Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 26 October 2014

Mourinho can bring titles and tears

Chelsea fans are excited about the expected return of Jose Mourinho

Chelsea fans want "closure" with the return of Jose Mourinho even if his anticipated second coming ends in turmoil.

Supporters have long been calling for his return, particularly this season while the team has been under the interim control of Rafael Benitez, Mourinho's former adversary while the Spaniard was at Liverpool.

Chelsea Supporters' Group chair Trizia Fiorellino said: "It will certainly end in tears, because these things so often do, even at clubs that aren't as tumultuous as ours. But I think what he will provide in that period in between is closure, one way or the other."

She added: "I think he will bring success, he will manage the team through its transition and then he will end the chapter then. The way it finished, that's why fans call for him all the time. They feel it didn't come to a natural conclusion.

"The way he left was such a shock it almost felt like a bereavement. Both supporters and Jose himself think that there is unfinished business, which is why, I think, he is so keen to return. I think he wants to win the Champions League with us and then he can do more or less whatever he wants. He'd have done everything."

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is seeking a 10th permanent manager in 10 years at Stamford Bridge, but none of the previous bosses have come close to achieving the same level of affection among supporters as Mourinho, who joined in June 2004.

"He brought success to our club which we never dreamed we'd ever witness," Fiorellino added. "He was always going to be revered for that, but also the charisma of the man and the way he fought for us as a club. He became the hero of the fans. No-one has replaced him in terms of character."

There remain hurdles before Mourinho is appointed. One is in the structure of the club, with technical director Michael Emenalo close to Abramovich, and Mourinho likely to be forced into a compromise over the handling of team affairs.

Another potential stumbling block is the squad. Mourinho favours powerful players, whereas Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar are playmakers the fans have come to adore.

"It will be interesting to see how he sets up the team," Fiorellino said. "He's often gone for a spine of power. [Romelu] Lukaku, to me, seems exactly the kind of player that he would try to mould into a new [Didier] Drogba."

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