It’s the post match interviews at St Mary’s and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is not happy. Referee Anthony Taylor has not only denied Cesc Fabregas a penalty, but then booked the Spaniard for diving.
Mourinho claims that the media, rival managers, coaches and referees are waging a campaign against his team. A campaign based on the notion that his team are prone to diving.
It’s textbook Mourinho. Playing one of his favourite cards. It’s the Us v Them strategy!
Whether there is or isn’t a campaign against Chelsea is irrelevant. But for Mourinho it’s the perfect vehicle to create a story for his team. A story that tells them they are being wronged against. That there are forces out there, that do not want them to succeed.
These forces constitute The Them. The enemy. And the more powerful The Them are portrayed as, the stronger The US need to become. The Us is the group. And when there is a Them, the Us have to become closer together…more united…more focused in defeating this enemy.
With the season at the half way stage and his players feeling the effects of two Christmas matches, it’s the perfect time for the US v The Them strategy. It reinvigorates focus and keeps everyone on their toes. For in a strong Us, no one wants to display signs of weakness that allows The Them to succeed.
It’s a leadership devise that Mourinho has drawn on many times. Timing is important. The US v Them needs to be used sparingly for maximum effect. Otherwise you simply come across as scared and paranoid.
Mourinho is so adept at the strategy that you can almost imagine him encouraging his players to dive, knowing the reaction it will cause. And thus calculating to use that reaction to create a false enemy!
Because of the loyalty Mourinho creates, you can be sure that ‘The Campaign’ will have a psychological effect on his group. They will not want to let each other down. But most importantly, they will not want to let their leader down. For in Jose Mourinho’s world, if you are not one of Us, then you must be part of The Them. And no player dare cross that line!