“Please don’t call me arrogant, I’m a European Champion and I think I am a special one.”
The above quote is from Jose Mourinho’s first press conference at Chelsea back in 2004. The Portuguese who had won the Champions League crown with Porto earlier that year was now given the helm at Chelsea- his new club where he would later on come to call his second home.
He was true to his words and delivered the club’s first premier league crown to them in 50 years. Something special from “the special one”. His name would be now forever etched in Premier League folklore and status as Chelsea legend cemented. Suddenly the tag of special one was sounding more right than arrogant as he said and the following season they retained the title. Chelsea now became a force to be reckoned with and Mourinho had everything to do with it.
He builds his team around great defenses and this showed when Chelsea won their first league crown conceding only 15 goals in 38 games. John Terry was also instrumental to that title winning team as his great performances at the back helped the team.
However, after his 3rd year at Chelsea he had a falling out with the Russian owner, Roman Abramovich concerning certain player transfer policies and he departed the club where he had made many good friends. It was the end of a beautiful relationship- for now at least.
He moved on, and after a one year sabbatical, he was back in the coaching business this time with Inter Milan. At Inter he won the Scudetto, Copa Italia and once again the Champions League crown, making it a treble of trophies for the “Special One” and he was gradually increasing his reputation as a great manager.
After the Champions League final played at the Santiago Bernabeu it was rumored that Mourinho would be joining Real Madrid at the beginning of the next season as they looked to secure their 10th champions league title (La Decima). Most Madrid fans called for much more free flowing entertaining football as opposed to his defense stlye. But Mourinho would have the final say though. In his first few games he did not lose a single match until his first El Clasico where his was given a huge humbling by Madrid’s bitter rivals Barcelona. Madrid lost that game 5-0 and it was the first time a Mourinho lead team had conceded that many goals.
He helped Madrid win La LIga the next season though with a record 100 points but the Champions League always eluded them- mostly at the semifinal stages.
It was always clear throughout his campaign at Inter Milan and Madrid that Mourinho still had a strong attachment to Chelsea and it was ever so evident when he backed them to win the Champions League in 2012 after Madrid were knocked out on penalties by Bayern Munich.
So when he ended his third season at Madrid after a trophy less campaign and falling out with many first team players especially Iker Casillas, a reunion with long time love Chelsea was definitely on the cards.
On June 3rd 2013, Chelsea announced the return of their “prodigal son” Jose and their love story would continue from them on.
His first campaign did not go according to plan as Chelsea finished 3rd.
After some shrewd summer signings that included Diego Costa, Filipe Luis, and Cesc Fabregas, Mourinho claimed that he had finally found a team that was going to dominate Europe for the next deacade. And dominate they did. Chelsea went on to win the league staying on top from beginning to end. They lost only 3 games in total and conceded the fewest goals with Fabregas and Costa proving pivotal.
Suddenly Mourinho’s claim of total domination was looking justified.
Fast forward to 2015-2016 and 10 games on we are witnessing a very different Chelsea team. They have now lost 5 games, two more than they did in the entirety of last season and are nothing like the defensive unit they have been known to be. Players who shone last season are under performing and Mourinho has been criticized for his lack of additions in the summer. Maybe he thought if it’s not broken don’t fix it.
Well it is broken and Chelsea do need some fixing. Their major acquisitions over the summer were Falcao, Pedro and Rahman, but Falcao has failed to impress and Pedro after starring in his first game against West Brom has waned since then.
Their last outing was a Capital one cup loss to Stoke City with Eden Hazard, last season’s P.F.A player of the year missing the decisive penalty that gave Stoke the win.
The pressure is suddenly building on Mourinho and a good winning streak cannot come any sooner. He has now turned to criticizing referees and most recently team doctors for one reason or another- something characteristic of a man feeling the heat.
He was recently banned for implying that referees were afraid of giving decisions to Chelsea. Mourinho is unravelling under pressure. In one of his post-match interview after a loss to Southampton, he was quoted as saying: “If Chelsea sack me they will be sacking the greatest coach in the world”.
This is in stark contrast to the man who claimed to be the special one. And with owner Roman Abramovich known for cracking the whip when it comes to managers who under perform, this weekend’s match against Liverpool could be his swan song for Chelsea and it seems unlikely that there will be a reunion after this one.