Beware! Mourinho has his mojo back as Chelsea begin new era of dominance

Monday, March 2, 2015
Jose Mourinho

© varzesh11 - Jose Mourinho

The Portuguese lifted his first trophy since 2012 as Spurs were defeated 2-0 in the Capital One Cup final - and this is just the start of a new winning cycle for The Blues

For the first time since his return to Chelsea, Jose Mourinho truly looked like ‘the happy one’ on Sunday as he frolicked in the rain with his players, pumped his fists towards the crowd and produced a winning smile for the television cameras.

It reflected a sense that the 2-0 victory over Tottenham in the Capital One Cup final at Wembley was just the start for the second coming of Mourinho, the first step towards dominance for a team that had been in transition when he first returned in the summer of 2013.

They say never go back in football, but Mourinho looks in the mood to eclipse his record of winning five trophies in his first spell at Stamford Bridge between 2004 and 2007.

By his own admission, a ‘drought’ of almost three years since he last won a trophy felt like 20 for Mourinho - but the Portuguese can now remember the winning feeling off which he thrives.

“I went two years without a trophy and it looked like 20 years, even for myself,” Mourinho said.

“It’s important to feel like I’m a kid, it is important that before the game I had the same feelings as before my first final. It is important for me to feel like a kid at 52 years old.

“I feed myself with titles. It’s difficult for me to live without feeding myself with titles even though I know we are building things.

“For the club it is one more cup, but it is the first one of a new team.”

This may be Chelsea version 2.0 for Mourinho, but on the big occasion this season they have played very much like the original creation under their ruthless arch pragmatist.

Against Spurs, Mourinho started with five defenders on the pitch as he selected Kurt Zouma in midfield to strangle the game and deny Tottenham chances.

The message was to defend first in the knowledge that chances would come at the other end. That is exactly what happened as they eventually secured a comfortable victory thanks to strikes from captain John Terry and a Kyle Walker own goal.

Mourinho was never going to allow Tottenham the same space they were given when the north London club beat them 5-3 on New Year’s Day. The change in two months is a sign of intelligence, of winners, of a team that learns from their mistakes.

All that mattered was to break his own duck and start a new era.

This is the Mourinho that won trophies in every calendar year between 2003 and 2012, the ultimate tactician.

For all the thrilling attacking football in the early part of the season, you never sensed that Mourinho felt comfortable with watching Chelsea play such an expansive game.

It was too risky, and in the important matches last season, like the 1-1 draw with Manchester City in January, he has reverted to type. Jose Mourinho teams are built from the back.

It might be pushing it a little to say that Sunday was the day that Chelsea won two titles, but Liverpool’s victory over Manchester City leaves the Premier League title within their grasp, too.

Even this young, evolving Chelsea team will not throw away a five-point advantage - with a game in hand - with Mourinho steering the ship.

Mourinho will know that the League Cup alone is not enough. It is at the bottom of Chelsea’s list of priorities but he believes it is the springboard for the prizes that define careers.

That was the case when he won it for the first time with Chelsea a decade ago and went on to clinch the Premier League that season.

And it should be the start of better things to come this time around as the Blues fight for the title and remain in the Champions League this season. A league and cup double is beginning to look almost certain and the west London club are the only Premier League side with a genuine chance of conquering Europe this season. Why not a treble?

For the first time in his career, Mourinho has been tasked with building a dynasty.

He has a young, balanced squad brimming with talent and potential. The likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Thibaut Courtois are still some years from their peak and working under the perfect manager to fulfil their potential.

“Finals are for winning,” was Mourinho’s simple assessment in his post-match press conference.

Chelsea have the ultimate winner creating a team of champions - and he is back in the mood.


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