It was rapper Eminem who asked for the "Real Slim Shady to please stand up," a tongue-in-cheek reference to the many impersonators that followed his rise to fame on the late 1990s hip-hop scene.
Chelsea fans must be asking the same of Jose Mourinho, as right now we've only seen a cheap imitation since his return to Stamford Bridge. And it’s proving tedious.
When the Portuguese was unveiled as Chelsea manager for a second time in June, his entrance was far less grand than his now famous “Special One” introduction from 2004.
“I’m the Happy One,” BBC Sport reported him as saying. “[…] Do I have a different personality? No, but for sure I have a different approach and perspective.”
That approach has seen him far less confrontational, replacing his frown with a smile when it comes to football’s authorities and his rivals.
Indeed, after the political turmoil that eventually sealed his fate after three years at Real Madrid, it was a wise move to portray himself as such, rolling out his new brand with a fresh start back in West London.
The Portuguese has attempted to appear more affable this year, but the media and football fans in general haven’t believed a word of it. We’ve waited for his true colours to be revealed and finally it seems that time may very well have arrived.
“You’re a Mickey Mouse player,” was his reported retort aimed at West Bromwich Albion’s Jonas Olsson following an altercation in the Stamford Bridge tunnel on Saturday, according to the Daily Mail.
It was the result of the Baggies feeling aggrieved at an apparent dive from Ramires in the fourth minute of stoppage time in a game they were leading 2-1. Eden Hazard eventually slotted home the subsequent penalty to rob the Baggies of three points.
Happy and with a different approach? Mourinho certainly wasn’t in the aftermath of Chelsea’s draw. And revelations of what was said in the tunnel only revealed his state of mind—something that was widely suspected following a post-match interview with Five Live (via The Mirror).
“I don't think it was a penalty, I know it was,” Mourinho declared with gusto. It was a response in stark contrast to what we have witnessed thus far in 2013-14. Had we not known any better, it could have been Jose circa 2004. Which can only be a good thing.
Behind the Mourinho bravado and thinly veiled arrogance, there is a fine manager. One of the world’s best, in fact, and certainly among the elite of his generation.
Part of the package where Mourinho is concerned, however, is that ability he possesses to rile and frustrate his opponents. He has long done it within the confines of the press room, while his teams have become famous for it on the pitch.
The only thing is, we haven’t seen enough of it at Stamford Bridge this year and it shows.
Mourinho’s Chelsea team has been too polite. His players have mirrored their manager, but we know lurking beneath it all is a ruthless carnivore waiting to get out.
It gives the impression of a club operating with the handbrake on, when Mourinho has always achieved success with his all-or-nothing approach.
Now’s the time for Mourinho to show us who he really is.
Release the beast, Jose, and perhaps your team will follow.
Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @garryhayes
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