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech has revealed that Arsene Wenger does not bring the “win at all costs” mentality to the dressing room that Jose Mourinho made central at Chelsea.
The Czech keeper enjoyed a superb season under Mourinho after arriving at Chelsea in 2004, setting a new Premier League record of 1,025 minutes without letting in a goal as the Portuguese’s side romped to their first Premier League title. He had another medal around his neck a year later and went on to establish himself as one of the club’s finest goalkeepers before eventually departing for Arsenal 2015.
And he has not, funnily enough, enjoyed the same success at the Emirates. Arsenal have endured a torrid transfer window and a miserable start to their 2016/17 Premier League campaign, suffering galling defeats to Stoke and Liverpool that leaves them in 16th spot. The renewed life engendered by their FA Cup win in May has completely dissolved and the civil war within their fanbase is worse than ever. This is a team lacking fight, ruthlessness, or even an impetus to get the best out of each-other, giving way instead to an aura of mediocrity and unjustified arrogance over their obsolete playing style.
Mourinho, meanwhile, has sent a powerful message to the rest of the division over the last few weeks. He is constructing a side comprising of serial winners, packed with muscle, height and speed, and there is a clear plan – a real sense of direction – that everybody believes in. Confidence is seeping from the 54-year-old’s veins and permeating his side, whereas Wenger, just three weeks in, looks like a broken man.
And Cech, in a recent interview, couldn’t help but solemnly contrast the fighting spirit of Mourinho – that all or nothing approach to winning – with the sordid nature of the Arsenal camp at this given time.
“When he [Mourinho] arrived at Chelsea from Porto, he brought with him one main thing: he came from a club where it was not acceptable to him to finish second in the championship,” he said. “He brought the same spirit to Chelsea. He thinks only about victory, whatever the price.”
“He hates draws. If we returned to the dressing room with a draw, we knew he would not be satisfied. On the other hand, he also wanted be able to keep a 1-0 or beat a team 5-0 if possible. No matter how, Mourinho wants the result.
“The philosophy at Arsenal is completely opposed to this: it is not win at all costs but we want to win in a certain way. This approach is beginning to change.”