In the following imagined scenario, Nanu Emannuel Ugwu takes us into the mind of Chelsea’s controversial Director of Football, Michael Emenalo ahead of his club’s massive game against Mourinho’s Manchester United. Follow Nanu on Twitter @Nanu759.
Stamford Bridge, London
The Chelsea scouts returned late from Manchester after the Europa League tie between United and Fenerbache. The general report coming from them was a positive one; United had met easy opposition and not much had gone on during the game.
Emenalo’s worries deepened.
He’d fallen out professionally with Mourinho and in the minds of the Chelsea faithful, personally as well. Any result other than a Chelsea win would be a near death knell to his Stamford Bridge career and he knew it. Conte’s perceived indifference to the magnitude of the game also worried him and he attended training on Friday morning to check on the players. These bastards, he thought. None of them seemed to take the upcoming occasion as seriously as he had thought. Weren’t these the same people who’d come to him with their grievances? What was he supposed to do as Director of Football? He mused around from a distance trying not to be seen. He wasn’t alone.
The fitness coach Bertelli had also decided to stake out the early morning session to run the line over players he felt might be disguising injuries. He noticed Emenalo’s actions but chose not to alert him nor Conte himself. He rather understood Emenalo and only worried about the DoF’s pre-game report to the hierarchy. Emenalo would usually pass his judgements for home games a few hours before kick-off, after the preliminary team selection. Any attitude concerns would also be ticked off.
Emenalo’s thoughts moved from the playing session in front of him to the expected reception of the crowd towards Mourinho on Sunday. In an ideal world, he hoped there would be no negative incidents (he was not a petty individual) but still hoped that a clear Chelsea victory would assuage the pressure he was under as well as give his decision makers some breathing space.
We’ve got to win on Sunday… We’ve got to win on Sunday…
This was no ordinary game he felt, it was a huge chance to make a distinctive statement against Mourinho and his toxic band and he couldn’t understand how nobody else saw it that way.
Maybe they did, but unlike him they were just less eager to show it.