Rumours of a Chelsea return for Jose Mourinho were given additional kindling, Wednesday, when Blues chairman Bruce Buck revealed he was “open-minded” to the idea of a second spell at Stamford Bridge for the Portuguese manager.
“We’re all thinking about it and have some ideas, and certainly [Chelsea owner Roman] Abramovich is thinking about it,” he told reporters when asked about the coaching change that will take place when Rafael Benitez leaves the club next month. (Independent)
Mourinho, for his part, hasn’t talked specifically about his future plans, but in a press conference following his Real Madrid side’s Champions League match against Galatasaray on Tuesday admitted he would speak with club president Florentio Perez about the matter at the end of the season.
“We’ll sit down quietly and talk about my future like two friends,” he said. (BBC)
A Mourinho comeback has long been anticipated by a section of the Chelsea support, and the comments from both he and Buck this week will have no doubt only fuelled that speculation.
But what would his return mean—not only for the club, but also for the media and for himself?
The following slides will examine five reasons why Mourinho 2.0 would make sense for all parties—the only exceptions being his Premier League opponents.
From 2004 until his sudden departure in 2007, Chelsea went unbeaten at home in the Premier League.
Stamford Bridge was a virtual fortress, and teams often arrived there with as much respect for—or even fear of—their hosts as is typically only reserved for Manchester United at Old Trafford.
But times have changed. This season, for example, Chelsea have already dropped points on six occasions at Stamford Bridge, and last term they lost four matches at home. Everton were the only side in the Top Nine with a poorer record at their own ground.
Mourinho would rebuild the fortress walls at Walham Green, and the additional points from home matches would only serve to boost Chelsea’s position in the table.
Mourinho has never missed an opportunity to praise both English lifestyle and English football.
At a League Managers Association coaching conference in London in January, he told reporters his memories of English football “could not be better.”
“In England you feel the real passion for the game,” he said. “You also don’t feel what we feel in almost every other country, which is the passion for clubs. In England, it’s not just about passion for clubs, it’s mainly about passion for football – and you feel it.” (Telegraph)
The 50-year-old and his wife still have a house in London, and their daughter studies in the city. And after watching a Russia Brazil friendly at Stamford Bridge last month, he strongly hinted that a Chelsea return was in the cards.
“Chelsea is in my heart,” he said. “One day I have to be back.” (The Sun)
The English media adore Mourinho, and it’s not hard to see why.
While at Chelsea, he seemed to deliver a quote per minute—his press conferences took on a sense of occasion that sometimes overshadowed the actual game.
And he made them adore him from his very first meeting with them, when he dropped this beauty: “Please don’t call me arrogant, but I’m European champion and I think I’m a special one.” (Goal)
Perhaps only Mourinho can deconstruct what he, himself, built.
The team that won the Champions League last season—with Cech, Terry, Lampard and Drogba as its core—was largely put together by Mourinho, and the club will struggle to move on into the future until it is able to replace that core with something younger.
Andre Villas-Boas tried to do just that during his brief spell at Chelsea, and it ended up costing him his job. He simply didn’t have the respect of a player like Lampard, whom he benched repeatedly as he planned for the future. And there are stories of Terry, the captain, arriving at Cobham exactly a minute late so as to intentionally exasperate the young manager.
Lampard is out of contract after next month, and Terry has outlived his usefulness. It might just be that Mourinho is the only voice the pair of them will mind at this crucial juncture in the club’s history.
With David Luiz, Ramires, Juan Mata, Oscar and Eden Hazard already at the club, Chelsea’s future is bright—so long as they stay the course and let their new generation develop together.
Mourinho would be the ideal manager to guide them.
Fiercely loyal, he would quickly determine which players were part of his plans and which were not, and he’d proceed with the former group—including those he brought into the club—for the duration of his tenure. He’d also coax the sort of performances reserved for those coaches truly loved and respected by their players.
Put it all together and it’s easy to see why Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson cited Mourinho’s possible Chelsea return as his side’s “big challenge” going into next season. (Telegraph)