Second-time-around was always going to be difficult for Jose Mourinho, now three months into his second spell at Stamford Bridge. And while great things will always be expected from the Special One, instant success shouldn’t be the measure of his achievements.
Winning has always been everything for Roman Abramovich during his tenure as Chelsea owner, but winning the Champions League in 2012, seemed to change everything the club was about.
Yes his team were European Champions, but nobody admired them for it. With Pep Guardiola resisting his advances, Robbie Di Matteo was given the job as a stop gap, one year to wait for Pep, the second year as a pay-off.
As it happened, Di Matteo crashed out of the Champions League (virtually) and was replaced by Rafa ‘Interim’ Benitez.
Again the target was Guardiola, but after Abramovich was turned down, the return of Mourinho was confirmed.
In 2004, Mourinho joined to create an unstoppable force in the Premiership and Champions League, winning was the ultimate, and win he did.
Today, Mourinho’s task is to change the mentality he put in place nine years earlier.
It’s because of this, that winning the Premier League or any other trophy for that matter, shouldn’t be the level against which Mourinho is judged.
Domestically, the strongest challenge will come from Manchester City, having spent around £90 million on 5 players who could steer United’s noisy neighbours to a second league title.
City’s squad is easily the best in the league, and the pressure really should be on Manuel Pellegrini.
As for City’s neighbours, their title challenging abilities seem to be faltering already with embarrassing defeats to arch enemy Liverpool and the rout at the Etihad.
David Moyes’ task of taking over from Sir Alex was always going to be difficult, but only bringing in Maroune Fellaini on transfer deadline day has left the defending Champions in a weakened position.
Chelsea spent £58 million on three players who aren’t guaranteed to become first team regulars, which is baffling considering the side finished third last season.
Then of course, is the decision to allow Romelu Lakaku to join Everton on loan. With Chelsea’s remaining strikers struggling to buy a goal, the Belgian youngster cannot stop scoring, much to Chelsea fans frustration.
Goals can be very important in winning the league, just ask Fergie, so having Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba was never going to cut it.
Although that said, while Manchester City have a stronger squad now, Chelsea’s is full of exciting young talent, who in 2-3 years will be one of the strongest in European football and with Mourinho in charge, the possibilities really are endless.
While giving managers’ money has never been an issue for Abramovich, giving them time is something much more sparing
Everybody is well aware of the breakdown in relationship between manager and owner first time around, and the departure of Jose only came after the league title wasn’t one. In fact, Jose only stayed for an extra season because of that FA Cup win in 2007.
The ego’s which were both massaged during the successful spells, became unbearable, and the rest, they say, is history.
When Jose’s teams aren’t winning, media conferences become more brass and sometimes embarrassing, if we aren’t to expect instant success this time around, then Roman must be prepared to take Jose for what he is, worts and all.
So far however, Jose has said all the right things, and if Jose is a man of word and builds his team in his vision, then there’s no doubt success will be an end result.
There’s no question there are stronger squads in the Premier League than Chelsea, even Jose will admit to that, albeit not in public. But Chelsea have something no other team have, Jose Mourinho.
The current squad has lots of quality, and has the potential to become a leading force in European football, but even though that team isn’t ready right now to become the Premier League’s leading force, Jose is still capable of winning.
But, even though Jose is capable of producing another title winning team, if he doesn’t, Roman needs to be patient, and he could reap the rewards in the future.
The only worry is, we’ve heard that so many times before.