Jose Mourinho returned to Stamford Bridge last night and he certainly looked “at home”. Chelsea struggled to make any impact whatsoever and Eto’o’s 78th minute strike sealed Chelsea’s fate as they crashed out of the Champions League.
When Mourinho started out at Chelsea Sir Alex Ferguson described him as “the young gunslinger who has come into town to challenge the Sheriff”. He definitely did challenge the sheriff with his back to back Premier League titles. He was “The Special One” after all.
His departure from Chelsea FC was far from sweet. He admitted afterwards that he would have much rather left after winning the 2007 FA Cup Final then in the manner he did. At the beginning of the 2007/2008 season Chelsea’s run of form was far from brilliant and it all seemed to come down to the Champions League home tie with Rosenberg.
A mere 24,973 fans filled Stamford Bridge, it was a Wednesday night but still the Blues were used to selling at least 40,000 tickets for such a match. Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba were missing with injuries and the goalless draw which followed triggered the departure.
Roman Abramovich longed for more entertaining football and Champions League glory so made the decision to part company with “The Special One”. The players and fans were devastated at the time, there were threats of a mass exodus and interim manager Avram Grant had a tough task of getting things back on track. As it happened Chelsea reached the Champions League final that year, however they lost it in quite possibly the worst way, penalties.
Every manager that has followed Mourinho’s footsteps has not dramatically changed the team’s system; they still rely on the spine of the squad, Cech, Terry, Lampard and Drogba. The side has never reached the heights of success that Mourinho took them to, something which Abramovich clearly wants to change.
After leaving Chelsea, Mourinho took a break gathered his thoughts and then landed the job at Inter Milan. One day he probably knew that he’d return to the Bridge and he returned in some style. Beating Chelsea on their home turf was something he could have only dreamt of doing and it was the ideal way to seek revenge on Abramovich.
Chelsea have to now set their sights on the Premier League title and the FA Cup. They are not top of the league at the moment and really need to win all of their remaining matches to claim the coveted trophy. Ancellotti will clearly be feeling the pressure from above and knows that he really needs some form of silverware to keep the owner happy.
On the other hand Mourinho’s future looks uncertain. He suggested that he could be making a return to the Premier League in the not so distant future. Manchester City, Liverpool or maybe even Manchester United could be “The Special One’s” next special side. I bet Abramovich can’t wait.