Jose Mourinho doth protest too much. Despite announcing on his return that he was now ‘The Happy One’, the adulation of the Chelsea fans is insufficient consolation for a manager who is widely believed to have sought the Manchester United job. When he talked last season of leaving Madrid to return to the Premier League, Chelsea was not Mourinho’s first choice destination. He will now have to preside over a difficult transition, marginalising players he considered indispensable during his first tenure.
Whereas the Portuguese exuded brash self-confidence at his first news conference at Chelsea nine years ago, he was far more measured when addressing the media this time around. Indeed, for a man delighted to be back, he appeared subdued. Rather than boasting of his managerial abilities, this time the 50-year-old was eager to talk about aiming for a Champions League spot and progressing from there.
Fans and owner Roman Abramovich will both be expecting far more than qualification to the Champions League. Mourinho knows this and he will be hoping that after lowering the level of expectation, he can repeat the success of his first season at Stamford Bridge which yielded the league title and the League Cup.