Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughMourinho's return has not been overstated - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Mourinho's return has not been overstated - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Mourinho’s return has not been overstated

With the recent retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho now has an unrivalled aura of respectability over any manager in the game today.


As one of the few coaches to get the better of the former United chief in his 26-year reign at Old Trafford, ‘The Special One’ certainly has the credentials to back up his moniker.  Mourinho joined Chelsea in 2004 and immediately led the Blues to back-to-back league titles, the first of these being only the club’s second ever.  After fifty years of waiting to be named champions again, achieving it twice in quick succession earned the Portuguese manager legend status amongst the Stamford Bridge faithful.

The impact Mourinho has on teams is perhaps best illustrated by an unbeaten home record stretching over nine years.  In February 2002, barely a month into his job at Porto, he suffered a 3-2 defeat to Beira-Mar at Estadio das Antas.  Clearly not enjoying the experience of having his team lose a league game on their own turf, he somehow ensured it would not happen again until April 2011, by which point he was in charge of Real Madrid.  Prior to that, he won 94% of Porto’s home matches in his first full season in charge at the club, before going on to impressively master the art by winning 100% in his second.  Anyone doubting the difficulty of achieving such a feat with one of the most famous teams in Portugal would soon be silenced, as Mourinho led the side to victory in the 2004 Champions League, winning the club only their second ever European Cup.

Sandwiched between dominance in his home country and making the San Siro a fortress for Inter Milan was Mourinho’s trophy-laden spell at Chelsea.  As part of his unbeaten home record, Mourinho never lost a league game at Stamford Bridge.  This was by far the most impressive part of the run, given that he hosted 60 games in the Premier League, winning 46 of those.  Despite the success, it could be argued that Manchester United were not as much of a threat when the Portuguese manager arrived on English shores in 2004.  After all, the previous season had seen the Red Devils come third, which remains as low as they have finished since the inception of the Premier League.  Even without United, though, there was still a very serious challenge to overcome in Arsenal, who had just been named champions of England without losing a single league game.  One of the most dominant forces in Europe, the Gunners had finished no lower than second since 1998, in which time Arsene Wenger had led them to three Premier League titles.  Mourinho, however, ensured they would have to settle for being runners up to Chelsea in 2005, a position which would be seen as an improvement now after several third and fourth placed finishes.

Unemployed Kenny Dalglish and Roberto Mancini both have one Premier League title win each, whilst Arsene Wenger currently remains the manager with the most who isn’t named Sir Alex Ferguson.  The return of Mourinho, who has overseen only three seasons in England’s top flight compared to Wenger’s 17, could change all that.

As much less outspoken characters, David Moyes and Manuel Pellegrini will take the reins at Manchester United and Manchester City respectably.  Having been placed in charge at two of the world’s most powerful clubs, the new bosses know the pressures of the job and the high expectations they face.

Mourinho has the advantage of entering Chelsea with something he had to earn the first time around: the ultimate trust and respect of his own supporters.  And if you’re trying to remember the last person who had that, look no further than a recently retired 71-year-old.