Sam Wallace on the return of Jose Mourinho: There will be laughs, trophies and blood at Chelsea

The 'Special One' will put Chelsea on the edge - for better or worse

It is a measure of the expectation that surrounds Jose Mourinho that even the press conference to introduce him as the Chelsea manager for the second time, scheduled for Monday, will be measured against the one that thrust him into the consciousness of English football nine years ago.

On that occasion he memorably declared himself "the Special One", a moniker that was immediately adopted by the British press, delighted that here was a man who was unafraid to give himself top billing. "Please do not call me arrogant because what I say is true," Mourinho said that day. "I'm European champion, I'm not one out of the bottle, I think I'm a special one."

At his best, when he chose to play the crowd with his instinctive understanding of what pricked the imagination of a British audience, Mourinho was plain funny. During his last spell as Chelsea manager he declared himself more afraid of avian bird flu - it was the topic du jour in 2007 - than being sacked by Roman Abramovich.

He described in detail his efforts to outwit the Metropolitan police when they came to seize his children's pet dog, a Yorkshire terrier called Leya, which had not been given the necessary vaccinations. It was passed over the fence in his Belgravia home to a sympathetic neighbour and spirited out the country, still, to our knowledge, a fugitive from British justice.

And then there were the trophies. He first arrived in Britain in 2004 when Arsenal were top dogs, so to speak, and Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United were going through a transitional stage. He returns with United back on top of the tree but with only one manager other than himself - Arsene Wenger - having won a Premier League title before.

In just about every press conference in those first two seasons in which he won back-to-back titles, Mourinho would tell us that it was not just about the hundreds of millions of pounds that Roman Abramovich was pouring into Chelsea. It was about the ability of the manager too. If we doubted him then, the struggles of the likes of Luiz Felipe Scolari and Andre Villas-Boas since then have proved his point.

Carlo Ancelotti won the double in 2010, the only Chelsea manager other than Mourinho to win the Premier League. Guus Hiddink won the FA Cup. Roberto Di Matteo won the Champions League and the FA Cup. Rafa Benitez won the Europa League. But none of them have come close to dominating English football for two seasons in the way that Mourinho did between 2004 and 2006.

No other manager, other than Sir Alex Ferguson has won consecutive titles. And since he left Chelsea in September 2007, Mourinho has won the league in Italy and Spain and added a second European Cup at Inter Milan to the one he won at Porto.

And yet, as ever with Mourinho, you can be sure that there will be blood. He will pick fights because that is what he does. He left the Real Madrid dressing room divided and embittered, as is obvious from Alvaro Arbeloa's outspoken criticism of his team-mates reported this morning in The Independent. Already the suggestion is that Mourinho wants Fernando Torres and David Luiz out the club, two players who have become very influential figures at Chelsea with the decline of the English contingent's dressing room influence.

Mourinho stirs conflict because it suits his endlessly restless approach to management. His desire to shake everyone up and allow no-one to linger in the comfort zone was an integral part of his success at Chelsea, as it was in the 26 years that Ferguson spent at United. But where Mourinho failed was that so often he lit the flame and could then not prevent it from engulfing the whole house.

The likes of Juan Mata, Oscar and Eden Hazard, the three No 10s upon whom Chelsea's attacking game is based are not the kind if players that one would immediately associate with Mourinho. Certainly his first Chelsea team was one of often breathtaking athleticism and power who could handle the physical battle first as well as blitz opposition.

There will have to be some measure of compromise between Mourinho and the Chelsea of 2013 that he now finds himself in charge of. When he arrived in 2004 it was a very different show. Abramovich had spent heavily - and not always wisely - in his first year and Mourinho's surefootedness in the transfer market was welcomed.

The Russian billionaire knows football better now. Whether Mourinho is in a better position to handle his demands is a very different story. He manages on the edge, and on the edge is where Chelsea will be - for better or for worse - for as long as he lasts second time around.

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

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own