There have been so many named after him in his self-proclaimed style a there has been the Chosen One, the Interim One and more recently the Normal One. There has been, however, be only one a special onea a a pseudonym he himself chose and has been fairly successful at proving that too.
When he left after his first spell in charge of Chelsea in 2007, it was all in bad taste. A spat with the owner, dressing room unrest and public criticism of his tactics by some senior players preceded his departure. Fast-forward to 2015 after a record-breaking poor start to the season, situation similar in many ways to the a 07 season a with reports of player unrest – Mourinho still has a job. With the ownera s support at that.
So what has changed over these 8 years? We try and solve the Mourinho mystery and point out that perhaps the darkest phase of his Chelsea career so far may have finally given way to a new dawn.
The Reasonable Roman
Everyone knows that at Chelsea Football Club, the owner calls the shots. From dabbling in player transfers to suggesting players to the scouting staff and most importantly perhaps having the final say in hiring and firing managers. Over the years, however, he seems to have cooled down a bit. Apart from the hasty a albeit successful a decision to hire Rafael Benitez, or firing the popular Roberto Di Matteo, his decisions are more thought-out now.
If they werena t, Mourinho would be out of a job by now.
The aforementioned appointment may have been the moment he realized there are other people who care almost as much, if not more, about the club than him a the fans. An almost never-before-seen negativity on the appointment of a new manager was witnessed during the Benitez reign. Such negativity was no good for the club, the fans or the players. He began to realise that without the verbal approval of fans, the club could never have a soul.
Towards the end of that season, even the slight wind of Jose Mourinho being linked to Chelsea brought the usually subdued Stamford Bridge crowd to its feet. In this environment of negativity, the Russian billionaire knew he had to bring the prodigal son back home a and keep him for longer this time.
Once home, the Portuguese had a fairly successful yet trophy-less campaign in his first season. His second saw his hard work from the previous season being rewarded with silverware. The title, they realised, is a marathon not a sprint. One needs to be patient to be successful. Given time and ample resources, Mourinho is the man for any situation, they have realized.
How long can the anarchic behaviour of the Special One Continue?
On the flip side, however, there has been an ever-increasing ill-discipline creeping into the man for some reason. That reason might well be his sidea s lack of points this season or the fact that many of their performances could have been converted to points but werena t a the exact opposite of last season.
For a man who likes nothing but winning a sometimes a stodgy 0-0 draw thrown in here and there a it was a run he could not fathom. Perhaps that is why the tantrums on the touchline, the unnecessary scuffle with his medical team et al crept in. Does it mean that if and when Chelsea get on a good run, the old a still a little undisciplined, but not losing money on fines – Jose be back? Only time will tell.
In terms of results, never before has Mourinho faced such bad times. The worst start to an English season by the club in 16 years, the worst start to a title defence of ANY in history and still sitting embarrassingly close to the bottom of the table, it has been a nightmare so far for him. But if there is any man who can get Chelsea out of this hole a the man many believe got them there in the first place a it is Mourinho himself.
Back to the basics
Following his run of bad results, there were reports that he got back to what he does best a man-manage players. He apparently held discussions with senior members of the team and got wind of the situation in the trenches.
Ever since then, a visible togetherness has begun to creep back in to the team. They are getting more solid defensively, attacking better and most importantly perhaps, getting more out of Eden Hazard than before in the season.
He might not be the most popular man outside the club or even within it, but Mourinho has struck a chord with the fans. Ever since his first interview as Chelsea manager, the fans have taken to him.
Everybody knows that the atmosphere at Stamford Bridge on match days is fairly flat to say the least. But in a recent home match against Dynamo Kyiv, in the midst of all the talk about his job security a he received the vociferous backing of the cluba s fans a a rare sight at this club. His name was sung throughout the game and it was then he knew that if not anything, the fans have his back.
At any other club, it might not have had such a bearing. At Chelsea, however, there have been instances in the past where the management went against the fansa wishes and got criticised for it. An average fan might not know about the nuances of running a football club but their emotional bond to the cluba s well-being could not be ignored anymore.
There seems to be an air of calm surrounding the club now a no hasty decisions with a view to long term success are being made. If that is indeed true, this should go down as the season where Mourinho has avoided his Chelsea Waterloo.