Chelsea 2 Swansea 2 reaction: Jose Mourinho and Blues paying the price for delaying the start of pre-season preparations

Chelsea game back later than any other Premier League team

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The Independent Online

One of the reasons why Jose Mourinho is regarded by many as the best manager in the League is because of his attention to detail and meticulous planning.

That is why his decision to take such a massive gamble over delaying Chelsea's pre-season preparations was so surprising and the team are certainly paying a price for it now.

Chelsea were the last team in the top flight to return to training in mid-July and they have been trying to play catch-up ever since.

Mourinho's explanation was that after a long campaign last term, the Chelsea squad needed a longer rest and that it would pay dividends later in the campaign.

However, there have been many warning signs during their measly five warm-up games - they played 10 at the same stage a year ago - this summer that the champions were not ready to start their title defence.

Swansea clearly thought so as they came to Stamford Bridge willing to attack their sluggish opponents at every opportunity.

It should be remembered that Chelsea ended last term not only top of the table, but with the best defensive record to boot.

Here though, the back four played like a bunch of strangers - which is what they have looked like over the previous few weeks.

Conceding four times against a second string New York Red Bulls outfit on 22 July served as a warning sign of things to come.

The normally stingy Blues have not kept a clean sheet since and if Swansea had been a bit more clinical in front of goal, they would have left with all three points.

Of all those on show, no-one looks more rusty than Branislav Ivanovic. He was exposed time and time again on the right flank with Jefferson Montero doing most of the damage.

After Oscar put the hosts in front from a free kick, Swansea's equaliser in the 29th minute came from Montero waltzing past Ivanovic with ease to cross for Bafetembi Gomis.

The latter's header was brilliantly saved by Thibaut Courtois, but Andre Ayew scored from the rebound at the second attempt.

A Federico Fernandez own goal shortly afterwards undeservedly put Mourinho's men back in front.

Yet a more telling indication of the way the game was going came during a break of play before half-time after Ki Sung-Yueng picked up an injury.

Captain John Terry, Gary Cahill, Cesc Fabregas and Ivanovic all got together to have a rather intense debate over what was going wrong.

It clearly didn't work because Swansea continued to cause pandemonium after the break and deservedly levelled in the 55th minute courtesy of Gomis from the penalty spot.

This time it was Willian at fault, caught napping as Jonjo Shelvey sent a ball over the top and Gomis was played onside.

Courtois was sent off after bringing the striker down in the area, although it did look like he was going away from goal with Cahill back there to cover. Referee Michael Oliver an instant candidate to go into Mourinho's bad books then.

But for Asmir Begovic, signed from Stoke to replace Petr Cech, making some fine stops, Chelsea would have suffered a shock home defeat.

Things won't get any easier from here either. Next up is Manchester City away, minus the suspended Courtois.

One of the oldest cliches in the book is 'fail to prepare, prepare to fail'. Unbelievably Mourinho of all people is guilty of doing just that.

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