Jose Mourinho Will Restore Unity at Chelsea and Have United and City Worried

Will Tidey@willtideySenior Manager, GlobalJune 3, 2013

Three groups of people will be invigorated by Jose Mourinho's return to Chelsea—the club's fans, their players and the English media who gorged on the Special One so gluttonously when he was last at work on their island.

Chelsea fans adore him. He was the manager who converted Roman Abramovich's millions into trophies, gave them a new identity and put their club back in the big time. His passion was transparent, his cocksure swagger undeniable.

With Mourinho in 2004 came a new belief at Stamford Bridge. You might liken it to the arrival of Eric Cantona at Manchester United in 1992 in that sense—an injection of X-factor that inspired a collection of talented people to their natural conclusion.

Back then Mourinho was a precocious 41-year-old on the steepest of trajectories. We knew him for his dance down the touchline at Old Trafford and for taking an unheralded Porto team to Champions League glory. 

His mutual admiration society with Sir Alex Ferguson would form later. For now he was too busy revelling in his success. When Ferguson complained the referee should have sent Porto's goalkeeper off after the first leg of their European tie, Mourinho couldn't resist.

"I understand why he is a bit emotional," he said, per BBC Sport. "You would be sad if your team gets as clearly dominated by opponents who have been built on 10 percent of the budget."

Bravo, the young pretender floors the master and would do so again. His Porto team knocked United out of Europe in 2004; his Chelsea team beat them to the title in the two seasons that followed; his Madrid team prevailed just a matter of months ago. Many others were found wanting, but Ferguson held no fear for Mourinho.

Nothing held fear for Mourinho. From the moment he took his first press conference at Chelsea to the moment he walked away, he was a larger-than-life presence who took the attention away from his players and put it on him.

"I don't want to sound arrogant, but I think I am a special manager because I have won the Champions League," he said famously on the day of his unveiling in 2004.

Some of Mourinho's posturing was for his own benefit, but much of it was delivered by design. He used journalists to send messages and shelter his players from the media glare. The English press had never known anything like him and haven't seen his like since.

They lapped him up and will be revelling in the news he's back. 

Chelsea's main title rivals, Manchester United and City, will be less enamoured with his return. Both will have new managers for the 2013-14 campaign—David Moyes at United and Manuel Pellegrini at City. Neither has won a domestic league title in Europe, let alone a Champions League.

Mourinho has won seven titles in four countries and twice been king of Europe. He might have butted heads at Real Madrid and failed to bring home the "decima" (10th European title), but his record of consistent success is without equal among active coaches at the highest level.

We should forget the idea of Mourinho building a dynasty and trying to replicate what Ferguson achieved at United. His fiery nature and the short-term thinking of Abramovich make that a virtual impossibility. He's back in London to shake things up, win things and say goodbye. Anything more than two seasons would be a surprise.

That doesn't mean it's a bad appointment. Chelsea won a Champions League in May having changed their manager in March, don't forget. There are teams who win things by virtue of a patient approach, like Barcelona and Bayern Munich in recent times, and those who do so in rapid elevation mode, as Chelsea and Manchester City did last year and PSG have this.

If you already have a foundation, it's easy to build on it. If you don't, you need to take alternative measures. That's not to say those clubs aren't also trying to build for the future, with City being a great example of a club who are investing heavily in youth development to hopefully reap the benefit in years to come.

Mourinho's volatility and his outspoken nature ruled him out of the Manchester United job. The same attributes have been proved to work at Chelsea before and may well do so again. He'll bring the fans together and the very best out of the players he has there.

There are exceptions (Iker Casillas being the most notable of late), but a lot of players have a lot of good things to say about Mourinho. Like Ferguson, he has the ability to draw the very best from a wide range of personality types. People want to play for him.

Said Frank Lampard of Mourinho's mooted return recently, as per the Mirror:

Jose has a presence, an aura, and a way with people. He galvanises people and his own self-confidence reflects back on his teams. 

He did that to me personally. Tactically he is fantastic, very astute. As a team he sets you up brilliantly. But what he does better than anyone is get the best out of players.

I had never known anything like that until he came to the club—and I’ve never seen it since then.

How Chelsea could have used some of Mourinho's authority during the Andre Villas-Boas reign, where senior players seemingly undermined their young coach and held the power in the dressing room. The likes of Lampard, John Terry and Ashley Cole carry a lot of power at Stamford Bridge, and their manager needs to be somebody who can stand above them.

Mourinho can be that man. There'll be controversies and confrontations along the way, but Chelsea can look forward to far greater unity in the stands and in the dressing room with the return of their biggest personality.

If you had to back Moyes, Pellegrini or Mourinho to be holding the Premier League trophy come May 2014, there's a compelling argument to be had for the Special One making his second coming a glorious one.

Whatever happens, the Premier League is lucky to have him back.


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