Belfast Telegraph

Jose Mourinho the master makes the difference

By Steven Beacom

Jose Mourinho... his second coming is up and running.

The Special One deals in trophies and now he has another one after Chelsea's 2-0 victory over Tottenham at Wembley yesterday.

To most Premier League managers, playing in the League Cup is about as desirable as getting hit by a Carl Frampton right hook.

They treat it with contempt it does not deserve. To Mourinho, though, it matters. Always has.

It was the first trophy he won in charge of Chelsea and 10 years on yesterday he got his hands on it once again. At one stage it looked as if he didn't want to let it go.

During his magnificent career, he has often shunned the celebrations when silverware has been handed out. Not this time. At Wembley he was smack, bang in the middle of the joy and jubilation, smiling and laughing with his players and the fans and bouncing around like a kid who had just won the egg and spoon race at School Sports Day.

Even when the match was in the balance at the start of the second half, Mourinho showed his fun side, squirting water towards the television cameras with a grin on his face.

This was the 'Happy One', which he had labelled himself when making his stunning return to Stamford Bridge in 2013, and a far cry from his Grumpy One side last weekend after Chelsea drew 1-1 with Burnley in the Premier League.

Then he conducted his post-match interview in bingo caller mode citing minutes 30, 33, 43 and 69 in which controversial decisions, in his view, had gone against his team. Yesterday, Mourinho landed a full house.

At Anfield, Liverpool defeated Jose's title rivals Manchester City 2-1, meaning that if Chelsea win their game in hand they will go eight points clear at the top.

And in the Capital One Cup decider the Blues overcame a spirited challenge from Spurs to put a gleaming pot on the table for Roman Abramovich.

Chelsea's Russian owner ditched Mourinho like he would throw away an old hankie in 2007 despite the manager winning two Premier League titles, two League Cups and one FA Cup in three full seasons.

Having kissed and made up six years later, Mourinho, who won everything at Inter Milan and all but the Champions League with Real Madrid in the meantime, endured a fruitless first season on his return.

He said it wasn't his team. After key summer signings it is now, illustrated at Wembley by a superb defensive performance, a Mourinho trademark.

There was also a cutting edge provided by John Terry and Diego Costa, who netted deflected goals at vital times against a Spurs outfit, who until the opener on the stroke of the break had been the more dangerous side.

Mourinho, who typically made big calls by dropping semi-final hero Thibaut Courtois for Petr Cech and played youngster Kurt Zouma in midfield replacing the suspended Nemanja Matic, can be a pain in the butt with his one-eyed opinions and whining ways, but he is the best boss around.

And now that he has got his first trophy second time around, another spell of domestic dominance beckons for Chelsea. The League Cup has been won. The league title will be next.

Belfast Telegraph

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