Jose Mourinho: Last Stand in Madrid

Now, I wonder how many of us watched Jose Mourinho’s last match against Osasuna at the Bernabeu. Forget the media scrum and the circus around him when he came out from the tunnel into the dugout. Note the way the players were relating with him, even as it was clear it was his last game. Note the way Michael Essien dedicated his goal to him and Ricardo Carvalho’s comment about Mourinho’s commitment and work ethic. Note Alvaro Arbeloa’s comment about his regret that he’s going, because they would have achieved more, as they have improved under Mourinho in terms of competiveness – something Florentino Perez, club President was implying when he said Mourinho has restored them to their “rightful place”. Arbeloa who was falsely reported to have fallen out with the coach as well had tweeted earlier to salute Mourinho: “Many thanks for everything. It has been a pleasure”.

However, the most telling thing was the crowd’s response. Though there were a few whistles in the crowd, as is to be expected, the majority chanted his name. In Madrid, if you really want to know what the fans feel, no matter the politics, look at the ‘Ultra Sur’, the hardcore Madridistas. They are one of the most powerful and influential fan groups in the world and in Madrid, they tell you where the wind is blowing. Now did you guys see how they related with Mourinho? It’s worth stating that throughout the crisis, the Ultra Sur solidly supported Mourinho and on this day of Mourinho’s last game, they came out in full force to show their support and goodwill in a very ceremonial fashion. As Mourinho came out into the dugout, they chanted and sang his name to the tune of Frankie Valli’s ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’. They did this throughout the game. Midway through the second half, they unfurled a giant banner with the inscription: “Jose Mourinho thank you for fighting against the wind and the tide”. And no, it wasn’t the Ultra Sur alone that were chanting his name, even people in the expensive seats’ area were also doing so. In fact, one man there who kept joining the chants had a scarf which read: “Jose Mourinho, the best manager in the world”.

After most supporters had gone, the Ultra Sur remained singing and chanting his name and Mourinho had to return to salute them again. It is worth noting that the last coach the Ultra Sur did such for was Vicente del Bosque. So, is this the guy they’re reporting to be a persona non grata in Madrid? People can be as emotional and as dismissive of facts as they like, but there is politics and there is reality. True Madrid fans know what he has achieved while there and why he has to go. I have Madrid friends who fear that the culture of discipline and winning he is already succeeding in establishing there, despite the disgruntlement of a few and the uncooperative media, would just die now when he leaves and that Madrid may need up to a decade and another strong coach like him to change for the better. Some believe their recent return to dominance over Barcelona would not last as the architect is going. Still there are some others who believe his record of three straight semi-final qualifications for the Champions League which had erased their previous decade of mediocrity would also not be sustainable. Most of those I’m in touch with are not even dreaming of winning the league back next season, no matter who’s appointed to take over from here; yet a couple of months ago, they all were sure they would wrest it back from Barcelona with Mourinho in charge next season.

The truth is that true Real Madrid fans know it’s their loss. True, the lure of Chelsea is pulling him, but he could have shelved that for some other time if the Real Madrid board had showed more support for him than they did against disrupters and the press. Mourinho manages to leave a lesson for the men in suits in the boardroom wherever he goes. His lesson for the Chelsea big suits in 2007 is that you do not mend it when it’s not broken. But Abramovich, fresh on the scene and with too many hangers-on who want to prove important was talked into setting up a so-called continental management model where the manager’s power is reduced and shoved behind some other fellows who more or less were to be interfering in football affairs in one guise on the other on behalf of the owner. Mourinho left rather than be part of that charade. The result was that the diminution of manager’s power created a dressing room that became too powerful for subsequent managers and managerial instability became the order of the day. Though Chelsea won things, they did only in spite of this. Now, Abramovich has realised that he spent too much money on this big administrative machine pursuing glory and not having the peace of mind to pursue other things.

Meanwhile, Mourinho in moving on left him another lesson. Mourinho went to Inter Milan, one of those clubs with the kind of owners who are instinctive interferers. But Mourinho told Massimo Moratti point-blank that he would not come if he does not give up his interference and leave him to get on with the football. Moratti, against character, agreed. He claims this to be his best footballing decision. He left Mourinho alone as he tangled with the Italian press and the football establishment and delivered the treble in a dominant fashion, taking out every club that presented a threat at home and abroad. He did it with a team cobbled together from Real Madrid and Barcelona rejects, local boys and glorified journeymen. The message to Abramovich was that if he’d left him to do his thing, Chelsea would have been better. The message for Moratti was that not everyone can do it the Mourinho way. Moratti had hired Rafa Benitez to continue with the world-conquering team Mourinho had put in place, giving him the same free hand he gave Mourinho. Benitez destroyed and demoralised the team, endured a tense relationship with Moratti and in six months he was out. It would be interesting to see how the reverse works now with Mourinho returning to Chelsea after Benitez.

Anyway, the Madrid people knew they needed Mourinho. They had established a Galacticos culture that has spawned terrible indiscipline and a tattered dressing room. They knew that Mourinho’s records are built on strong discipline and a close-knit dressing room. They wanted someone to come sort out the Madrid mess. He came and went about his business without respect for reputations, but with fairness and honesty. Yet, rather than give him the backing needed, the Madrid suits began to scratch their heads and wring their hands. Meanwhile, here was Abramovich waiting all the while since he left Inter for him to return, with Chelsea fans waiting with open arms. It was only going to end one way. Mourinho is returning to an owner who has learnt his lesson and to a club he loves above all others. I predict he’s going to be at Chelsea for the long-term this time. His greatest legacy in club football will be created with Chelsea and we shall all witness these historical moments. Mourinho is made for these times and we are lucky to have him back.

Welcome home, The Special One!

There are 54 comments

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  1. Nick

    Blimey, Kenn. Where on earth have you been all this time? You’ve been gone as long as Jose.

    Nice article. Welcome back.

  2. Kennedy Emetulu

    Thank you, Nick. It’s
    the José wind blowing me about in arrested
    development….But there was no break in transmission, was there? Anyway, he’s
    back, I’m back; so, we were never gone! Haha!

  3. Cunningplan

    I don’t want to be the party pooper but until it’s confirmed we have him the bag so to speak let’s not be too premature. Besides with the news Matt Smith is giving up his role as “The Doctor” I’m sure Jose might well be headhunted for that prime job. 😉

  4. Der_Kaiser

    There’s a blast from the past…

    It’s really about whether a pair of (pretty stubborn) old leopards have changed their spots, isn’t it? Is Roman prepared to ignore all of the baggage that comes with Jose, and / or has Jose just left all of his baggage in Madrid with a longing to put down roots with the club he seems to love above all others?

    The former can’t resist eyeing up the ‘eject’ button with relish the moment a few indifferent results appear and the latter just can’t turn the cheek and say no to a scrap with, well, pretty much anyone with a pulse.

    I’d like to believe that both want to put the past behind them, settle down with each other and see out the rest of their days in blissful, steel-edged tika-taka trophy-grabbing happiness, but the pages of history suggest it simply isn’t going to happen. These two make the average mayfly look like a pillar of longevity.

    A year, five years, ten years – who knows? As much as it feels like a return to the old days, the club’s situation is very different now and what happens from here on in is uncharted territory.

    It’ll probably end in tears, but it’ll be an interesting ride if nothing else.

    And frankly, can’t the club just get along and announce it already?

    • Kennedy Emetulu


      Ah! Der_Kaiser, what wouldn’t I give to buy a sachet of your pessimism! By the way, I wonder what history pages you’ve been peering at, buddy….


      • Der_Kaiser

        Not pessimism, realism. Subtle difference. The history pages I’ve been looking at list the number of managers we’ve had since Roman arrived. There have been quite a few as he is very keen on firing them. Oh, and the fact that Mourinho himself hasn’t really done ‘long term’ anywhere he’s been (just over three years with us is his longest stint anywhere).

        Other than that, all of the signs point to him staying for a couple of decades!

        • GrocerJack

          Aaah, the long term thing….left Porto for us (a bigger richer club, having achieved all he could there)

          Sacked by us.

          left Inter for RM (ditto the Porto comment)

          Sacked by RM who didn’t back him against Galactico’s

          Now back with us. hardly suggests itchy feet to me.

          • Der_Kaiser

            Yes – confirming the point that he hasn’t really done long term anywhere he’s been 🙂

            And the man in charge? Only Carlo and Jose have lasted more than a year. The rest less.

            We shall see.

        • Kennedy Emetulu



          So, if your reference to history pages is about the fast-paced managerial turnover at Chelsea since Roman came, it certainly cannot be Mourinho’s fault, can it? He’s not the one sacking the managers that came after him. If anything, I’d say the spirit and the winning culture he established in the team ensured we remained successful even after he left. If your point in roping him into that historical construction is that he himself has never done long term in any club, why should that be a problem considering the nature of football management nowadays? Not everyone would be a Ferguson or Wenger and not every club management can have their patience or stability.
          Even Mourinho’s short-termism should be seen in proper contexts. He left Porto because we went for him; he left on good terms for bigger things. He certainly was bigger than Porto at that point and Porto was keen to take the money and celebrate the good fortune he brought them. He wasn’t planning on leaving Chelsea when he left. He was sacked, even if it was all couched as “mutual agreement”. We know why. Any manager worth his badges would have left in the situation he was placed. At Inter, he left on good terms, much like what happened when he left Porto. A grateful owner collected the money and was grateful for the good fortune he brought them. He left because he had won everything he could there and he needed, for his own personal and professional satisfaction, to complete the managerial ‘Grand Slam’ as he put it.
          Coming back to Chelsea is the first time he’s returning to a club he’d previously managed and you can see he’s highly emotional about it. This is all about his own passion and love for Chelsea. It’s not just another job for him. It’s a love affair. We’ve heard players he’d managed since leaving Chelsea speak about the man’s love for Chelsea which they’ve heard from his own mouth. He’s here for the long-term. He’s going to be our Alex Ferguson figure. Roman has tried it all and now he himself needs stability in Chelsea, so he can concentrate on other things. Of all the coaches he’s had, Mourinho is the man he trusts most, which is why he’s back. Whatever happens from now on, I am of the firm belief that Mourinho would see out the four years of this initial contract at least.


    • mark_25

      Of course the club can’t just announce it already. It’s when the Special One is all ready!

  5. Ben Harrison

    Interesting to consider the pro’s and con’s of bringing the Special One back to West London.

    Despite the turbulence which often surrounds him, Mourinho’s record is truly staggering, and you have to say Chelsea will be title contenders next season with him in charge and Ferguson gone.

    We’ve just published a new post at our blog which asks whether Mourinho is the greatest coach in the world – worth checking out as a follow up to this piece.

  6. Blueboydave

    Well, it looks like unless there is an eleventh hour, Robinho-like, intervention [ are you working on that, Mark?] that the Let’s Kiss and Make Up Second Coming will be confirmed some time this week.

    I’m already scouring the plethora of free, on-line higher education websites for a course in Advanced Kremlinology to help me unpick the machinations to come.

    I guess one early sign will be if Emenalo is kicked sideways into a new, exciting post that gives TSO a freer hand or if he has learned to live with klutzy technical directors limiting his power in player acquisition.

    Another that the media seem to be airing again today is the fate of Crazy David – does he not fit TSO’s idea of solid defending and is to be sold or is he one of Roman’s favourites and the untouchable future of the team?

    Perhaps I just need to get a re-gun for my bullshit detector for Made-Up Transfer Window Madness Media Bollocks?

    • Der_Kaiser

      I hope the Sky Sports News bloke outside the Bridge has packed enough clean underwear for a long stay – he was there ‘very early’ this morning, apparently.

    • Cunningplan

      Well wherever it takes us over the next few years, and I do believe it will be different this time, we could actually have the period of domination we should have had when he first arrived.

      I don’t buy the narrative it will be dull boring football as some are making out, we had some exciting free flowing football in the first two years, and yes the third was pretty dull at times, but no different to some of the football Utd served up, and I think 2008/09 was pretty poor from them, even though they won the league.

      I know some on this blog won’t be too happy with his return, but I’m certainly a happy bunny, and can’t wait for the new season.

      • Blue_MikeL

        Just to add my tuppence I personally extremely happy with his return and totally don’t buy into the premise of the so called “boring football”. People should understand for themselves that football is first of all sport and then everything else and like in any sport the most important part of a football game is a trophy.

        Like in any other sport there are varieties; It can be free flowing tennis of Federer or physical domination of Nadal it can be rope-a-dope of Muhammad Ali or attacking swing of Foreman at the end what matters is win. Defense and counter attack has got it’s beauty as well as “short passing on the carpet” football. The most important about Mourinho is that he knows and can practice all of it!

      • Kennedy Emetulu


        Chief Cunningham,

        Thank you for that note on the so-called dull football meme. Everybody is entitled to an opinion in football, but there are some ideas that just stick, not because they’re facts, but because certain persons invested in spreading that idea did it successfully. One of such ideas is the success of the propaganda against Mourinho’s style of play, which was developed as a counter to his meteoric rise and continued success. The truth is when people sit down and watch Mourinho’s teams objectively this whole yarn about Mourinho playing ugly game becomes exposed as a farce. But when such stuff is lapped up by people who do not watch football or who do not understand it, you’re stuck with having to defend it.

        Mourinho’s legacy in the game surely would consist of several things.
        One is the fact that winning is everything. Yes, as bad as that sounds, it is
        the truth. Football is big business today and it’s a result-driven business. If
        you like go and play all the beautiful football you want, if you don’t win,
        you’re out. The same fans who’ve enjoyed your beautiful football will sooner
        give you a red card if you win nothing at the end of the season.

        Secondly, Mourinho actually plays beautiful football, but he’s just
        not starry-eyed about it and it’s not usually his main concern. Mourinho is a
        coach that puts a lot of effort into developing a winning mentality in his
        players as footballers and as men, so there’s not much time for sentimentality.
        Mourinho would tell players that he is interested in building the thinking
        player, someone who can think while playing, rather than get carried away by
        their own flowery skills or the hailing from the stands. But, he knows football
        is the Beautiful Game and endeavours to put out teams that even though are
        strong physically and mentally, are also aesthetically pleasing. His Porto team
        of 2002-2004, his Inter team of 2008-2010 and his Chelsea team of 2004-2006
        played some of the most breath-taking football of the times. Injury made him
        more pragmatic with his last Chelsea team.

        I think people should go back and watch Porto versus Lens, Polonia
        Warsaw, Denizlispor, Lazio or Panathinaikos away in the 2003 UEFA Cup. These games witnessed some of the best creative plays and devastating build-ups in football from a team that did not have the playing or material resources of the opponents they confronted. When that same team entered the Champions League the next year and everyone was salivating at the prospect of watching the young team do the same magic of the UEFA Cup, Mourinho was more grounded than those hailing him. He knew the Champions League was a different kettle of fish than UEFA Cup, but he didn’t have money to strengthen the team, so what did he do? He went pragmatic. He developed a game based entirely on defence and transitional opportunities. He knew his charges cannot match the big Champions League team for flair, possession and attack play; but he made sure to capitalize on set-pieces and definite actions when the ball is in their possession, including the devastating use of counter-attack manoeuvres as tools not only for scoring important goals but for unsettling opposition formations.

        Indeed, it was Porto’s loss to Real Madrid at home (his only loss in
        the Champions League that year) that convinced him he had to adapt a cannier
        approach. In subsequent games against Marseille, Manchester United, Lyon and
        Deportivo, Mourinho began to make the world notice. He camouflaged the flair of
        the Porto team of 2003 with a disciplined defensive play that depended on
        devastating counter-attacks for goals. Mourinho knew that he did not have the
        team to compete in the middle of the park with most of the big contenders, but
        games can turn on how the coach reads the transitional elements. The only time
        he changed this approach was in the final against Monaco. He did this because
        his scouting teams had found out that Didier Deschamps had been working on
        countering Mourinho based on what he knew of his team’s play throughout that
        season. But Mourinho, who was already being celebrated around the world having already clinched the Chelsea job, surprised Deschamps with a devastating display of wing play and all-attack football that demoralized his Monaco troops. It was one of the most one-sided wins in Champions League history as Porto ran out 3-0 winners. Nonetheless, what Mourinho showed in the campaign by way of tactics and which he perfected at Chelsea popularized the study of transition in football and coaches and training institutions everywhere began to take note. It was the same principles he sold to Gonçalves and the Angolan national team on their way to the World Cup of 2006 where to the surprise of everyone the Palancas Negras qualified ahead of Nigeria. The difference in Chelsea was that he had players who were dominant, athletically competent and capable of reading the game better than his Porto charges, because they had more natural leaders in the team. It was no surprise that his team set a Premiership record of points and clean sheets and only lost one game away in the Premiership to Kevin Keegan’s Manchester City in his first season. Indeed, there are many examples of beautiful football to recall while he was at Chelsea, some I’ve actually written about in the past.

        At Inter, it’s safe to say they have not hit the heights of excitement
        that the Mourinho team brought to Milan since he left. Of course, the circus overtook everything at Madrid, but any objective analysis would note that Real Madrid have been playing some fine football, including in the three games they beat Barca this year. At any rate, he’s back to Chelsea now and I’ll urge that
        people take time to study him game by game. Forget what you will hear some
        bellyachers in the press say; you just sit, watch and make your own judgment
        objectively. You will note that the difference between Mourinho, Johan Cryuff,
        Rijkaard or Guardiola is not actually in general style and tactics, because
        they all employ the Dutch philosophy of total football (something Mourinho
        picked up while with Louis van Gaal), but the difference is that Mourinho does
        not fit the easy classification because he’s more pragmatic. He puts out a team
        and tactics he feels fits the occasion, depending on the opponents and based on
        the overriding principle of winning. Mourinho would do anything to win a
        football game and his intensity in that regard has sometimes been mistaken for
        the style of his team. The ‘ugly game police’ should open their eyes wide this
        time around because some of us will also pass judgment on their judgment of
        Mourinho’s style, especially where we can clearly see that the criticism is
        unmerited. Yes, we know it’s not all the time a team can serve sweet, sweet
        football, but we will not allow any agenda-driven persons to define our
        football as unworthy simply because we’re unbeatable under Mourinho.


  7. GrocerJack

    First of all ….welcome back Kenn, always good to see familiar faces here.

    On the TSO/Luiz front, just read this piece from the excellent Joe Tweeds which underlines why i think its just media bullshit

    And for those who don’t already know, this via RDM channels I have – the club courted 3 coaches post Munich

    1.) Pep – turned us down due to his sabbatical
    2.) Rafa Benitez – turned us down, no reason given so speculate away
    3.) Jose Mourinho…yes…..we tried last summer to get him but he wanted to see his contract out at Real Madrid, presumably because the ‘unrest’ of the ‘galactico’s’ hadn’t come to the surface by then.

    Lastly, tonights Podding Shed Speciaol will cover my views on ….

    1.) How I called this back when Rafa arrived.
    2.) Why I think it’s a good thing
    3.) Why I’m not convinced he’s a ‘3 year’ man

    A good day methinks.

    • Kennedy Emetulu


      Thank you, GrocerJack for the welcome! I’m pleased to see everyone still here after my own Pep-like sabbatical! Hehe!

      First, those stories about Mourinho not wanting Luiz should be dismissed. Mourinho has mentioned specifically that he wants to work with him and the other young fellows in the team. Luiz is the kind of player Mourinho would like to turn into a real world star – a younger version of Carvalho with a dash of Robert Huth! I have no doubt that Mourinho will mould him into a great player in no time. Obviously, there’s a lot for him to learn in terms of proper defending and tracking back, but trust Mourinho to teach him all that. There is no intent on to sell Luiz, not to Barcelona, not to anybody; but clearly some agenda-driven persons are intent on getting into his head.

      Secondly, we need to take some of those reports of past Guardiola courtship with more than a pinch of salt. The truth is Abramovich had wanted Jose back since after his Champions League win with Inter, but it was Mourinho’s own ‘Grand Slam’ ambitions that thwarted him. Mourinho was always going to come back to Chelsea after Madrid, but no one knew just when, not even him. It just happened that it’s happened this year, aided in no small measure by the stars aligning to make it possible. We have the strutting prima donnas of the Madrid dressing room and Mr Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund to thank. I mean, if Real Madrid had managed to sneak on one more goal at the Bernabéu during the second leg. Mourinho would have been granted the freedom of the City of Madrid and his contract renewed on his own terms with all the players lining up to explain his genius and Chelsea a postponed project. It didn’t happen and we are not complaining.

      The story of Abramovich courting Pep and Pep turning him down has always been a figment of the imagination of those who’ve built a shrine around the idea that Abramovich’s Golden Fleece is some mythical beautiful football, the epitome of which they told us then they’ve seen with the Guardiola Barcelona team. It has always been a ruse. But the narrative has always painted Abramovich as this insatiable little boy who wants a kind of sweet and who because he has all the gold of Croesus is prepared to spend and spend until he gets it. So, Barcelona’s tiki-taka under Pep was it and so he swooped on the exponent, trying ever since to lure him to the Bridge.

      Truth is there was nothing of the sort. Like all true football fans, Abramovich admires beautiful football, but he knows it’s useless if it wins nothing. Abramovich is more a glory-chaser than a connoisseur of beauty. If he had any admiration for Pep, since Chelsea knocked out Barcelona to get to the Champions League final and win it, his admiration for him would have cooled. What is clear is that Abramovich’s sole mission all this while was to get Mourinho and while the latter was still unavailable, he made do with temporary and interim appointments.

      Again, anyone who thinks Guardiola went to Bayern, because it’s an oasis of football stability unlike Abramovich’s Chelsea should check their history too, including the always
      interfering brigade of ex-players who virtually run things in Munich. Indeed, their history is no different from Chelsea’s managerially if we look at it from Mourinho’s time. I mean, the joke is that trigger-happy Roman has had seven coaches since Jose. Well, Bayern have had eight managerial changes. The longest-serving of the lot, Felix Magath barely had two years. So, what gives Guardiola the confidence he’d last there when his new team had just annihilated his old team 7-0 on aggregate in the semi-final of the Champions League only a few months after he left them? I actually feel there’s some buyers’ remorse simmering somewhere under there in Munich, because the reason he was hired (which is to create the Barcelona magic in Munich) has been exposed as a mirage by the retiring Jupp Heynckes. I make bold to say here that Guardiola won’t
      last three seasons in Bayern before being showed the door. He went to a supposedly easier league where Bayern is guaranteed the title more regularly than he possibly would have got with any top team in England or Italy. That is because Mourinho got into his head so much, he had to first take a sabbatical (yes, he’s that brittle) and then return to find a place to get away from him! Hehe! But now, he’s got a new problem. How do you beat the record of that old man with the treble?

      So, what we’ve got here and more of which we are going to be getting until they get bored by their own antics is the favourite pastime of jobless hacks to imagine all sorts with the reclusive Roman with the aim of getting him to talk. But, of course, he won’t, which means their fiction becomes established as truth until everyone walks away from it when the falsity becomes too obvious to ignore. The project for them now is to hound Mourinho with the shadow of Guardiola. Anytime, they imagine a crisis at Chelsea concerning Mourinho, they would inform us of Abramovich’s patience running out and his resumption of attempts to get his ‘first choice’, Guardiola. They are already laying that foundation now. Look at today’s Evening Standard and you’ll read the clueless James Olley yakking on about the ‘Special One’ actually being the ‘Second Choice’. Earlier in the day, Matt Dickinson, the so-called Chief Sports Correspondent of the Times has gone on the same trail, claiming Roman’s decision to bring back Jose was only because he was rejected by Guardiola. “No-one was buying Jose Mourinho’s guff yesterday about romance and a place in each other’s hearts and this reunion being meant to be”, he said. “Roman Abramovich’s passion was for Pep Guardiola. Mourinho wanted Manchester United. For two men so accustomed to getting their own way, it must be disconcerting to be united in defeat.” To think that a newspaper house is paying a pinhead for writing such gibberish rankles greatly! I mean, even if this were true, where’s the defeat? Is it defeat that a job was offered to someone and he prefers to take another one offered to him? Is it defeat that someone else takes the job, not even when it was allegedly rejected, but sometime later after someone else had served in an interim capacity?

      Let’s be honest, Guardiola has not proved himself outside one ready-made club. He grew up within Barcelona, played there, climbed the coaching rank there and took over a team that were already the best in the world under Rijkaard. Yes, he did what he needed to do to keep them winning, but he bailed out to Bayern when they became exposed only to leave Vilanova to carry the can and be the excuse for their failure. He has all the resources he needs to dominate German football; so, let’s see what he can do now. But, just for the record, he’s not in the league of a Mourinho yet. Even at the last FIFA World Coach of the Year Award, he came behind Mourinho who was second only to Vicente del Bosque who isn’t a club coach anyway, but who won it on the back of the impressive successes of the Spanish national team. Since The Special One left Chelsea, he’s been the most decorated manager in world football, Real Madrid or not. That is what Chelsea are getting – a proven winner and a true wearer of our colours. That he wears our colours on his sleeves is just fine by us. Call him a bastard, but he’s own bastard and we fcuking, fcuking love him!

  8. GrocerJack

    Has anyone noticed his title is ‘First team Manager’ as opposed to Head Coach or Chief Project manager or whatever we’ve had before?

    • Blue_MikeL

      Yes his title is the First Team Manager, probably something that will allow him to manage things in the first team and not to be dependent on anyone in matters of the first team. Just my guess, though.

  9. limetreebower

    Doesn’t “First Team manager” mean that Emenalo will still be doing what he was doing before?

    It’s hard to warm to Emenalo because he seems like another one of Roman’s toadys, but if he’s been in charge of recent transfers then credit to the man.

    Welcome back, José. I’m delighted. And welcome back Kenn, though I’m afraid I don’t share the glowing confidence that none of José’s misadventures have been his fault and that success is now guaranteed.

    Still, I’m reasonably confident that José will still be our manager a year from now no matter what, so that’s a good thing.

    • Blue_MikeL

      Emenalo has been brought to the club by the Uncle Avram. Recently he boasted on Israeli radio about it. Nothing good can come from Avram, I believe.

    • Kennedy Emetulu



      Thanks for the welcome. The ‘Mourinho-Emenalo’ problem actually does not exist, at least not to the extent being claimed in certain sections of the media. You’ll note that certain members of the press have been keen to present it as some kind of issue once it increasingly became clear that Mourinho was coming back. There’s been report of Abramovich insisting Emenalo stays in the face of Mourinho threatening he won’t come unless the chap is sacked. Indeed, a few days ago, when it became obvious that Mourinho is indeed coming, they came up with the yarn that Emenalo had tendered his resignation, but that Abramovich has refused to accept it, insisting he stays. Of course, all this is a lie. It is the press looking for a story from the usually taciturn Chelsea administrative machine and having failed to get anything, they do some fishing with some false stories. It’s an old yellow journalism trick. Tell a lie about them and they will jump out to deny it and in the course of that give us the truth as news. But it didn’t happen and Mourinho first interview with Chelsea TV decidedly steered clear of it, which is good. You do not fall for such antics, because the whole aim of the angle is for that section of the press to have a prop with which to undermine Chelsea in the course of the coming season as it would surely be deployed as the typical excuse or reason for any real or imagined crisis at Chelsea.

      Yes, Emenalo would still be doing what he was doing before Mourinho returned, but that is because what he was doing and what he would continue to do does not in any way encroach upon Mourinho’s powers as the manager of the team. That Mourinho is appointed as “First Team Manager” rather than “Manager” is the difference between six and half a dozen. The reason for this is simply to differentiate between the position of other age-grade managers within the club, for instance the Under-21 Manager, Youth Team Manager and the Academy Manager, all of whom are operationally under the First Team Manager. So, the title is more for administrative convenience than for hierarchical purposes. Mourinho would still do the job of the overall manager of the football club, including supervising all other levels of football outside the first team, but he wouldn’t be doing the donkey job of being everywhere all the time.

      Michael Emenalo is the Technical Director (not Director of Football). Since Avram Grant left to take over as First Team Manager, Chelsea has not had a Director of Football. What we have now is a Director of Football Operations, who is the reclusive Mike
      Forde. His job is not the same as that of Director of Football. He is a member
      of the Chelsea Board “responsible for all areas of performance and team operations relating to the first team, including player recruitment; medical, sport science, psychology and performance analysis”. He is not boss to the First Team Manager, because the latter only reports to the CEO and owner, but he is the First Team Manager’s liaison with the board in matters only concerning the first team as enumerated above. In essence, when the First Team Manager needs resources in these areas, he provides them. He certainly is one person who along with the First Team Manager, owner, CEO and Technical Director decides on players’ recruitment.

      Before Emenalo was promoted to the position of Technical Director in July 2011, he worked in both the scouting and coaching departments under Frank Arnesen. Though, it’s true that Emenalo was brought in by Avram Grant in October 2007 as part of his own first team management structure, since Grant left, he has taken on more high profile role and when Arnesen left, it would seem the old Grant-Arnesen roles were phased out and replaced with the roles now being held by Forde and Emenalo. It would actually seem that Forde is Emenalo’s direct boss. Unlike Forde, Emenalo is not on the board. Apart from supporting the work of the first team management structure, he is said to be “leading the club’s international and domestic scouting network” and assisting “in driving the technical programmes of our Academy and international youth network”. Clearly, this is part of the old Arnesen job.

      Emenalo is also important in another semi-formal capacity as the liaison between the First Team Manager and the club owner. This is not a formalised role, but it’s a conventional role that Emenalo has performed at least since the time Ancelotti was there. From what Ancelotti, AVB and Benitez have said at different times, Emenalo is the person they give messages to deliver to the owner and vice versa. He was at no point their boss and in fact, when the board sacked Ray Wilkins, he stepped in briefly as Assistant First Team Coach in replacement. In that semi-formal capacity and more now as Technical Director, Emenalo is also part of the team that decides on transfers and recruitment. Upon his appointment to the new post in July 2011, he explained it thus: “The final decisions about who comes in and who doesn’t will be the manager’s to make but to arrive at that stage there will be a lot of working together and I would imagine I will be part of that process of working together to make that happen.” This was at a time when AVB was manager. At different times too, Mr Bruce Buck, the Chairman and Abramovich himself spoke on this process. Speaking in the early days of the Abramovich era, Mr Buck said the manager then, Ranieri, the Directors and the Chief Executive and Mr Abramovich consult and jointly make the decision. By the time Mourinho came, Abramovich said: “I cannot say I’m completely not involved in buying players, but my role would be significantly lower than that of the manager’s. You cannot compare them. To give an example, this would be an impossible situation when a manager does not want a player to be bought and I try to impose ideas. It would not work.” In fact, there are
      indications that one of the reasons Falcao went to Monaco instead of coming to Chelsea was that the latter were waiting for Mourinho to be installed first to make the decision. Mourinho had indicated that he would want to make a thorough assessment of the playing resources available before deciding on where we need to strengthen. This explains all things being quiet at the Chelsea front.

      So, the manager remains the person who makes choice and the final decision about players coming and going, because he is the one who gets to work with them, even though in acquiring these players, he’d need to discuss with Forde, Emenalo, Abramovich and/or other members of the board where necessary. This is the way it works everywhere. The reason Chelsea’s own has become an issue is because of the

      manner it all unravelled before Mourinho left in 2007. Initially, Mourinho had no problem welcoming Grant’s appointment, but when he and Arnesen began their desperate manoeuvrings and manipulations to undermine his work, he couldn’t take it. At that time, Abramovich sided with Arnesen, but there are good reasons to believe that he has learnt from his mistakes. Part of correcting those mistakes is to get Mourinho back and he’s done so.

      The truth is Mourinho never made any fuss about Emenalo, because as a football person, having gone round Europe and seen how things work in different places, he knows that Emenalo would be very useful for him at the Bridge, not only because of his closeness to the owner, but mostly considering his track record. Mourinho would have seen that much of the success Chelsea had achieved since he left depended in no small part on the stabilizing influence of Emenalo and how he has carried himself or handled the role. Mourinho would have noted that despite his closeness to Abramovich, he hasn’t been throwing his weight around and in fact, he has also acted astutely in the club’s acquisition of Hazard, Mata, Azpilicueta Thibaut, Lukaku and Kevin de Bruyne. The first three are established in the first team and the last three performed greatly on loan with top clubs in the Premiership, La Liga and the Bundesliga. In fact, there are rumours that Mourinho worked unofficially with Emenalo and the club in some acquisitions. Not likely to be true to that extent, but it’s difficult to imagine Jose coming back if he has or is likely to have issues with Emenalo and his role in the club.

      Anyway, the advice I’d give all Chelsea fans is not to fall for the destabilizing games of the media, because they sure will play it to the hilt with Mourinho back now. Mourinho does not look or sound like someone who’s coming to an unhappy place. He’s had
      meetings with Abramovich and they are fine, which is all that matters and he’s had meetings with the other key members of the Chelsea board and club administration and he has stated he’s ready to begin work. All we are interested in is the football and the glory Mourinhio would bring to our team. We believe Emenalo, Buck, Forde, Gourlay, Tenenbaum and Abramovich are all committed to the project of making Chelsea great again. We have an on-field leader in Jose Mourinho and that is what counts. They wouldn’t be ushering him back only to become cogs in the wheel of progress again. Lessons have been learnt all round, so c’mon Chelsea! Let’s go rule the world with Jose’s Blue Army!


    • mark_25

      Must be because they were changing the background image to a picture off him. So on the home he’s the foreground and background image. Not that it’s all about him of course …

  10. Simon

    TSO has now released Yossi Benayoun, Paulo Ferreira, Hilario, Florent Malouda, and Ross Turnbull.

    • Kennedy Emetulu


      Yeah, very sound move. There were too many passenger-players at Chelsea. The release of Ferreira, Hilario and Malouda clearly shows that Jose has no sentiments in this matter. We have enough to cope with their loss at the moment, but it would be interesting to see who he brings in to deputise for Cech now that we know that Courtois is staying another year on loan, but with the option to return anytime within the season if needed. Or is he going to promote Blackman from the youth set-up?

      We must also watch how he deals with the Terry situation. There is genuine interest from Monaco, but I think whether Terry goes will be his own decision. I suspect Jose would prefer him to stay, at least till the end of his contract next season. Jose may push for the same kind of deal Frank got for him, but with an understanding that even though he remains club captain, he may not get to play every game, even if fit. Jose is definitely buying a centre-half and it looks like Eliaquim Mangala is the guy.

      If we get Cavani, as we are very likely to, Demba will have to go. Fernando Torres will remain, not because he’s found form now, but because the club entered a bad deal with him when they signed. He still has three years remaining in his contract and with the outrageous salary (£1m in six weeks), no one would want to buy him and even he himself may likely do a Malouda and refuse to go if they try to nudge him. Jose would simply find a way to make him useful or work without him if he doesn’t show any improvement.


      • Simon

        Yeah. With the old guards and new warriors, I trust TSO would repeat those days when Robben, Duff and Drogba terrifying the opponents’ defense.

        • Kennedy Emetulu

          Oh, tactically speaking, football has changed considerably in the last seven years since he was last at the Bridge. But the good thing is that we are re-employing a manager who was not static and who has contributed immensely to that change by moving around the continent. Unlike when he took over Chelsea with only previous knowledge of Portuguese and to an extent Spanish league in his résumé, today, he’s an expert in the top leagues in Europe having won the biggest prices in Italy and Spain added to his previous ones in England. It follows that such a guy would naturally have new things to bring to the table at the Bridge. And this is what some people accusing us of being starry-eyed over Mourinho’s comeback are missing. No, we are not just being sentimental about Mourinho. We are, like Abramovich, believing that this guy left us and has gone out there to prove himself in different terrains and different circumstances and has come out tops. As at the time we are reemploying him, he isn’t living on the past Chelsea glory; he was and still is in fact, the most decorated coach in club football. From the time he left us till today, he has been the coach that has won more big things than any other in club football. So, why should we not reemploy such a fellow? Is it not an additional plus that he loves Chelsea and knows the club inside out, considering that Chelsea continued in its winning ways since he left only because his legacy of instilling the winning mentality in the team has never been abandoned by the key figures who lead the Chelsea dressing-room despite several managerial changes? The young ones there now and the new ones to arrive can only gain from his return. Of course, this would help in the advancement of their own career and for Chelsea this is likely to be another gain for the long-term, even if he himself does not stay that long on the seat for whatever reason.

          Mourinho would create another marvellous team that would raise the bar competitively in European and world soccer and the world as usual would be divided as to the benefit of his creation. Opposing teams’ fans and agenda-driven commentators and football officials would call his team the ugliest of names as they pick up trophy after trophy, while Chelsea fans would overwhelmingly sing the joyful song of domination once again as, no doubt, a few amongst them would stubbornly pine for the peaceful days of Ken Bates and mid-level mediocrity when there was no Jose to plunge his evil hands in the mouths of football angels and supposedly bring the name of our beloved club to disrepute! Pffffft! I can’t wait! Hehe!

  11. Kennedy Emetulu


    We all remember your first press conference. Are you still a special one?

    ‘I’m the happy one. Time-wise, it looks like it was a couple of days ago, but it was nine years ago. Since then, a lot of things have happened in my professional life and 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. You know, it’s the first time I arrive in a club where I already love the club because, before, I was arriving and I had to do the emotional relation. I only came to love the club in time. This is a new feeling, arriving at a club where I love it already.’

    You won five major trophies in three seasons here. Can you do better this time?

    ‘In football you never know, but I want to believe it’s possible. I always trust my work. In this case, I know many of the people that belong to the club, and I know the kind of mentality and ambition people have. My career was built and based on success, and I was able to reach success and to win trophies, and to leave different kinds of legacies. So I have to believe in that. That’s a normal message I want to go with my players, which is work hard, work with quality. The club is much more important than ourselves. We are nobody compared to the club. Working well, success normally arrives.’

    You fell out with Roman Abramovich. How did the relationship get patched up?

    ‘That’s not true, as a start. That’s not true. I read and I kept listening I was fired, I was sacked, we had a complete break of relationships. That was not true. Many people didn’t believe in that, but it was mutual agreement. At the time we thought it was best for both of us, me and
    the club. It was a sad moment. Of course it was a sad moment, but I don’t regret that decision. I went to Inter where I had probably the best moment of my career. After that I went to Madrid where we had, still, the record of the best team in Spanish history. For Chelsea, things went well too. After that, Chelsea was for the first time European champions. So it was a difficult decision at that time for both of us, but a decision made by mutual agreement. Only because there was never a break of a relation, it’s possible I’m here today. It wouldn’t be possible being here if we’d had real problems, no relations. I’m back because we feel we are in a moment of my professional life – and in the case of the owner also a moment of his career as an owner – where we are probably in the best moment of our careers, and ready to work together again
    and with much better conditions this time to succeed and have what this club wants: which is stability.’

    ‘Ready to marry again,’ you said. What signs are there from Abramovich that love will be sweeter?

    ‘I think one of the points for me is that, and probably you are not so happy with that, is that my relation with the owner has to be private. What we discuss has to be private. Not just with him, also with the board. I think that privacy is crucial. The point is we all want the same. We are in the same direction. It’s a moment where I think maturity, very good feelings, the same perspective for the future of the club. My area is the sports area, the football area, but more and more you have to be deeply connected with other areas in the club. I think we have the same kind of vision. I’m more than happy to follow this philosophy that we want for the team, and I’m more than happy to be back. 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. I want to give you that message. 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. The club
    knows my mentality, my nature, and the fans can be sure I come here to give my best and to try and reach success.’

    Have you been affected by what happened in Spain?

    ‘If I have to choose a nickname for this period, I’d choose ‘the happy one’ because I’m very happy. Time flies. I was two years at Inter, three years at Madrid, five years in a managerial career is a long, long time. Football is an industry that demands a lot from yourself, and you
    learn a lot every day. Back in 2000 when I was managing for the first time, I thought I knew everything. After 13 years, you realise you knew nothing and you have to learn every day. My adventure around Europe was fantastic for me – England, Italy and Spain, different cultures, mentalities, players, leagues, tactics, media, different everything. It was a fantastic period for me. At 50, I think I’m still very young as a manager and I think it was like the beginning of a new period. Do I have a different personality? For sure, no. But will I have a different approach and way of looking at things? Again, I repeat. I’m the same personality, same nature, but a different perspective.”

    It sounds like you are more mellow, calmer?

    ‘Calmer? I believe so. I believe so. You have to learn with experiences. Sometimes people speak about older people in a negative way. I didn’t arrive yet there, but experience in life is something very, very important, especially if you visit in the right way. In football, I analyse myself every day as a manager, as a leader, as a member of a club. I try to learn and try to improve. So I’m the same, but nine years is a big difference. When I arrived here in 2004 you pushed me a lot in that first press conference to have a strong approach, and in this moment the situation is different. You know me. You know my history in the British game, and the European game, so I don’t think I need that approach. I just want to be calm and to be working every day to do the best I can. I think I’m in the best moment of my career in terms of knowledge and experience. I feel very calm and comfortable. I’m just so sorry that pre-season doesn’t start tomorrow.’

    Do you enjoy this (the media conferences)?

    ‘I don’t love this, but it’s part of my job. I have to try and do it. I try to give what you want, but I can’t always give you a good line. I try to be honest and try and give you what you’re expecting from me at this moment. But what I really want to do is work. Many of the questions
    I believe you have for me will be based on this. So please let’s do it fast and let me go.’

    Do you want more stability?

    ‘Yes, and now I’m prepared for that. Before I wasn’t. I had always this kind of mentality. Today’s June 10, Portuguese Day, a day of Portugal. I am Portuguese. I always love adventure, like
    Portuguese ones in the past. I was always a bit of a navigator, but I did always what I wanted to do. I needed a special family, which I have. They gave me the stability to go around Europe, to live in Italy, Spain, England, Portugal, to change, to pack, to change again, to do what I was doing as a professional. I wanted to do that in the three most important leagues and clubs. I wanted the experience. People who don’t do that have other good things, but the culture in football is very important for a manager. I wanted to experience that. For seven or eight months, I wanted to go where I really like it very, very much. And I was in a position to say which one was the league, the club, the mentality I prefer. I can’t say which press I prefer, but you’re not the worst. Now it’s up to me to show I deserve to be here for a long time. 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.’

    When did you decided to come back to Chelsea?

    ‘To Chelsea, not a long time ago. First of all I decided I was going to leave my previous club. That was the trigger. I had to make that decision. After that, it was a question of analysing the situation, the possibilities, and making a decision that was the best for my happiness. So when the Chelsea situation appeared really, and strongly: decision made.’

    Some old faces in the dressing room you know well, do you want to add new ones in next few weeks?

    ‘No. Of course, there are still a few boys from my time, which is always good to go back and see these people who gave absolutely everything to me when I was here. But it’s important to tell you – not them, because they know – that no privilege for them. They know my nature. They don’t have an advantage in relation to the other people. After that, Chelsea did very well to get these young boys with great potential, great ability and a great future, and I look forward to trying to improve them. 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. I have ambitions as a manager and as a leader to improve the boys. I’m more than happy to help them.’

    Is it a new Premier League you return to?

    ‘I’m still a bit disappointed to be back and going to Old Trafford and Sir Alex isn’t there. As a manager, I’m a bit disappointed. But David has experience and protection by the club to do his job and do it well. Wenger is there and I’m happy he is. And the three boys – not boys any
    more, but when I say boys I say in the right way, with the right feeling – Brendan, Steven and Andre, I’m more than happy not to play against them – Chelsea plays against Liverpool, Tottenham and West Brom, but I’m more than happy to be in the same league as them and to wish them all the best. Pellegrini is also a manager with great experience, many years in the same league. It’s the first time he moves here, but he has maturity and experience to do a good job. I look forward to what the Premier League is. I was, in the last three years, playing in a two-horse race. Now I move to a league where you lose more times, lose more points, but the competition is open. It’s not just the two.’

    It’s a four-year contract. Does that equal stability?

    ‘Of course we look for stability. I look, the club looks. I had desires for new challenges in the past, but in this moment I’m in a completely another direction. When you see the profile of the squad: if you want the best education for 22-25-year-old players, they need stability. The
    club is stable. It has a fantastic structure. I find a much better club in many areas, but they also need stability in football areas: game principles…and the only way to build success again is with stability. I know the personality and the profile of the other people, the Lampards, Terrys, Cechs who worked with me previously, and they have great quality in football terms. They are very important for the balance and the development of the younger players. We are pulling in the same direction, the owner, the board, me, and the players will be happy if we can give them that stability. It’s what I need in this moment of my career.’

    Which competition is the priority?

    ‘Chelsea have to focus in every competition. We cannot say this one is more important than another. Everything is important. By having, I think, 108 Champions League matches and so many consecutive seasons in Champions League competition, I learned that not just the details make the difference, but also that sometimes it’s not when you’re team is in the best moment that you win. Sometimes you win and you don’t know really why you do, and sometimes you play well and you lose and don’t know why. Champions League cannot be an obsession for me. I’ve won it twice, and would be happy to win it again, but Chelsea have won it too. So it’s not an obsession. Let’s work, with quality and work hard, and we’ll be there fighting for that objective. One day it will happen. Sooner than later is better. The Premier League is different, a competition the best team wins. Let’s try to be the best, but you know that another five teams also want to be the best.’

    You had a high-profile fallout with Iker Casillas, what have you learnt from that experience?

    ‘What happened last season? I’m sorry, I play the players I think are the best for the team. Of course I want good relations with everybody, but the most important is having good relations with myself. As a manager, I have to be honest with myself. If I think somebody deserves to play, he has to play. If someone has big stature, profile and career, I cannot give him a privilege. It was simply a pure footballing decision. I decided for one player and not the other, and it’s up for the players to accept it or not, and the media and supporters to accept it or not. But, as a manager, all my decisions are based on meritocracy. Is that an English word? I try to do it from the Portuguese. After that, I can sleep well.’

    John Terry is captain, but he was sidelined by Benitez. What did you think of that?

    ‘One of my good qualities – I have some bad ones – is that I don’t speak about a club when I leave it, and when I arrive at one I don’t like to comment on what happened before me. For me, not one word about Benitez’s decisions, either on John or another player. What I can say is about the future, and the future is to meet John in the first week of July, try to get the best out of him. I know what he can give. I try to get the best, let’s try to make him again a very important player that he couldn’t be last season. But Benitez’s decisions are Benitez’s decisions.’

    You sound more humble. But will it be easier to win the title this season?

    ‘I’m humble. Sometimes it doesn’t look like I am, but I am. In 2004, Arsenal were the power. They’d won the league without losing and were an absolutely fantastic team, and us and United were trying to go there. Now the picture is different. United are the champions. Man City were the champions before – they were not a team able to do that in my time here before. Now you have Arsenal and Tottenham coming up, Liverpool with Brendan will be there for sure. So this competition starts with everyone trying to finish top four, then top three which is better than top four, then to try and win it. We go step by step. The first objective will be top four. The second top three, then to be champions.’

    Were your feelings hurt that you weren’t offered a
    job by United or City?

    (Smiles) ‘I am where I want to be. I wouldn’t change it for anything.

    Is this a better job than City or United?

    ‘It’s my job. The job I want. It’s a job I was offered and I accepted immediately.’

    Andres Iniesta said you’ve damaged Spanish football? Do you have any regrets?

    ‘I damaged Spanish football by being the manager that broke Barcelona dominance. They were dominant, and dominant, and dominant, and it looked like a dominance without an end. Real Madrid won a cup final against Barcelona, Real Madrid won the Super Cup against Barcelona, Real Madrid won in Barcelona, and Real Madrid won the championship, which is the historic
    championship of 100 points and 121 goals. I hurt them, I hurt them. It was a fantastic time for me, reaching what I wanted to reach: the three domestic titles I didn’t have in my career. We couldn’t get the CL, which was our ambition, but it’s very difficult to do that. You never know when you can do that. It was so difficult at Madrid: when I arrived they’d not even been to a quarter-final for six years, but we got into the semis. We couldn’t win it. Other teams did. I’m happy Chelsea and Bayern did it. And I can say, with pride, that I managed a big club like Real.’

    Did Roman make a mistake when you left?

    ‘We decided together. We had a fantastic period, made history, made Chelsea champions which was fantastic for the owner. He bought the club in 2003 and we were champions in 2004/05, so it was the best thing that could happen to a recent owner. The fans had been waiting for that
    for 50 years. For me, a young manager arriving in a football country like England, to win it in the first season was fantastic. We had a mutual decision, no regrets, so it was a fair decision for both.’

    Arsene Wenger is only remaining manager from last time and you said you were pleased he is still here. But how close can Arsenal push you in title race?

    ‘I’m happy he’s there, of course I am. It’s because he wants to be and the club wants him to be. If the players and fans stick together, it’s fantastic. By not winning a major trophy in the last years, it shows even better how connected they are. I’m more than happy with that. It’s a great example for a football club. I’m more than happy.’

    Paulo Ferreira gone. No Portuguese members of the side?

    ‘Paulo is finishing his contract. He’s been here since 2004 and it’s maybe time for him to think about something else. We’ll see what happens. I’d not thought about that, but I don’t think it’s something I need to dwell on.’

    Are you pleased to be here?

    ‘I’m happy to be back in this club, in this league and this city. I can control my emotions better now, whether that is in victory or in defeat.’

    What are the futures of Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku?

    ‘First of all I want to meet them. 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.
    I’m not just speaking in relation to Kevin or Romelu. I’m speaking generally. I’ve had the chance to speak with some of them. Others I didn’t. I need to speak with them, meet them, we need to feel and make a decision that’s the best for me as a manager, the players, and most importantly for Chelsea. Chelsea are more important than me and the players. But, as you are Belgian and I don’t want you to go home without a little answer, they are the type of players Chelsea have invested a lot into in the past, and it’s my work to extract the best from those investments. Both of them are ready to come and be ready for my squad.’

    What qualities have made Chelsea winners? What needs to be done to get back to winning major titles?

    ‘I think I came in two different periods. When I came, Chelsea needed that. Chelsea needed the last push in the direction of the trophies, in the direction of success. A new owner, big investment, the age of the players was perfect for that jump of quality, and I felt in my first approach that the squad and the club needed that direction. And I think we did it well by winning. Probably, I don’t know as I’m not the best person to judge, even after my departure that base stayed in the club and probably helped them to reach more success in the future. If that happened, I’m more than happy. It’s the job of the manager not just to focus on what you do when you’re here, but on the legacy and contribution you leave for the future. This time I arrive and victory and silverware is nothing new in the club. The club is a Champions League winner. The club won the Premier League again after my time, won more FA Cups. The club was in the top and getting trophies. In this moment, it’s a moment for a different approach. Not losing my nature, which is the nature of the club too – trying to win is not just my nature, but that of the club too – and Mr Abramovich too. I think we are all prepared for a different era with a different profile of team. As I was saying, I’m more than happy. My fingerprint has to be… a football team without the fingerprint of its manager is never a football team, even if it looks like it is. We want an identity even more present.’

    Which areas need improvement? Attack, defence, bigger squad?

    ‘I have to start working with them. Even the players I’ve already worked with, the ones I think I know in every aspect, even these ones are not the same. Time changes people, changes players, changes qualities: improving some, losing others. Even that group of five or six boys
    from my time here, I need to meet them again. Imagine the others. I think I know them, because I watch them on TV maybe 20 times every season minimum, but I don’t know them. 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. No, I need to work with the players, not commit injustice, give them a chance, be fair with them. After that, we’ll have time to make decisions. A couple of signings is normal, correct practice in every club.’

    What are your weaknesses?

    ‘If I speak of them, I have to say I’m trying to improve them. You don’t speak about weaknesses with your enemy, and my enemy will read the papers and watch television. We hide our weaknesses. Every player, manager has weaknesses. You have to try to hide them. So I’m not giving that chance for the enemy… with respect because, in sports, an enemy is not really an enemy. I know my weaknesses, not much… not many… but I try to improve and hide them.’


  12. Kennedy Emetulu


    Alvaro Arbeloa and Iker Casillas are with the Spain squad for the Confederation up; but they are feuding over Mourinho! Hear Vicente del Bosque in the first link below and make of that what
    you want! The second link is Raul Albiol talking about the not-so-great relationship between Casillas and Arbeloa as a result of this. People can blame Mourinho all they want, but the truth is obvious.


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