Monday, June 3, 2013

Jose Mourinho Set For Chelsea Return - Can He Re-Work His Magic?

Jose Mourinho outright declared on Spanish television that he expects to be unveiled as the next Chelsea manager by the end of the week. There has been tremendous levels of speculation surrounding a possible Mourinho return to Chelsea with numerous sources reporting that it is as good as a done deal. The quirky manager has maintained that he wants to go where he is loved and there is little doubt he is loved by Chelsea fans. He is far and away the fan's favourite to fill the position vacated by interim Rafael Benitez.

Mourinho managed Chelsea between 2004 and 2007. He left in September 2007 after serious disagreements with the clubs billionaire owner Roman Abramovich. During his tenure Mourinho won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and two league cup titles. He oversaw one of the most successful periods in the club's history.

During his time in England, Mourinho won the fascination of fans and media alike. In an early press conference he declared himself the 'special one'. He would coach an extremely disciplined style and quickly show himself as a manager who attempted to connect with his players. Mourinho's eccentric personality will be welcomed back wholeheartedly by the Chelsea fan base and football fans across England.

Still, Mourinho's return will not guarantee success for this Chelsea club. Both the English Premier League landscape and Chelsea as a club has changed significantly since he left in 2007.

When Mourinho last managed in the EPL, Manchester City and Tottenham had significantly less cash to spend, Manchester United were in the midst of a financial change with the Glazer family taking control and Chelsea were a club with unlimited resources and the opportunity for Mourinho to build an essentially fresh squad.

The time was ripe for a period of Chelsea dominance and Mourinho took complete advantage. Since that period he has proven his managerial pedigree winning the Serie A title and Champions League title with Inter Milan and the La Liga title with Real Madrid.

His recent frustrations with Madrid might suggest a blemish on his CV, but the reality is that Mourinho ended a period of Barcelona dominance to an extent. He may have failed to bring a Champions League title back to Real Madrid, but he did appear in three straight semi-finals, which isn't the 'poor' performance that some suggest it might be.

Reports suggest that Mourinho will have funds to spend this summer. However, there's little doubt that stepping in at Chelsea will be the biggest challenge of his career so far. He inherits a squad full of players that some may feel don't fit his style and he will need to make important decisions about the likes of John Terry and Frank Lampard in terms of their playing time.

He will face the challenge of attempting to dislodge the Premier League title from the city of Manchester. He may return to England well-loved, but even Mourinho won't be protected at a club that is still viciously run by Abramovich. Mourinho will become Chelsea's third new manager in three seasons. This is despite the fact that the club has won the Champions League, Europa Cup and FA Cup in the last two seasons.

Success is expected and it won't be easy to achieve, even for the 'special one'.

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