03.06.2013 was the day every Chelsea fan on the planet had been waiting for. Yes, Jose Mourinho was officially named Chelsea manager after all the weeks of mad speculation.
Just over a year since the historic Champions League win, and yet it seems like an entire decade has passed since. Well, you wouldn’t blame me, Chelsea have actually played 71 games since the beginning of this season (Yes, that’s right! SEVENTY ONE!). So, here I sit, reading tweets and messages from Chelsea fans all over the world, raving about his appointment.
And I ask myself one question – Is this what Chelsea Football Club need?
Okay, let’s quickly rewind this previous season. Playing in 7 different competitions, Chelsea were knocked out of all of them, ending up winning the 8th one instead. They became the first team in the history of the Champions League to go out in the group stages as defending champions, as also the first team in history to hold the Champions League as well as the Europa League trophies simultaneously, albeit for only 10 days.
Finishing 3rd did seem like a trophy too, considering the season that transpired. The Frank Lampard contract saga was stretched out of proportion by the club, and Rafa Benitez’s appointment, by the fans. A turbulent season, with all pieces falling together in the end.
Is Mourinho’s signing the final piece of the jigsaw then? Let’s look at the challenges and the expectations that ‘The Special One’ faces on his ‘Homecoming’.
- His first major challenge will be to decide the players to be signed or sold, if any, as well the players to be loaned out. This previous season, 23 Chelsea players were out on loan, and amongst them, at least 5 if not more, could have been straightaway used in the first team given the busy season that Chelsea have had. Mourinho might not be the best man-manager on the planet, and the fans would hate to see an enormous talent get wasted (Read: Kaka).
- The timing of his arrival couldn’t have been more apt considering the changes taking place in the Premier League. Most notably, Sir Alex having retired, both Manchester Clubs now appear to be teams in transition. And there lies Mourinho’s challenge No. 2: To win the Premier League. I say it is a challenge, but I’m certain that it’s more of an expectation given the aforementioned changes. Chelsea, although, do look favourites to do just that.
- As always is the case with a certain Roman Abramovich, ambitions in Europe are a BIG challenge. And if reports are to be believed, Jose has promised Roman 2 Champions League titles in 3 years! Well, even for Jose Mourinho, that’s a LOT! Especially looking at the way Bayern steamrolled opponents this season. European success will be very hard, as all the powerhouses of Europe will wrestle even harder this time.
- Another challenge for Mourinho is to utilise the vast talent pool of youngsters at SW6. Nathan Ake, Josh McEachran, Nathaniel Chalobah, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Islam Feruz, Lucas Piazon are just some of the exciting young talents at his disposal. It will be interesting to see how he develops them.
- Stability is the one thing that has been lacking at the club after Jose left, with many believing that he is the one who’ll bring it back. And after watching his interview with Chelsea TV, it does seem that it may be true.
- A major plus for Mourinho is the relationship that he enjoys with Chelsea. Players as well as fans love and respect him, and there is a sense of excitement as well as assurance with his appointment. Although this very excitement is also the biggest expectation, morale is high around the club and it will only help Jose settle in faster.
A subtle air of confidence surrounds Stamford Bridge. Having watched his first interview, this air has only grown denser. The fans already love him 100 times more than they did, and Jose has echoed their sentiments. It is clear that he is eager to put his Madrid regime behind him, and build his glory at the place he is loved the most, where he is worshiped.
As he said in his interview, “I’m not just a Chelsea manager this time. Now I’m a Chelsea manager AND a Chelsea fan. This is special.”
The jigsaw seems to be complete and with this squad, under Jose’s management, Chelsea can attain the tag of being a superpower, not just in England but in all of Europe. So, to answer my question, Mourinho could be exactly what Chelsea Football Club need, or as they say – ‘A Match made in Heaven’.