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5 Things We Learned From Mourinho's Interview With CTV

5 Things We Learned From Mourinho's Interview With CTV
By Declan Johnston Updated
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[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilJ_8Aw5CMA[/youtube]

On June 2 2004, José Mourinho became the Lord of Stamford Bridge. Holding court before an assorted press pack who had never seen the like of the Portuguese, he famously declared himself as 'not just one from a bottle, but a special one.' What followed were three-and-a-half years of unprecedented success at Chelsea, with Mourinho dethroning Sir Alex Ferguson and assembling a record-breaking side. Relations soured though between Mourinho and his overlords, and a painful parting of ways came about in September 2007. Now he returns from his exile, nine years and a day after his first arrival, but his latest coronation bears little resemblance to his 2004 crowning.

1. He's a lot calmer than he used to be...

The Mourinho of 2004 is a different animal to the Mourinho of 2013. Last time around Mourinho had just completed a whirlwind tour of Europe having masterminded Porto's Champions League final victory in Gelsenkirchen and met the reclusive Roman Abramovich aboard his yacht off the south coast of France in the previos week. Then he was in a sharp grey shirt and suit, throwing out memorable sleep-deprived and adrenaline-high inspired quotes to waiting journalists. This time he sits with just one reporter for a half hour in a sports jacket and t-shirt combination, with his hair more salt than pepper. Smiling, he repeats the word 'happy' throughout the interview. Undoubtedly, he has reached a mid-life epiphany and seems a lot less on edge than ever before, remarking himself "I am the same nature, but much more mature with a different approach to things."

2. ...but he's just as ambitious.

That said, it is not in the nature of a man who quit business school on the very first day to pursue his coaching career to simply enjoy the ride. Mourinho is definitely at Chelsea to win. He was at pains to make sure that nobody would mistake happiness for a lack of ambition. "I am not here to be comfortable. I am not here just because I know they will sing my name as soon as I am in the door. I need that pressure on me like it is my first time here." Mourinho will retain his backroom staff structure - a combination of his tried and trusted comrades, who have followed him from as far back as his spell at small Portugese club União Leiria and local knowledge in the shape of existing backroom staff members Chris Jones, Cristophe Lollichon and Steve Holland - which has been a key part of his methodology throughout his career. He is already ready to go and is thinking about the next game, just as he was in 2004, "I don't need a holiday. Players need holidays, I don't need holidays."

3. Mourinho and Chelsea are in love and will work to make it last this time

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When Mourinho and Chelsea went their different ways in September 2007, the pair still seemed destined to be together, despite the difficulties in Mourinho's last twelve months at the club. As they are finally reunited, Mourinho's language is all that of a man who has returned to his former lover, swearing that she was the only one who ever understood him and that he returns a changed man, "The split was good. I think we are ready to marry again...I belong to them and they belong to me." He also promises that this time will be different, "I am now just fifty, I am now just finished my lap around the Europe of football." He now talks about evolution and long term success for the first time. It is almost as if the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson has inspired Mourinho to aim to take his place in the footballing landscape, "I think [I am] much more ready to establish myself in the club and stay for a long time." Years of abuse at the hands of the Italian and Spanish media have convinced him that he now understands that the only ones that truly love him are the English and the decision to return was an easy one. "I met the boss, I met the owner, I think in five minutes after a couple of short but very pragmatic questions we decided I think straight away. I asked the boss do you want me back? And the boss asked me do you want to come back?"

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4. There probably won't be a big clear out this Summer

Everyone has been suggesting that Chelse are set to spend big this summer and clear out the deadwood in their squad. Benitez suggested that the incoming manager would have plenty to spend, but this has been the case every summer for the last decade and the likes of Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, John Terry and Petr Cech have survived every time. It seems too that Mourinho is in no hurry to get rid of them. When asked what his priority was, he said "I must improve the team. And when I talk about improving the team, people will already be thinking how many millions are Chelsea going to spend? When I talk about improving the team, I mean improving by work. My work has to improve players and my work has to improve the team. Buying a few players would be fantastic. But my work has to be the priority." He spoke frequently about needing a squad with a mix of youth and experience, "I like the profile. I like the fact that we have these three, four, five players from the beginning of winning with Chelsea and I think they are part of the Chelsea soul. And I am so happy that we are keeping some of these boys from when Chelsea started to win."

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5. Chelsea want less of a circus this time around...but you never know with Mourinho

Chelsea clearly would like Mourinho to stick around this time after years of experimenting with replacements and have offered him a four year contract. After the failure of the Villas-Boas project, it seems that only Mourinho can possibly bring stability to Chelsea. Ironic considering the upheavel he seems to bring to every other club. Chelsea have tried to fill a Mourinho shaped hole with several managers since 2007, but it appears there is only one man for the job. That said, they are less keen on the media circus that accompanied Mourinho everywhere during his first spell at Chelsea. There were no headline grabbing questions from Chelsea Tv about being 'the special one' and controversial topics were largely bypassed. They would like the marriage to last this time and they clearly see less histrionics as a key part of that. Mourinho on the other hand, is oxymoronically consistently unpredictable.

 

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