Normally the dreaded vote of confidence is a polite way of saying the human resources department is sorting out the P45. When Jose Mourinho received the backing of his board this week, for a change, it made sense to believe them. As he pointed out during his post-match rant following the Southampton defeat, he is the best manager Chelsea have ever had. He will prove this by bouncing back.
Unlike the relationship he had with Chairman Roman Abramovich in September 2007, when he originally left the club, this one is built on solid professional understanding. Back then it was two massive egos fighting to be the alpha male in the yard that is Stamford Bridge. They were too proud to take a minute and step back from the brink. Their respective personalities have changed since then.
That’s not to say Jose still doesn’t have an ego to rival Kanye West’s, if he was a chocolate bar the Portuguese manager would surely eat himself, but he has matured to understand appropriate workplace relationships – unless you are a female doctor. Becoming more travelled, going from Inter Milan to the historic setting of Real Madrid, he found out the hard way that success doesn’t make you bigger than the entity that is the club.
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This was probably driven home during his final days at Madrid. He sounded downtrodden when addressing a press conference, admitting most in the room didn’t like him. Regardless of previous success or size of personality, he was never going to make Real Madrid his club. He was just an asset they’d use for a short while. Even signing the contract extension at the start of his final season appeared a hollow gesture.
Upon his return to England it was clear from early interviews he was humbled only by Abramovich. The same sort of tone he used when explaining how he’d have to be sacked, if Roman wanted that, stems from how at the start of his return he stated it was the Russian’s club. In 2007 if felt like Jose thought he had a viable claim to ownership.
During his second coming he has also spoken about building an empire. The Mourinho that would move after short bursts of success has been exorcised. This a manager that wants to create a long dynasty in London. With this desire comes the acceptance there will be trying seasons. He only need look at Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign at Old Trafford to understand that there are ups followed by inevitable downs when aiming for sustained success.
The decline after winning the title, with a side he was carefully crafting, will have come as a shock. It is the unexpected challenge that makes him more dangerous a foe than ever before. All through his managerial career he has set milestones and records, he hasn’t tasted proper failure before. He won’t want to start now.
— ChelseaTalk (@TheBlues_Talk) October 6, 2015
If he’s given the time to fix it, he will definitely turn it around. Chelsea haven’t suddenly become a terrible side nor he a bad manager. This is a new learning curve for Mourinho and history tells us he learns fast. Four league titles in four different major leagues providing a handy example.
He may be running on excuses at the moment. This is nothing new, it was one of the main reasons the Spanish press turned on him, he has always been the master of deflection. In the past it was to shield players, even if it meant he personally absorbed some of the flak. Now he is fighting for his reputation and if there’s one thing Jose loves more than anything else in this world it is himself.
He won’t fail at Stamford Bridge and once he gets through this crisis he will be an even better manager – the sort equipped to deal with the task of empire building.