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.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Sport
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
i100
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
News
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam