Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho tipped for perfect 10 at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea want Jose Mourinho to lead them for the next 10 years. He signed a four year deal when returning last summer for his second spell as manager.
But in an exclusive interview, chief executive Ron Gourlay revealed the club want the 51-year-old to stay for the next decade.
That would put an end to the high turnover of managers with Roman Abramovich now on his 10th boss since buying the club in 2003
Gourlay said: "I hope he will stay 10 years. Having the security of Jose is great for me – he knows the club, knows me.
"Jose can deal with the media in a different way from some of the other managers we've had.
"He takes the pressure not only away from the players but also from the club. He allows us to manage and me in particular to drive the club forward."
The bookies make Chelsea favourites for the title and the fans may already be dreaming but Gourlay said: "I do not want to be disrespectful to other clubs.
"There are five who could win the league – ourselves, Liverpool, Arsenal and the two Manchester clubs.
"You can never write off Manchester United."
These sentiments reflect the taciturn nature of the 51-year-old who worked for United before coming to Chelsea.
Since succeeding Peter Kenyon five years ago this month, Gourlay has kept a low profile.
However, as we meet at Chelsea's health club – with Mourinho talking to his coaches just around the corner – Gourlay could not be more forthcoming.
"When I took over, we were under a little bit of pressure about our image. Do they love Chelsea FC? Do they hate Chelsea FC?
"Now Chelsea FC are massively respected around the world. Internationally, we are a more loved team.
"Nationally is very tribal, isn't it?" he says with a laugh.
Gourlay sees a transformation in Mourinho. From the arrogant sounding Special One during his first spell in 2004 when Uefa branded him "the enemy of football" he is, says Gourlay, "certainly the Happy One now".
Mourinho was the club's third manager in seven months with Roberto Di Matteo sacked in November 2012 to be replaced by Rafael Benitez, a move which angered the fans.
"We had to make the change," said Gourlay.
"We have to make decisions that are in the best long-term interests of the club.
"Around that period there weren't many alternatives, but we knew what our plan was six months down the line. We had to look to the future," he added.
Mourinho starts his latest Champions League campaign tonight, insisting that he "does not think a lot" about making history in the competition.
However, it would be hard to guess that as he went on to talk about little else during yesterday's press conference.
If Chelsea, who play Schalke at Stamford Bridge tonight, triumph in the Champions League final in Berlin next June, then Mourinho will become the first ever manager to win the competition with three different clubs.
They were knocked out in the semi-finals by Atletico Madrid last season but have improved since and are rightly among the favourites.
So is the Chelsea manager driven by the ambition to do what no one has done before, having seen Carlo Ancelotti win his third Champions League earlier this year with Real Madrid?
"If at the end of my career I achieved that situation, then good. But it's far from being an obsession. It's not even something I think about a lot," he said.
It did not take Mourinho very long, though, to suggest that he does spend at least some of his time thinking about the Champions League.
"The tournament is part of my history, I am part of the tournament's history, it's simple," Mourinho said. "If I win it once more, to win with three clubs is unique. Even if I don't do it, how many top managers in the world have only one or even not a single one?"
"You have the example of the greatest in our country (Sir Alex Ferguson), who won it twice. Even if, from this moment, I don't win a single match in the Champions League, my history is there. I won it twice and that's fantastic, something to be proud of. But do I want to try and win it again? Of course I do."
The question, then, is whether Chelsea are as good as his Porto team which won the competition in 2004 or the Internazionale side that triumphed in 2010?
Those two were domestic champions before they won the Champions League and Porto had won the 2003 Uefa Cup as well.
Mourinho, though, said that the competitive standard of the Premier League meant that Chelsea are on their level.
"England is a different contest," he explained.
"Is the third or fourth English team in the table better than almost every champion in Europe? Yes. Yes, no doubt. The competition is a different competition.
"It's not easy to improve on what we did last season in terms of the table or Champions League, but I think we are a better team, we are a better group. The team is playing better football."
Mourinho said that Chelsea are still "far from perfection" but they certainly look better equipped with the additions of Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas.