Second ‘first’ Cup could be crucial for Jose Mourinho

Chelsea manager knows triumph in Capital One Cup could help to usher in new era of silverware

Jose Mourinho knows all about the importance of the first win. The highest hurdle for any team to clear is the first one. Many potentially good teams – Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle, or even Emirates-era Arsenal – never won that opening trophy, the one that could have delivered them into the elite.

Chelsea, it must be said, are not exactly strangers to success, even since Mourinho left six years ago. They won the Europa League in May, of course, and the Champions League and FA Cup in 2012.

But this is still a young squad, with just a few players – Petr Cech, John Terry and Frank Lampard – who remember the relentless triumphs of Mourinho’s first spell. Eden Hazard and Oscar have not yet won a domestic trophy with Chelsea. Kevin de Bruyne, Marco van Ginkel, André Schürrle and Willian have won nothing here at all.

Mourinho has spoken all season about the difference between this squad and the one he left behind in 2007, and how much he is relishing the new challenge of bringing on a younger team than he has managed before. “It is more difficult to keep trying to win and trying to be successful, while at the same time developing young players while giving an identity to the team,” he said at his unveiling in June. “It is more difficult.”

It is still too early to make predictions about this season’s trophies, though Chelsea will not be far away from the top in the Premier League. But, aside from the intrinsic value of winning trophies – which is, after all, the point of the game – winning something this season might help this young team to take the biggest prizes in future.

This is how it was nine years ago, in Mourinho’s first season. That team was not quite as young as this, but it did include the first Premier League seasons of Cech, Arjen Robben, Didier Drogba, Mateja Kezman, Ricardo Carvalho and Paulo Ferreira.

In February 2005, Chelsea went to the Millennium Stadium to face Liverpool in the final of what was then the Carling Cup. This was not a Chelsea team that was struggling, but it was the closest they came to a possible wobble in 2004-05. In the previous week they had been knocked out of the FA Cup 1-0 by Newcastle United before losing their Champions League last-16 first leg 2-1 in Barcelona, prompting the famous controversy between Mourinho and referee Anders Frisk.

Defeat in Cardiff and the wheels might well have started to slip off.  But Chelsea beat Liverpool 3-2, thanks to a Steven Gerrard own goal, before Drogba and Kezman scored in extra-time. It was Chelsea’s first trophy since the 2000 FA Cup. Mourinho knew afterwards how historically important that win would be.

“We now have the first title and almost for sure we will have the second one – and the second one will be the big one,” he said in the aftermath, and not long later Chelsea did win their first ever Premier League title.

“I’m very happy to win. It’s important for the fans, for the club and especially for the players. It’s very difficult to win for the first time and for these players it is the first time so it is important.”

As Mourinho sensed, much more success followed. Chelsea retained their Premier League title, before winning the League Cup again and the FA Cup in Mourinho’s third and final full season in charge. This team may eventually do as well as that one, but they will have to start somewhere. And the Capital One Cup – in which they travel to Arsenal tonight – could be the place where they start.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police