Just who is giving Jose Mourinho communications advice at the moment? Given the Chelsea manager's rumoured stubbornness probably no one, but he would perhaps do well to talk to his club's PR manager to put an end to the media debacle surrounding Chelsea at the moment.
While the self-titled Special One has always courted media attention and controversy, this has typically been on his own terms. A strategically timed jibe at a fellow manager or player to win the mind games ahead of the next important fixture. This latest furore has been quite the opposite.
Chelsea's performances on the pitch have brought Mourinho's tenure firmly into the spotlight, but rather than be firm and grasp the nettle, his response has been at best defensive and at worst, nothing at all.
And what’s interesting is that it's been the lack of comment that has moved Chelsea from the back pages to the front. Saying nothing has increased the profile, not reduced it.
With no sensible message coming from the club, media commentators have naturally turned to other sources. Pundits, ex-players or the mysterious "senior sources close to the club" are now the ones leading the debate.
The club has lost control of the message – it’s no longer part of the conversation at a time when it should be at the vanguard. This has added to the intrigue and increased the news value.
Given our world of high media and consumer expectation it's a powerful reminder of why in times of crisis saying nothing is not an option. Businesses that do not have a comment and retreat from the spotlight are quickly mistrusted by consumers. They are then often forced into a position where they have to defend the brand when they could have enhanced it with a positive and pro-active response.
And so it was perhaps no surprise to see a very stage-managed press conference ahead of Chelsea’s fixture with Dynamo Kiev this week as they sought to reclaim the initiative. Captain John Terry publically praised his manager and declared allegiance while dismissing the pundits’ views as nonsense. It got the headlines, but only served to underline just how much the club were on the back foot.
The 2-1 win for Chelsea in that fixture might have relieved some pressure on the pitch (although the weekend’s defeat in the Potteries soon changed that), but in messaging terms, they’re still in relegation form and need to climb the table quickly.
Greg Phillimore, associate director