Jose Mourinho returns to Chelsea older, wiser, richer... but still hungry

The manager insists he is older and wiser than his first time at Chelsea

From the inside of his jacket pocket, Jose Mourinho pulled a pair of reading spectacles. Not his big heavy designer sunglasses, or, for that matter, the mock glasses he sometimes essays with his finger and thumbs to indicate to the referee – in moments of high tension – that he might have missed something crucial. These were the plain old glasses he said he needed to read the newspapers, and proof that he had well and truly hit middle-age.

"It's a different moment of my career. My kids are older. I have more grey hair. I have these glasses," he said. Later he returned to the theme after a demolition of what he regarded as the Spanish press' slavish attitude towards Iker Casillas. "The only thing that affects me is the glasses, man. I don't adapt. I need these to read a newspaper. It's the only thing. After that, I'm happier than ever with my family, to see my kids reaching fantastic ages."

He is 50 now, and nine years after he arrived at Chelsea for the first time, the attitude that Mourinho attempted to project was that of a man at ease with the world. He was no longer a man in a hurry. More grey hair than first time? Certainly, but this time he was sure that he would not get sacked even if he ended the season without the league title. He was older, he said, but just as hungry for success and not counting the "pounds in his contract".

It is an intriguing idea, whether it works in practice, we will just have to see. In many ways it was a variation on the message in his last summer as Chelsea manager in 2007 when he claimed on tour in America to have discovered the word "mellow" and applied it enthusiastically to his outlook on life. But by then Avram Grant was already peering over his shoulder, Chelsea's appetite in the transfer market had waned and by September he was gone.

He walked into the Ron Harris suite on Monday like the groom at a wedding, walking down a line of television reporters, shaking hands and patting shoulders. Later, when he briefed newspaper reporters in the club's Dolce and Gabbana suite (heavy velvet drapes, low lighting, chunky furnishings) he shook everyone's hand as if to make the point that - in case you had not noticed - this was him in non-combative mode.

In the background the backroom entourage arranged themselves on the sofas drinking coffee. The old loyalists who were here first time, like Rui Faria and Silvinho Louro. Jose Morais, who first worked with him at Inter Milan, and Steve Holland, the Englishman kept from the previous regime. Even Jorge Mendes, a "super-agent" to Mourinho and Cristiano Ronaldo among many others turned up for the coronation.

Bruce Buck and Ron Gourlay, the Chelsea chairman and chief executive were there. The only one missing, aside from technical director Michael Emenalo, was Roman Abramovich, and of course, he is all that matters. Is his new relationship with Mourinho one of long-term stability and faith in youth without the need to spend excessively to achieve success? We will just have to take Mourinho's word for it.

As usual, everyone was talking about what Roman wanted - without Roman being there to tell anyone. Asked whether he had to win the league in his first season, Mourinho said that was not an absolute requirement.

"I don't need anybody to push me to have that ambition. I have enough motivation and self-esteem myself, enough desire to do it. But if we don't do it but show an evolution in the season, show we're moving in the right direction, I think we'll be champions in the second season. I don't think it's a drama.

 "It has to be analysed in the proper way, part of a process of formation, that 75 per cent of the guys will be better next season. When you have this profile, you can't think the best will come next year. It has to come in two, three, four, five, six years time. We are speaking about boys with 10 years to play football. I'd expect to be here to win it in that second season. Of course."

Last time, when he won back to back league titles in 2004 and 2005, a feat that is unmatched by any Premier League manager other than Sir Alex Ferguson, he said, was different. "If you have a team with John Terry, William Gallas, Ricardo Carvalho, Claude Makelele, Michael Essien and Dider Drogba in the best period of their careers, you cannot ask for time. You have to win."

This time at Chelsea, they say it is about the long-term, on the agreement of two men who have made it their trademark to pursue relentless change in the time they have spent in football. All those bitter disagreements he left behind in Madrid? "Many of the things you read were not true," Mourinho shrugged with a dismissive wave of the hand.

This time he says it is different, but then even he seems to acknowledge that the rest of us will wait for the proof that this really is a new departure for him and Chelsea.

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
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

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
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
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago