Like a lot of people I watched Mourinho’s news conference on his return to Chelsea just waiting for his proclamation, after all he is the master of the sound bite but alas such a sound bite never came. So what does this mean? Has Mourinho lost his edge? Or was he simply playing nice with the press before the serious business starts?
In his time away Mourinho has never been off of the Chelsea fans radar, from his triumphs with Inter to his low points at Real Madrid, all Chelsea fans have really wanted to see was the return of “The a Special One” and it always seemed inevitable. After all owner Roman Abramovich lost a lot of fans with his callous dismissal of Roberto Di Mateo only to replace him with “The Interim One” (who actually Chelsea fans, didn’t do a lot wrong! And it was good to see he got a good leaving reception) the appointment should get those fans back on board.
So what does Mourinho need to do to succeed at Chelsea? Firstly don’t do what he did at Madrid and fall out with the senior members of the team, as this has been the downfall of more than one Chelsea manager since himself. Mourinho is unlikely to do anything too drastic with the squad and has already hinted that Terry will play a more prominent role and you would also imagine Lampard as well and they are the two players Chelsea fans will vehemently defend.
Cech would be an area of concern if I were him, gone is the imposing keeper who would come and get anything that was in the 18 yard box and at times last year he looked short of confidence in his own considerable ability. The only problem I foresee with this is that with Hilario & Turnbull recently released and Courtois now spending his 3rd season at Athletico Madrid there is no one left at Chelsea to push him to get his own standards back to where Chelsea fans expect them.
There is the enigma of David Luiz as well. Is he a center back or a defensive midfield player? I would speculate he will continue in a defensive midfield role as I think he is a bit too accident prone to be in such a pivotal role as center back, but then where does that leave the returning Essien? Who just a few years ago was probably the best in the premiership at protecting his back four before seemingly falling down the pecking order. In reality the players in front of the defensive midfielder basically pick themselves with Mata,Hazard,Lampard and Oscar all pretty much without competition. Interestingly everyone forgets that Chelsea own Kevin de Bruyn who is currently out on loan but possess bags of talent and a sharp eye for creating and finishing chances. de Bruyn seems to be a product of the golden generation Belgium are enjoying at the minute and it would be certainly be worth a gamble to bring him to Chelsea to see how he links up with compatriots Hazard & Lukaku.
The final piece of the Chelsea puzzle would be the forwards, Chelsea have 4 to choose from, the mercurial Fernando Torres who shows a lot of confidence and works hard for the team but just can’t seem to live up to his price tag, Demba Ba who had a fantastic last half of the season with his new team mates, Romelu Lukaku who showed what happens when he gets regular first team football and service. I personally think in Lukaku Mourinho has all the raw talent he had last time he was at Chelsea and had with Drogba, although perhaps with a lesser temperament than the Ivorian. Finally the newest piece of the puzzle Andre Schurrle presents a bit of a dilemma for Mourinho, ideally with the quality of the midfielders he has you would think he would want to play with a lone striker and Schurrle would be the one who I would doubt could play that role as he doesn’t have a massive conversion rate but we shall see.
Overall Mourinho may take time to bed back down in the premiership as a lot has changed since he left. but I would bet the timid Mourinho wouldn’t be around for too long.