Monday, 3 June 2013

Jose's Bridge too far?

Jose's Real time represented his first career crisis
The old football maxim, Never Go Back springs to mind. Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool? Kevin Keegan at Newcastle, Pamela Anderson at Baywatch. Careers go south quickly, you know!

On the face of it, Jose's second coming looks to be a great return. He was the man who made Fergie buckle at Manchester United with two successive Premier League titles, an FA Cup and two League Cups.

But I say, Jose II of Chelsea has found "any port in a storm".

Overlooked for the jobs at Old Trafford, Manchester City, Bayern Munich – and firmly shown the "mutual consent door" at the Bernabeu, Mourinho's cultivated a reputation for itinerance in an era of continuity.

It's only Chelsea that suited Mourinho. A marriage of convenience in a less than ideal world, some say. There was no other elite club for him. 

Respected for his track record? undoubtedly. But gazed on lovingly from the lofty heights of the boardroom? Not so much.

Young Jose could do no wrong
The Special One's glister is tarnished. Without a trophy in his last season at Madrid and having fallen out with senior players and media too, this isn’t the Mourinho who stormed into the Bridge nine years ago having won the Champions League with Porto.

And one of the biggest names in football agrees.

“Mourinho will never win a prize again,” Johann Cruyff told the Sun. “I think that because of the way he acted in Madrid. He blamed everyone and everybody when something went wrong in Madrid.

“And he is playing games with people who are working there. Mourinho himself played an unbelievably negative part in his Madrid years. First he moved out general manager Jorge Valdano and later he did the same with director of football Zinedine Zidane.

“And in the end he dropped Iker Casillas, the captain of the Spanish national team.

“This behaviour does not work in football, it only works in paralysing the dressing room. That’s why it didn’t work out in the end in Madrid and that’s why I think Mourinho will not succeed any more.”

Jose was famed for his thorough tactics at Chelsea and Inter and instilled a belief in his players that it was impossible to concede goals.

But he let Robert Lewandowski score four against his Real defence in the Champions League semi this season. Young Jose wouldn’t have let that happen.

Young Jose was fired up to prove everyone wrong. But midlife Jose is coasting now and his arrival at the Bridge is a massive payday based on his decade of decoration - not his masterplan for the years ahead.

But the 50-year-old believes he has plenty of gas in the tank, "I feel the people at Chelsea love me and in life you have to look for that".

The meaningful love he needs is from Roman Abramovich. Five-and-a-half years ago, Roman lavished millions on Jose to get him out of the door. Now, after a parade of the world's greatest managers in the Stamford Bridge dugout, Jose suddenly fits the bill again.

And if he can engender a togetherness absent in Madrid, Jose may prove his detractors wrong with a very good squad that he's inherited.

Have a free £25 bet with William Hill (T&C's apply)