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Mourinho Challenging Carlo To Do Better

I remember having a distinct dislike for Jose Mourinho when he was At Porto. I mean, aside from seeming to do a decent job there, there wasn’t that much to like really.  He was just arrogance personified, so when he was linked to us – to put it mildly, I was not impressed.

Like anyone else who wasn’t all that keen on replacing the quietly spoken, shy and retiring Ranieri for some brash, cocky mouthpiece, the fact he’d already hinted he’d prefer Liverpool ahead of us, didn’t help his cause either. Prior to taking his highly paid position at Stamford Bridge, Jose Mourinho claimed “Liverpool are a team that interests everyone and Chelsea does not interest me so much because it is a new project with lots of money invested in it.  I think it is a project which, if the club fail to win everything, then (Roman) Abramovich could retire and take the money out of the club.  It’s an uncertain project.  It is interesting for a coach to have the money to hire quality players but you never know if a project like this will bring success.”

Of course we know he did an about-turn when Benitez was offered Liverpool ahead of him and needless to say we all quickly regarded that arrogant, self-obsession somehow as part of his charm. Then again, maybe it was the shiny silver stuff and back-to-back titles that had us seeing things differently? Anyhow, despite Mourinho’s misgivings about Abramovich taking his money back out of Chelsea and ‘retiring’, as we all know, with a downturn in form and an upturn in publicity, it was Mourinho Roman eventually tired of, not Chelsea. 

Still, it’s good to see the Inter Milan manager isn’t bitter at all. Well, he can’t be bitter can he? Because only a week ago, no doubt with our forthcoming Champions League game in mind, Mourinho was saying Will Chelsea ­become European ­champions? Certainly.  When? They’re nearly there.  If not this year, then next year.  As always, I hope Inter can go all the way in the competition, but that’s also difficult. You need a bit of luck at the right moments, but if we play like we did in some games we can beat Chelsea.  On the day of the match I will stay cool, although I know it won’t be easy. I had a beautiful time there.  I can’t forget that I’ll be playing against friends.”

So he’s obviously let go of any ill-feeling around and realises life didn’t end for us with his departure. Or is that because he’s convinced himself life hasn’t gone on for us? Because having watched us back in December, the former ‘Special One’ commented “When I look at that team, only Branislav Ivanovic and Nicolas Anelka are not players from my time. All the other boys are boys from my time.  It’s a team without secrets for me.  Even the warm-up is the warm-up they did in our time. The way they defend set-pieces is exactly the same.  Sometimes they play a 4-4-2 diamond, sometimes they play 4-3-3, which are exactly the systems we worked there.  It is the quality of a good coach – and Carlo Ancelotti is a good coach – to understand how the players feel most comfortable. Instead of making crazy changes, just fine-tune, which is normal to keep a winning structure.  Ancelotti is very good and the team feels comfortable. The team really is top, one of the best in the world.”

Mind you, conveniently forgetting the poor form we were in at the time of his departure, the former Chelsea manager is careful to point out we’re nowhere near as good without him, saying “Chelsea have suffered in the last two years, and it’s no coincidence that their decline happened after I left.  We had a unique relationship as a manager, players and fans, and when you break that, it’s not easy to fix. They’ve had a lot of Coaches since and maybe some didn’t have the mentality for the club. Maybe they tried to change too much of what we put in place.  I knew there was no time for a long-term plan with the owner they have at Stamford Bridge. You must win the title in your first season or say bye-bye. I gave them what they needed but I always knew it wasn’t a job that would last forever. Maybe they would’ve been better off sticking with me than changing manager when they did.”

Is getting to a Champions League final really ‘suffering’? Losing in the final on penalties might well be as close a definition of real suffering as it comes, but at least we got there in the first place. I guess Jose was so consumed with sympathy for us that must have slipped his mind eh? Much the same as him previously suggesting he should have left us sooner anyway!

And bearing in mind these are all ‘players from his time’, shouldn’t some credit go to our current manager for not needing to lash out the sort of money he had himself? Well, compliments don’t appear to be part of Mourinho’s vocabulary where Carlo Ancelotti is concerned. If anything, Mourinho seems to be suggesting he’s the one who has to put in all the hard work to get any praise whereas Ancelotti  apparently just needs to turn up to get a pat on the back. Mourinho insists “Ancelotti is no friend of mine and this won’t change. In England, you’re shown respect if you’re a foreign Coach who comes in and offers his experience and knowledge.  But in Italy, this respect only comes if you’re born as an Italian. Someone like me, the foreigner, isn’t considered worthy of being here. This is why I say I was happier working in England.  Inter have asked me to try to win the Champions League for them, and I’ll attempt to give them this – so they’re stuck with me for a little while yet!”

Still, not one to blow his own trumpet, ahead of our Champions League meeting, Mourinho suggests “Now we have to play an important couple of matches against Chelsea and this is obviously a very special game for me.  But I’m a part of Chelsea’s history forever and they’ll always be a big part of me. Let’s see if Ancelotti can finish his time at Chelsea with a record as good as mine!”

Show him Carlo!



Blue is the colour is an honest insight to the World of Chelsea FC. Not always pretty, sometimes rather cynical, but always realistic.


February 2010
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