LONDON, ENGLAND – Chest pumps, high fives and handshakes could only symbolize one thing, Jose Mourinho was back not only to his best but back to the Barclays Premier League. We have heard over recent weeks how Chelsea are not ready for the title and are a team in transition but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
In 2004 when Mourinho arrived at Chelsea, he was criticized for Chelsea’s boring style of play and he replied “I am currently working on all areas of the team, when I get to the attack…..” When he did get to the attack we saw such a flamboyant style of play that saw Chelsea shatter all records in the Barclays Premier League.
In comparison to this season, Chelsea has steadily progressed with John Terry returning to his best and Eden Hazard staking his claim to being one of, if not the best young player on the planet.
We’ve heard time and time again how he craved to be in a place where he was loved, the love he has at Chelsea is definitely addictive. The media has fallen in love with him all over again and that extra element missing in England is now complete. The mind games have returned. “we are a little horse in the title race”, I don’t think I have seen a little horse except it was a donkey.
Wait for a second and you realise that Mourinho has the same blueprint he uses at every club he’s been. Captivate the media to take attention away from the players, accept blame in defeat so the players don’t lose confidence and most importantly give them all the credit when they dazzle.
The playing personnel are no different, Mourinho loves his defenders to be tough and rugged. His midfielders to be versatile and fit, his attackers to be fast and deadly in front of goal. At Porto, he had Ricardo Carvahlo similar to John Terry (Carvalho did rejoin him at Chelsea and Real Madrid), he had Deco and Costinha in midfield and in attack he had Derli, Mcarthy and Alienichev. At Inter Milan, he had Zanetti in defence, Stankovic in midfield and Sneijder in attack. At Real Madrid, he simply had RONALDO.
In Eden Hazard he has a player similar to Arjen Robben and Damien Duff in his first spell in charge. In Ramirez he has a versatile and more agile version of Claude Makelele. In recently signed Nemanja Matic he has a younger Frank Lampard who terrorised defences all those years ago in 2005 and 2006. One thing is clear, they are similar type of players only with different applications.
Mourinho’s teams have always had a pattern of play, use the ball effectively when you have it and chase it down when you have it not (Juan Mata anyone….). The recent victory over Manchester City taught us one thing, when it comes to providing a tactical master class when it matters most, nobody does it better than Mourinho. When Inter Milan met Barcelona in the Champions League Semi-Final first leg at the San Siro in 2010, it was expected by many that Mourinho would pack the bus, however his tactics showed that he brought a specially made BMW and ran Barcelona off the pitch. Wesley Sneijder went on to say after the game “the way we prepared, we had no doubt in our minds that we were going to win that game”. In contrast he did pack the trailer in the second leg at the Nou Camp.
A decade after he built the first Chelsea team that went on to win the Barclays Premier League three times, the FA Cup, Capital One Cup, Uefa Europa League and the Champions League, he is ready to do it again and ensure Chelsea are a force to be reckoned with over the next decade.
That’s genius, pure genius no doubt.