'I am not the Special One any more': Jose Mourinho returns to Chelsea
Jose Mourinho returned as Chelsea manager pledging that this time he could manage his relationship with owner Roman Abramovich and was prepared to stay at the club for the long-term.
The 50-year-old signed a four-year contract with the club, a mutual sign of the two parties' faith in one another, and said that his return was sealed in a five-minute "short and pragmatic" conversation with the Russian oligarch. He said: "I asked the boss, 'Do you want me back?', and the boss asked me, 'Do you want to come back?' and in a couple of minutes the decision was made."
But it was Mourinho's insistence that he will stay for the long-term that was the most significant. So far, his longest period at any club is the three years and two months he spent at Chelsea between 2004 and 2007. "Every day you have to think about yourself and about evolution," he said. "I have the same nature but I'm much more mature with a different approach to things, I'm more ready to be in a club and stay for a long time."
He even said that after seven permanent managers and two temporary appointments during Abramovich's 10-year ownership, the club could now do with some managerial "stability". "They [the players] need stability, stability I hope I can give them. Between me, the owner and of course the club, we have no doubts about what we want to do and the approach we want to have. I'm very confident I can help the squad and I can help the boys to do better."
Mourinho famously declared he was the Special One when he got the Chelsea job in 2004. His stance yesterday had changed. "I promise exactly the same things I promised in 2004," he said, "but with the difference we have [now], which is I am one of you."
Mourinho, who was speaking on Chelsea TV, who broadcast the interview first, said that having won the "grand slam" of titles in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain, he felt that now was the right time to go back to Chelsea. "Now we are back together and we are getting together at a great moment for us both, so I think we are ready to marry again and be happy and successful."
Despite being the most successful manager in the club's history, in terms of domestic trophies, with two League titles, one FA Cup and two League Cups, he said that he would not rely on his popularity with the supporters to see him through. "I'm not coming here to sleep on what I did in the past and be comfortable just because we [the supporters] have a great relation, and probably the first day I put my foot in Stamford Bridge again they will sing my name. I'm not that kind of person and professional. I'm very demanding of myself, I need, of course, their support, but I want to start from ground zero. I need to work hard again and build a different team from the team I built in the past."
Mourinho hinted that he would not dramatically change the style of the team with the three attackers, Oscar, Juan Mata and Eden Hazard featuring prominently. "I like the profile, I like the fact we have five players from the beginning of the winning Chelsea, and I think they have to be always a part of the Chelsea soul, so I'm pleased we kept some of these boys.
"The profile of the younger players with long-term space for improvement, I like. I've come with a four-year contract so with the immediate age of Hazard, Oscar, Luiz it will be good for me to work with them and good for them to work with me. Together we can improve."
Mourinho will be introduced at a press conference on Monday with his new staff, coach Rui Faria and goalkeeping coach Silvinho Louro, who worked with him in his first spell at the club, as well as scout Jose Morais. He will keep Christopher Lollichon, Steve Holland and Chris Jones from the existing staff. He also revealed that he had been offered the chance to manage Real Madrid after he won the FA Cup in 2007, his last trophy during his first spell at Chelsea. He stayed and was sacked in September.
Of his return, Mourinho said last night: "I'm not happy, I am very happy. I was preparing myself in the last couple of days to control emotions, to come here in a cool way but I'm really emotional."
Betting on success: Jose's second coming
Odds on how Jose Mourinho's second spell at Chelsea will turn out:
5-1 Sacked before the end of next season
11-10 Still in charge for the first game of 2015-16
4-1 Sees out four-year contract
7-2 Named Manager of the Year in 2014
6-4 Wins more trophies in his second spell than his first
Evens Uses the phrase 'Special One' in his first press conference
Belfast Telegraph Digital