As Jose Mourinho plans to make his return to Stamford Bridge tomorrow night, there are continued suggestions that the controversial character could be back on English soil on a more permanent basis at the end of the season. Former England striker, Gary Lineker, wrote in his Mail on Sunday column yesterday about his belief that ‘The Special One’ will be back managing in the Premier League in August, with Liverpool being his most likely destination. And if it happens it could be just what the Anfield club are crying out for.
The Reds are not a club that makes managerial changes for the sake of it – the board and fans generally back their manager, realising that stability is needed for the best chance of success. But this season has been pretty disastrous for the red half of Merseyside and, especially if they miss out on that fourth spot, Mourinho should be well in their thoughts. The 47-year-old has been a success everywhere he has gone and he recently mentioned his desire to return to England one day to ‘build’ a side.
“I am ready for the next phase of my career. I want to work with a different perspective. At Chelsea, my ambition was to create a bit of history. But I always knew Chelsea lacked the normal English culture of stability. I was never under any illusions. I understood the personality of Roman and the culture of the people around him and knew it was not a job for ten years. My role was to give this man what he wanted — victory — knowing that, sooner or later, my time would finish, because there were too many things going on around me.
“But the time will come for stability. I love Inter and would love to build for the future here. In fact, I am doing it now, because I am not a selfish coach and I’m thinking about the future in terms of youth development and the age structure of my first team — but Italy is not the country for this. England is the country. And my football is English football.”
So could Liverpool offer Mourinho the stability he craves? Somewhere he can build up the kind of legacy that Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have achieved at their clubs? It is an interesting prospect especially as the Portuguese man, who is known for his arrogance, has had run-ins with the Reds in the past. On the day he won his first trophy at Chelsea he ‘shushed’ Liverpool supporters, causing uproar, and he also dismissed Rafa Benitez’s men as an ‘inferior side’ when they knocked his Chelsea team out of the Champions League. Would this be a problem on Merseyside if Mourinho was to take charge? I don’t think so – I reckon he would be welcomed with open arms. His record of two Premier League titles, one FA Cup and two League Cups during his three seasons in England would excite the Kop and so, too, would the prospect of turning Anfield into an absolute fortress. Amazingly, Mourinho has not lost a league match on home soil as a manager since February 2002 – a run spanning 131 games – when he was still at Porto. This stat is something the Inter boss made reference to prior to his side’s trip to West London tomorrow.
“Everybody knows Mourinho doesn’t lose at Stamford Bridge. My record is unbeatable. It is amazing – we were so strong for such a long time.”
It will be a flying visit to England for Mourinho on Tuesday night, but he has made sure everyone knows about his want for a long term return. We could be hearing much more self-loving quotes such as the one above from the former Chelsea idol in the near future – but will they be from the Anfield hot seat?