Chelsea: 5 Positives Fans Can Take from Jose Mourinho's First Press Conference
In fact, it happened about 10 minutes later than scheduled, while fans around the globe headbutted their keyboards over the constantly buffering live stream. For those of you who gave up on watching it, a full report can be read on the Daily Mail website.
Whilst there were no references to himself as a "Special One" or guarantees of trophies, Mourinho appeared calm and easily nine years more mature than he had on the same occasion in 2004.
The big questions were brushed aside, but there were still plenty of soundbites for Blues' fans to pore over. Here are five quotes that hint at a positive future for Mourinho and Chelsea.
All quotes sourced from full press conference transcript via the Daily Mail.
He Is "The Happy One"
Predictably, the opening question of the conference was whether Jose still sees himself as "The Special One." His response was succinct as he quipped "I'm the happy one." However, it looks likely that he will be able to fill both of those personas, as he went on to say "I have the same nature. I'm the same person. I have the same heart and the same kind of emotions related to my passion for football and my job. But I’m of course a different person. In this moment, if I have to describe myself, I describe myself as a very happy person."
His managerial record since leaving Chelsea in 2007 speaks for itself as to whether he is still a top coach. Winning the treble with Inter Milan for the first time ever in Italy, before setting a new La Liga goals and points record as Real Madrid broke Barcelona's dominance, show that he still has what it takes.
Whilst the last few months of his time at Real Madrid were filled with controversy and bitterness, it is a happier, more poised Mourinho who has returned to the club he calls home.
He Is in It for the Long-Haul
Stability and long-term thinking are two elements that have been seriously lacking in Chelsea's managerial appointments. However, it seems like the especially happy one might be ready to change all of that.
When asked to elaborate on this topic, he stated that "I have a contract for four years. I hope to go the last day of that contract. If the club then wants me to stay, I'll be more than happy." At this point, you can do a little dance of joy if you like. Better? Good.
While any suggestion of stability at Stamford Bridge has been met, until now quite rightly, with derisive snorts followed by full-scale hysterical laughter, this time it's different. Here is a manager who knows that he is loved by the fans. Roman Abramovich has a decade of decisions to reflect on, and he has evidently decided that letting Jose go was a bad move.
Now, both men are ready to settle down. The youth-centred transfer policy of the past two summers has revealed itself to be a stroke of genius, as Mourinho inherits a squad of unbelievably talented footballers whom he could spend years developing to fit the mould of the club.
This could be the beginning of Chelsea's "Fergie time." You can quote me on that.
He Won't Rest on His Laurels
The "haters gonna hate" brigade have been suggesting that Mourinho has returned to Chelsea because he knows it will be easy. However, when faced with the press, he was quick to emphasise that this is not the case at all.
"I’m very calm, very relaxed, but at the same time there’s something I want very clear: I didn’t choose for my career a comfortable position because I’m returning to a house where I was happy and successful and where the fans love me. No. I’m coming with exactly the opposite perspective. I have more responsibility because of that. The expectations are higher because people know what I can deliver."
Of course, this is all true. If he had been offered the Manchester United job, and failed to deliver a trophy, it would have been easy to blame the lingering shadow of Sir Alex Ferguson. At Chelsea however, even the fans who are still jumping for joy at the return of their prodigal son will expect a trophy or two within a short time-frame.
This pressure, though gently applied, will act as a great motivator should the road get bumpy along the way.
There Will Not Be a Complete Overhaul of the Squad
When questioned on the strength and depth of his squad, Mourinho replied, "I'll only know them when I meet them and work with them. That's the first part of the job. It's not to arrive here and say: “Mr Abramovich, members of the board, I need some money with a lot of zeros, I need to change half the team, move this one and buy this one.” We have 60 players because there are 20 new buys in the media already." Having already said, "We have ambitions to add a couple of new players to improve the squad, increase the competitiveness, but my biggest job at the moment is the round improvement of the boys. Big potential."
It is easy to infer from that that the rumours about David Luiz and Juan Mata leaving are the products of over-active imaginations. Although, he did go on to say "I think it's fair that the players are the first ones to know about their future, and to know about their future by their manager, by their club and not by the media."
We'll know for sure once pre-season training begins in July, but it looks like the fan favourites are safe, for now.
He Loves You
There has been plenty of negative press about Chelsea supporters recently. The reaction to the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo and the appointment of Rafa Benitez as his replacement was misunderstood by those outside of the club. Many felt that the vitriol directed at Benitez would deter any other manager from taking over at the end of last season. However, as we have established, Mourinho is more than another manager. He gets it.
"I know this club has a special fan base. We are a special club exactly because people never forget the professionals that gave the maximum for this club in the past. I want to be respected for what I did in the past for this club, but I want to be loved for what I can do from now."
Now is the moment that the supporters have been waiting for. Since 2007, Mourinho's name has rung out across Stamford Bridge as a rallying cry, and a semi-polite request to Roman Abramovich. Now their wish has been granted, and this is only the beginning.