Chelsea Manager Jose Mourinho Making All the Right Moves Ahead of New Season

Garry Hayes@@garryhayesFeatured ColumnistJuly 23, 2014

HIGH WYCOMBE, ENGLAND - JULY 16:  Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho looks on ahead of the pre season friendly match between Wycombe Wanderers and Chelsea at Adams Park on July 16, 2014 in High Wycombe, England.  (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)
Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

He's been in the job less than a fortnight, but Louis van Gaal is already lamenting some aspects of being Manchester United manager, notably the club's pre-season schedule.

Despite this summer's World Cup, where United were well represented by the likes of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, the team is currently on a grueling tour of the U.S.

Their travels will see them take in California, Washington, D.C., Michigan and potentially Florida if they qualify for the final of the Guinness International Champions Cup.

It's a trip that could see them travel over 13,500 miles.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JULY 17:  Louis van Gaal appears at a press conference as he is unveiled as the new Manchester United manager at Old Trafford on July 17, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

"You have to travel distances, you have to fly a lot, you also have jet lag—that is not very positive for a good preparation," said Van Gaal this week, per BBC Sport's Simon Stone.

Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur are also Stateside for similar pre-season tours.

Meanwhile, back in Europe, in the idyllic setting of Velden, a town that sits in the shadow of the Austrian Alps, Chelsea's preparations ahead of 2014/15 continue with relative calm.

Those players who have been back for two weeks are looking fitter, while the new signings and some World Cup stars have joined up with their team-mates.

Indeed, this summer has the look of being an encouraging one for Chelsea.

Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

Now that Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and Filipe Luis have all joined the Blues, Jose Mourinho insists the club's transfer dealings are over.

There may be some players leaving, but he has signed those he wants.

"I have to say my club did a fantastic job, and not just because of what we bought, but because we did it in almost record time," he said at the weekend, as per Sky Sports. "The transfer market closes 31 August and we close our market on July 19. We finished the market today."

The Chelsea Mourinho inherited upon his return last summer was one reeling from years of tinkering and considerable manager turnover that resulted in a loss of balance.

Attacking midfield was overloaded, there was a lack of solid options upfront, and defensive midfield was a major concern.

Now, 12 months on, it's a different situation altogether. From a squad of players, Mourinho now has a team—his team.

First-team assistant manager Steve Holland
First-team assistant manager Steve HollandBen Hoskins/Getty Images

And while Chelsea's rivals are busy checking in at airports across America, Mourinho is on the training ground drilling his players twice daily, getting them fit and au fait with his methods that will define the forthcoming campaign.

Not only that, the Blues manager has used the opening games of pre-season to integrate his youngsters with his first team.

Sure, the World Cup meant there was an element of him being forced to do so, yet Mourinho has managed the situation well, including the likes of Dominic Solanke and Jay Dasilva—players who are yet to receive their GCSE results.

They will be better for the experience, playing 45 minutes in each of the two games, while Izzy Brown, Patrick Bamford and Lewis Baker have also been given a confidence boost on the back of their performances against Wycombe Wanderers and AFC Wimbledon.

HIGH WYCOMBE, ENGLAND - JULY 16:  Izzy Brown of Chelsea celebrates scoring a goal duing the pre season friendly match between Wycombe Wanderers and Chelsea at Adams Park on July 16, 2014 in High Wycombe, England.  (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)
Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

Mourinho's making smart moves.

In the modern era, the need for clubs to exploit commercial opportunities is paramount. Lucrative tours not only enable them to sign marquee talent but assist in dodging UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules.

Pre-season has become a cash cow that needs to be nurtured, bringing in vital finances at a time when the cash registers all but stop rolling and matchday revenue ceases.

Chelsea seem to be playing the long game these days, however.

For much of last season, Mourinho was often heard discussing the years ahead, the need to nurture his team now as a little horse to help it become a rampaging stallion in the future.

We're seeing that process in action now.

HIGH WYCOMBE, ENGLAND - JULY 16:  Chelsea assistant manager Steve Holland looks on ahead of the pre season friendly match between Wycombe Wanderers and Chelsea at Adams Park on July 16, 2014 in High Wycombe, England.  (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)
Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

The club's board want to increase revenue, yet they equally understand the need for Chelsea to return to the top of the pile in the Premier League.

2010 was the last time Chelsea were crowned Premier League champions. Having missed out last term, it's the longest period in Roman Abramovich's reign that the Blues haven't been England's finest. It needs to change.

Jet-setting across the globe isn't going to help Mourinho build a squad capable of winning major honours. Despite the financial benefits and glamorous appeal that may bring, the fundamentals remain the same: Train hard, get your tactics right and success will be much easier to come by.

Mourinho's applying those principles, and Chelsea are looking much stronger for it.


Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @garryhayes