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
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones