'I build from within,' says Mourinho

Chelsea will not go on a buying spree says the new coach
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The Independent Online

For a coach who does not officially start work for nearly three weeks, Jose Mourinho is a man in a hurry. But then needs must, it may be suggested, at Roman Abram-ovich's Chelsea. On Thursday, a visit to The Blues' England personnel at their Manchester training camp, together with the Russian owner and the chief executive, Peter Kenyon. On Friday morning, a trip to Chelsea's Harlington training ground.

For a coach who does not officially start work for nearly three weeks, Jose Mourinho is a man in a hurry. But then needs must, it may be suggested, at Roman Abram-ovich's Chelsea. On Thursday, a visit to The Blues' England personnel at their Manchester training camp, together with the Russian owner and the chief executive, Peter Kenyon. On Friday morning, a trip to Chelsea's Harlington training ground.

Then straight back to Stamford Bridge to meet Sunday newspaper writers. He stays an hour. Would have probably remained for two if the club's press aide hadn't intervened. He speaks five languages, including decent English in a dark, stentorian tone. We have assembled, somewhat appropriately, in the Oscar Wilde Suite at Chelsea Village Hotel. What did the great man - Wilde, that is - say? "To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong affair." Chelsea's new coach is not a character to dwell on his shortcomings.

Already he is emphasising areas of intent: notably a decree that there will be no large-scale intake of new personnel - maybe two or three, and no mass influx from his last club, Porto. In doing so, he directs a contemptuous aside at his former mentor, Louis van Gaal, who was famously biased towards a Dutch intake at Barcelona.

"I don't need to bring in players I know well just because I need protection or to help my confidence," he says dismissively. "I told this to the [Chelsea's England] boys in Manchester. You can be my confidence players. I was always a critic of people who brought only players from their own country. I was in Barcelona with Louis van Gaal, who had nine Dutch players. This is something I don't want.

"It shows two things. That you are not so self-confident as you think you are. It's like a young boy who goes on holiday with his parents all the time because he is afraid to go on his own. It also shows that you are not such a good professional, because you only know players from your own country."

This from the man who wasted no time in assaulting his predecessor Claudio Ranieri's reputation; he is seemingly determined to confirm the impression that he is no lover of diplomacy. "I think we will have new players," he adds. "But not many. I want to improve the team by adapting it to my playing style."

Mourinho has already stated that he intends a cull of his outfield personnel. That procedure has begun immediately, with the loan of Juan Veron to Internazionale. However, it is evident that he regards Frank Lampard and John Terry as the backbone of his squad, together with Wayne Bridge and Joe Cole. "They are all four the future of Chelsea," he says.

Club discipline also features heavily among his list of priorities. "The first day of the season they [the players] will get a document with internal rules, about a lot of things," he says. "For example, if the medical department gives a player a timesheet about treatment, and he doesn't go..." The Chelsea manager gestures a slitting of the throat. "If the injured player is French, he cannot go on a three-day holiday to Paris. The punishment will be money or [he pauses, before pointing to his elbow] out of the club."

He adds: "That sheet includes diet and everything else. I don't say, 'No drink', but we must understand when and how. You play on a Saturday and your next game is the next Saturday, if you drink a little it is not bad.

"But if you are playing on a Saturday then play Real Madrid in the Champions' League on the Tuesday, if you don't drink your recovery time is much quicker. I don't want to have 24 spies, I just want the players to train every day at a high level. To achieve that, they cannot go to bed at three in the morning."

Mourinho is adamant that he will not countenance cliques. "You go to the dressing room, maybe you find an English corner, a French corner and, at some clubs, a black corner. I don't like any of that.

"You cannot close in your culture or nationality. I am ready to speak with players privately in their language, but the language spoken in the dressing room has to be English. If they don't know it, they must study."

I ask him about his management style. Is he a tea-cup chucker? He smiles, just slightly. "At Porto, Vitor Baia was next to a bin that I kicked. I did it on purpose. What I didn't expect was for the garbage to go over him. But I did it because it was needed. It was a match against Benfica where we were drawing 1-1. Most of the time you should go there [the dressing room] and not lose your head. We got the right reaction, as we won the match. I felt some players were not brave enough. They are not afraid of me, but they felt my frustration."

He is asked about a possible conflict between Abram-ovich's desire for expansive football and his own more pragmatic approach, apparent at Porto. Mourinho asks us to accept that there was considerable difference between Porto's league performances and those in the Champions' League. "If you have a Ferrari and I have a small car, I only have one chance to beat you. I have to do something to break your wheel - or put sugar in your engine. The Champions' League for us was a bit like this, because Porto wasn't one of the eight best. To achieve things we had play a certain way. In the league it was different."

And the Premier League. Can he win it immediately? "I have to think it, but I don't say we are going to win because there are top teams, top players, top managers in England. One thing I will promise - if you give me four years I will win the championship."

Frankly, it is difficult to imagine Abramovich's pat-ience extending that far. But one thing is for certain: Mourinho has set himself up to make a mighty splash in the Premiership pool. Or drown in the process.

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