Welcome back, Jose Mourinho.
The Premier League has certainly missed you, at least in certain circles, and not least of all the Chelsea fans that were so hard done by under Rafa Benitez where they had to make do with Champions League qualification and only the Europa League trophy for their efforts.
The whirlwind that is Mourinho didn’t waste any time in using the opportunity the dewy-eyed press had given him to declare that he was the all-conquering soccer messiah and savior of Chelsea FC, who’d come to return them to prominence and wrestle the title back from Manchester United.
Hang on a minute.
That’s perhaps a bit too bold a statement coming from a man who, in his first time round, needed £200 million of Roman Abramovich‘s money in order to break the monopoly of Manchester United and Arsenal and effectively buy the title.
Mourinho’s tenure at Inter Milan, while immensely successful, was dogged by claims of childishness on his part due to several high-profile spats he started with opposing managers. The Portuguese manager also went on to attack the Italian media after they made reference to a suspect penalty his Inter received, accusing them of “intellectual prostitution” and attempting to manipulate public opinion. It would seem the Special One was rather prone to the occasional tantrum when things didn’t go his way.
The much-vaunted move to Real Madrid followed, and it was there where the cracks really started to appear in Mourinho’s self-proclaimed motivational philosophy. He fell out with senior squad members Sergio Ramos and Iker Casillas, and went about systematically trying to impose his ideals on a team that was already operating a “Galacticos” policy. Florentino Perez buys the players at Madrid, and no one else. Mourinho was just like every other manager under Perez’s reign, an unwitting pawn.
Mourinho was unable to influence transfer policy and unable to control an increasingly volatile dressing room, which culminated in his falling out with star player Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese live-wire was ultimately held responsible for the Champions League failures, as he failed to progress beyond the semi-finals of the competition, and began to concoct his exit strategy.
Enter Chelsea, stage left.
Abramovich has gone through managers faster than George Best went through livers, even firing the Special One himself during his last spell at Chelsea. The Russian megalomaniac had no choice but to turn to Mourinho again to achieve the short-term success he so covets.
What you have here now at Stamford Bridge is a powder keg waiting to explode. An owner with zero patience and a manager who isolates the dressing room is a recipe for disaster and will inevitably end in tears.
What amazes me most isn’t that Mourinho has returned to Chelsea. I’m not surprised about that really. I’m amazed that he expects to instantly reclaim the Premier League title in his first season. Mourinho has been locked in a battle for three years with one other team vying for the honors. Perhaps that’s a little unfair on Atletico Madrid, but it’s not a stretch to say Madrid only really had one other team to compete against in La Liga.
Not only does Mourinho have to win a European trophy to equal Benitez’s reign, he has also made a gargantuan rod for his own back now by proclaiming he will win the title immediately in a much tougher league. No doubt the reds and blues of Manchester will certainly have something to say about that, along with most of North London and half of Merseyside.
Welcome back, Jose.