What Jose Mourinho Would Do Differently Second Time Round at Chelsea
He may be arrogant, controversial and at times, over-confident. This is the self-proclaimed 'Special One' after all. And yet, nobody can really deny that Jose Mourinho's description of himself, as egotistic as it may be, is one hundred percent true.
His spell at Real Madrid started so well, with Mourinho challenging Pep Guardiola right to the wire in his first season. He then put his stamp on the team in his second season and Real Madrid looked unstoppable as they stormed to the La Liga title for the first time since 2008.
This campaign has been a stark contrast to the previous two, however, with the media reporting several bust-ups with players such as Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos, while star forward Cristiano Ronaldo has hinted at a premature exit from the Santiago Bernabeu after becoming unsettled. (Goal.com)
After the early drama, it seems Mourinho has managed to finally steady the ship as the champions seek to overturn a massive gap of 18 points between themselves and fierce rivals Barcelona.
Despite their return to form, it's unlikely to stop Mourinho from leaving, and he has made no secret of his desire to return 'home', which to the 50-year-old is England. But could he really return to Chelsea and finally win the Champions League?
Of course he can. After all, this is the man who secured the club's first top-flight domestic title in 50 years in 2005, and won a further six trophies in his three years as Chelsea coach.
Despite his best attempts, he never got close to winning the highly-coveted Champions League.
Former interim manager Roberto Di Matteo did though, and perhaps this is one of many explanations as to why Mourinho could seek a return in the summer; because he fears his legacy has been ruined by the Italian's shock success last season.
The rapport he built up with the Chelsea players was something never seen at the West London club; Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard and John Terry are known to be close to Mourinho—even six years after his departure from Stamford Bridge.
This is somewhat similar to the relationship Sir Alex Ferguson has with his players at Manchester United; an everlasting respect and acknowledgement of who is boss when it matters.
But with Drogba now at Galatasaray, Lampard's future uncertain and Terry struggling to stay out of the limelight, it would appear that should Mourinho return for a second spell as Blues boss, he would have a massive task on his hands to revitalize the 'spine' of the Chelsea squad.
That spine consisted of Petr Cech in goal, Terry in central defence, Lampard as the advanced midfielder and Drogba as the main striker. With half of the 'untouchables' no longer at his disposal, Mourinho would need to put his faith in David Luiz and Juan Mata, two players he has never worked with before, to be at the forefront of any Chelsea revival.
It was a clear point that when Mourinho was in charge at Chelsea between 2004 and 2007, the youth academy suffered. The Portuguese coach wanted to bring in world-class players, with Michael Ballack, Andriy Shevchenko and Ricardo Carvalho just a few in a line of stars who played in a Chelsea shirt.
But it's a whole different strategy with Chelsea now; the young stars of the next generation, consisting of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Victor Moses, are key to Chelsea's future success. The fear could be that Mourinho would be unwilling to give them the opportunity they need to develop as footballers.
However, if you look to see how Mourinho has allowed young French defender Raphael Varane and promising striker Alvaro Morata to impress in both cup and domestic games, it shows a clear indication that Mourinho is willing to alter his strategy after all, and to devastating effect too.
Varane put in a man of the match performance against Barcelona, including scoring a goal, while Morata has shown promise for both the senior side and reserve team Castilla this season.
Perhaps Mourinho is a bit more wiser now than he was back in September 2007 when his side could only draw 1-1 with lowly Rosenborg in the Champions League. His tactical awareness and confidence to make bold decisions, on the other hand, still remain the same.
With his side 1-0 down at half-time to Granada last weekend, Mourinho hauled off both Gonzalo Higuain and Sami Khedira at half-time, throwing on two attackers in the form of Karim Benzema and Jose Callejon in a bid to grab an equalizer and possibly a winner.
The move proved fruitless in the end, with Real Madrid failing to score. Nevertheless, the decision highlighted his ability to identify the weakness in the team and rectify the problem.
Realistically, there isn't a lot Mourinho would do differently. Rather than sign a couple of 31-year-olds for £30 million each, he could invest in the young stars of the future. And instead of annoying owner Roman Abramovich by refusing to play his favorite star Fernando Torres, he could just simply play him at center half.
With all jokes aside, Mourinho could well return this summer, and England must be prepared.Because when he comes back, he'll be even better this time round. He's learnt from his mistake; he never should have left.
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