“Jose is not used to being without trophies. He wants to win something and this year it has to happen. With the squad they have, they need to win something.” said Ruud Gullit, former Chelsea player cum manager, and now a pundit for Sky Sports. And he couldn’t have put it in a better way.
Jose Mourinho, at such a young age has won trophies many veterans can’t even dream of. Two UEFA Champions League titles and several domestic trophies in four different countries with F.C. Porto, Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid. Winning trophies is a habit for Jose. And this season he has to display his habit with lethal execution because Roman Abramovich, like Jose Mourinho himself, can not stand failure. His second stint at Chelsea has already seen one trophy-less season. A second successive trophy-less season and Jose might be told that he has overstayed his welcome.
Last year, when Jose arrived for a second spell at Chelsea, he inherited Andre Villas Boas’/Roberto Di Matteo’s squad. Still, he did a good job when we consider that Chelsea did not lose to any of the other title contenders, even did the double on eventual champions Manchester City and runners-up Liverpool, and conceded the least amount of goals in the whole league. Yet failure to score enough against so-called weaker opposition saw Chelsea miss out on the league and the domestic cups as well. Samuel Eto’o, Fernando Torres and Demba Ba were extremely ineffective as a strike force. Consequently, Chelsea had to depend a lot on Eden Hazard and Oscar, with the latter losing form during the business end of the season.
This season however, Jose was given the freedom to build the squad in his own way, which he did with much aplomb. Having previously sold Juan Mata and Kevin De Bruyne for much more than they had been bought for, Jose brought back Nemanja Matic, who had an excellent first season. And this transfer window Chelsea dispensed with the services of David Luiz (for a whopping 50 million pounds), Samuel Eto’o, Demba Ba, Romelu Lukaku and also legends Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard. In other words, players who would not have been natural starters have been sold for good prices. Using that capital, however, was a masterstroke as ace striker Diego Costa, classy midfielder Cesc Fabregas and talented left-back Filipe Luis were bought without spending almost any extra money. Jose even brought back the talismanic Didier Drogba to increase the club’s striking options. Already we have seen hints of what can be expected of the new signings, with both Costa and Fabregas having a tremendous pre-season while Filipe Luis too was impressive. Chelsea fans can now only pray with their fingers crossed that this form is carried on into the league and hopefully it will be a case of ‘money well spent’.
We all have seen how ruthless Roman Abramovich can be at demanding success, and it is very unlikely he will tolerate another trophyless season. Also it has been four long seasons since Chelsea last won the league. Success is a must if Jose Mourinho wants to build a long lasting legacy, and with the squad he has built this season, it seems inevitable. Chelsea have an abundance of talent in their ranks, while an embarrassment of riches is what Mr. Roman Abramovich provides. The perfect blend of talent, aggression and experience is what Jose is banking on. If Jose can get his proportions right, Chelsea could be unstoppable, not only in this season, but for a long time. So when Chelsea come on to the pitch to play against Burnley this week, both Jose Mourinho and the players will know it’s their time to win, and if we take a look back at history, we will find Gary Neville’s statement to be true –
“Jose Mourinho always delivers when he has to”.