Updated and expanded, this biography brings the story right up to the end of Mourinho's first season with Chelsea since he left in 2007, showing exactly why English soccer would be infinitely poorer without the colorful and commanding presence of the "Special One"
The "Special One" returns as "the Happy One," calmer and better than before. Grayer, perhaps less flamboyant, even opting for a self-inflicted crew cut, but he’s still the Special One, still confrontational, passionate, and full of chutzpah. Jose Mourinho is a masterful tactician, and surely now the best boss in the business. In his first stint at Stamford Bridge he won two League titles back to back, the FA Cup and two League Cups, and included a still-unsurpassed Premier League points tally record of 95 in the 2004/05 season. And after six years spent sweeping all before him with Real Madrid and Inter Milan, his absence certainly made the heart grow fonder. Chelsea’s army of fans love him every bit as much as they used to, and those heady days beckon once more for Chelsea since he replaced the hugely unpopular Rafa Benitez in June 2013. One thing has changed, though—Chelsea is no longer the richest club around. But when his new Blues demolished Manchester City at the Etihad, Gary Neville heralded Mourinho’s master class: "He’s shrewd, he’s smart and he calls it on. He’s good and he knows he’s good. One."
|Publisher:||Blake, John Publishing, Limited|
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About the Author
Harry Harris is an award-winning journalist and the Group Chief Football Writer at the Express. He's the author of several previous soccer biographies, including All the Way Jose and Pele: His Life and Times.
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Return of the King
By Harry Harris
John Blake Publishing LtdCopyright © 2014 Harry Harris
All rights reserved.
'LET'S HAVE SOME FUN.'
Jose Mourinho in his first programme notes.
Jose Mourinho Delivers a message of intent at his unveiling at Stamford Bridge. 'We have top players at Chelsea,' he says. 'And, I'm sorry if I sound arrogant, we have a top manager as well. I don't want to be compared with coaches from the past, nor do I want to be viewed as the face of young managers in the game. I have won the Champions League. I'm not one who comes straight out of the bottle. I'm a special one. I am a winner because I'm good at what I do and because I am surrounded by people who think the same.'
The club's chief executive Peter Kenyon admits, 'I don't think we'll need to work on his confidence! He has been charged with being arrogant, but I don't think he is. He's very confident and self-assured and thoughtful about what he does. He's deliberate and has a gameplan.'
Mourinho adds, 'I want to win. Over the last two years I've had the taste. As a manager you want to feel the biggest success you can achieve. I want to keep this taste. I don't want to lose it. I don't want to get to 2010 or 2012 with just the same titles I have now. I want more. The people here have the same ambitions and mentality. We shouldn't be afraid to say, 'I want to win.'
'I accept that if I don't win this year it will be a failure. If I am sacked, I can always find another job. But I have not come here to give myself nightmares. I have come here to sleep well.'
Mourinho also responds to sniping from the outgoing coach Claudio Ranieri. 'I didn't like what he said about the Portuguese league being an easy one to win. I prefer to use my head and not react to other people's opinions. But what I suggest is that if someone is Mr Ranieri's friend, or has contact with him, you should explain to him that if a team is to win the UEFA Cup or the Champions League, it has to play clubs from other countries. I didn't win the UEFA Cup and the Champions League playing 20 Portuguese teams. I played and beat players and clubs from his country Italy, from England and Spain. Porto beat everyone in Europe. What has Ranieri won in 20 years? The Spanish Cup. I could say things like Ranieri has been in football for 20 years and the only thing he has won is the Spanish Cup. I could say that. I don't like to, but I could.'
Then Mourinho turns his attention to Sir Alex Ferguson, Arséne Wenger and Sven-Goran Eriksson.
After Porto had beaten Manchester United in the Champions League in Portugal, Ferguson said the opposition were divers. 'Ferguson had a reaction – something out of nothing,' says Mourinho. 'But I felt my players were big enough to cope with that type of pressure. I had to show them I was not afraid of him and that their boss was ready for a fight. After the second game at Old Trafford he came to the dressing room and congratulated me. And I have respect for such important people. I have not come here specifically to fight. I have come here to win. But at the right moment, if I feel my players, my group and my club are in a situation where they need my help, it's like family. And they will get it.'
Arsenal? 'Their manager is one of the best in the world. As for any weaknesses in his side, how can you identify weakness in an historic team? I need to learn about him and his side. In Portugal I could smell the changes managers would make at half-time. So I now need to look at Wenger and his players and discover their philosophy and playing style. That is why my scouts will watch his stars at Euro 2004 and then again in pre-season friendlies. When you go to war you have to know the opposition's strengths and weaknesses.'
As for Eriksson, Chelsea's first choice to replace Ranieri, Mourinho shrugs his shoulders. 'It is only natural they went for him. Mr Eriksson is a manager with a lot of prestige in the world. He also had a close relationship with Chelsea and, because of that, he was their number one choice. I don't mind ... because now I'm the man.'
Finally, Mourinho speaks of Roman Abramovich and the suspicion he will be difficult to control. 'I don't have to control Roman Abramovich – he has to control me! But, as in any business, you have to communicate with the top man. I spent two days with him on his yacht and he never once mentioned what he expected from me. Instead I gave him a four-page document about how I work and what I am. He is the owner and the first person in the club. But what I need to do I have already done. I have established clearly what my position is and my functions in the club.'
Claudio Ranieri was loved at Stamford Bridge and there was anger at his treatment. But he had won nothing of real consequence in nearly two decades in management; Mourinho has won the UEFA Cup, Portugal's league and cup double and the European Cup in two coruscating seasons at Porto. But Mourinho's mentor Sir Bobby Robson is concerned about his move to English football. 'The fact is Jose is coming into an area he doesn't know. He won't find the Premiership anything like the Portuguese league. He is joining the big boys and the big teams, where every game is a potential blip. In Portugal, if you can defeat Benfica and Sporting home and away, you are likely to win the title. What he has done on five or six occasions in European competition over the last two seasons is beat the big teams. He has to do that 38 times in the league.' Sir Bobby adds, 'I never thought of him as being a coach. I always felt his vocation would be in education because he had been a PE teacher.'
Mourinho responds diplomatically, showing his deep affection for Robson, 'I still see Sir Bobby as a father to me. My early times with Bobby were really important, and the way he put faith in me gave me confidence and taught me to be strong in believing myself. Tactically and dealing with players I could not ask for a better teacher, and I could not have learned from anyone better. It was an experience that was invaluable and I still telephone and talk to him now. He is a leader to me and I will go on respecting him as a great manager. He is always close to the players and that is something as a manager you must always be. They are your blood and the most important thing of all. They have to respect you and that is something that I learned form Bobby in the way they respect him and will always play for him. A little something from everything I achieve will always be dedicated to him.'
Mourinho prepared for his new job by sending a code of conduct to each of his stars. Porto's players were handed the same document and they responded. Gone are the days of late-night partying, weekend trips abroad and snubbing the press. Under the new regime all players must stick strictly to the rules or faces heavy fines or even suspension.
Split into seven sections, the rulebook states how players should behave with each other and the public – and the punishments they face if they break those rules. Players will be fined £250 for being 15 minutes late, with a further £500 penalty for the second quarter of an hour. Any later arrivals will mean a fine decided personally by Mourinho as he attempts to organise the training system right down to the smallest detail. Celestine Babayaro, notorious for his poor punctuality, arrives early for pre-season work!
At a time when the image of footballers off the field is under scrutiny, Mourinho has devised a clause to cover behaviour away from the club. 'Players must know that they're role models for children and adults, and they must always have an ethical and correct social behaviour. Players are not allowed to be away from their residence after 00.00pm. On the night before a resting day/free day, players are allowed to be away from their residence till 2.00am.'
The rulebook says, 'Player misconduct towards technical staff, medical staff, kit staff and press staff will not be tolerated. Players' misconduct towards each other, be it in training sessions, match days, travelling or in the club's installation, will not be tolerated and will be considered a serious offence. All misconducts will be analysed by an executive director and the manager resulting, if appropriate, in a financial penalty and/or suspension by the club. Players who miss the appointments made by the medical department are subject to penalty fees and a disciplinary process. Direct red cards will be judged by the manager and the team captain. Disciplinary action will be taken if appropriate.'
Snacking before matches and ordering food and drink on room service during away trips is out. The code of conduct continues, 'Smoking and alcohol drinking is not allowed in the rooms. The medical department is responsible for choosing the meal menu. The players are allowed to choose or ask for a different pre-match meal according to their culture and their habits. Players have an absolute duty to maintain a lifestyle that protects their capacity to play to the best of their ability. This requires that they follow a healthy diet, drink alcohol in moderation, avoid drugs and ensure that they have enough sleep. Injured players, foreign or not, may only leave the city or the country if permitted by the medical department and the manager.'
Mourinho calls for players not involved in Euro 2004 to attend Stamford Bridge on the first Monday of pre-season training at 8.15am. Hernan Crespo is the one player who does not show up. When Crespo arrives on Wednesday he is told decisively what his options are. Mourinho says publicly, 'We spoke in a very open way about whether he can find the motivation or the happiness for himself and his family to stay. For me, the player's desire is crucial. I told Hernan about the style, the quality of players I want, and the motivation. I was upset that he was not at our breakfast. You have always to be there – if the plane is full from Argentina, you come by bus. You can call. There is always a solution. He gave me excuses – some I could accept.'
Mourinho says he finds empathy from day one in Adrian Mutu, and that Eidur Gudjohnsen is a better player and a more willing enthusiast than he expected. He speaks at length about Mateja Kezman, who lives the family life Mourinho admires, and who on the pitch represents his belief that 'modern' football demands that you defend from the front. And he speaks longingly about Didier Drogba, the Ivory Coast striker, who Olympique Marseille insist is not for sale, even at Chelsea prices.
Outcome: Mutu stays, but ends up being kicked out after a failed drugs test; Crespo is let go on loan to AC Milan; Seba Veron is similarly released on loan back to Italy; and Chelsea successfully pursue Drogba for a record transfer of £24m.
Marcel Desailly also leaves, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink departs to Middlesbrough, Mario Melchiot to Birmingham City, and Mario Stanic retires with a knee injury, all in the first week. Boudewijn Zenden, Jesper Gronkjaer, Emmanuel Petit and Winston Bogarde also depart.
Scott Parker talks positively about battling for his place in central midfield. 'I came to Chelsea to improve myself. I know it's a big task to get into the side in my best position in central midfield because Frank is a good player and Claude is as well. I want to kick on and establish myself as a Chelsea player, and fortunately Chelsea squashed the rumours that I would be one of those moving on pretty early in the summer. Every day there are rumours around this place, but that's the way it is going to be with such a big club.'
From Carlo Cudicini, the goalkeeper facing competition from the young Czech, Petr Cech, there is the acknowledgement that 'the challenge will be on the pitch, not in the contract' and the early indication is that goalkeepers are to be more involved in the whole group, not trained apart.
From Gudjohnsen there is the comment – enjoyed by Mourinho – that every movement, every moment, of the training sessions is controlled and organised. 'I read that Eidur said my training lasted exactly 90 minutes, and that the work and the rest were timed to the last stretch on the last stroke of 90 minutes,' muses the coach.
Frank Lampard's first meeting with the new boss is etched on his mind. Mourinho stared into his eyes and asked him, 'Are you a winner?' Lampard recalls, 'It was a strange scene, but it felt right and walking out we all thought, 'We're going to win something this season.' In a way he asks us that question every day. There is never a moment when you are allowed to relax. He'll have a joke, but you know with him the only thing that matters is winning and that has rubbed off on everyone.'
So does Mourinho genuinely believe Chelsea can win the Premiership in his first season in charge? 'Yes, I do,' he replies prior to the new season's opening game with Manchester United. 'One hundred per cent. I have no doubts that we can.'
As Mourinho prepares for the first match of the season, the issue that Sir Alex Ferguson refused to shake hands when Porto beat United in last year's Champions League is put to him. Not so, according to Mourinho! It suited the media to suggest bad blood, but he stresses, 'I have no problems with him. He complained about certain things in Porto, but he shook my hand after the match, and at Old Trafford he came to the dressing room to do it. I have respect for every manager when they have respect for me.'
The opening Premiership encounter will be 'entirely different' to the last time the two managers met in the Champions League, Mourinho insists. 'There is no comparison between a league match and a knockout competition. Also, my players at Chelsea are completely different – with the exception of Ferreira and Carvalho – from the ones I had at Porto, and the way we play here at the moment is different. Manchester United will also be different. When we played them last season it was at a time when they weren't feeling good. They weren't playing well. This season we have them in the opening game, and at the start everybody feels good and ready.'
Peter Kenyon, who was chief executive at Old Trafford before being lured to Stamford Bridge, has worked with both Ferguson and Mourinho, and he believes Chelsea's new manager can build dynastic success in the same single-minded way as the Scot has done at Manchester United. Mourinho responds in typical fashion, 'I don't want to be compared with other people. I am what I am, I've done what I've done, and I will try to do well again in the future. But I know that one day, instead of being a champion at the end of the season, I'll get the sack. These things happen in football. I don't think I'm the best in the world when I win, and I don't think I'm the worst when I lose. I'm just me.' And the showdown with Manchester United? 'If we win, we are not champions, and if we lose, we are not out of the fight. It is just one match, no more important than any other.'
The mind games are under way from the start. 'When Jose Mourinho goes to bed at night,' remarks an onlooker from Manchester United, 'his tongue gives a round of applause.' Ferguson says, 'Mourinho won the European Cup last season and the UEFA Cup the year before that, which is a great feat. You can't dismiss that sort of record. I'm sure we'll have a glass of wine together after the game.'
The United manager is invited to comment on how Mourinho has been talking himself up. 'Ach,' shrugs Ferguson. 'We'll just have to see how that develops. The personal aspect doesn't come into my thoughts. I'm more interested about new players coming into other clubs than new managers. Over the years we've had a great record at Stamford Bridge and we've probably been favourites most times, but Chelsea were second in the league last year and they've bought eight new players this year – big, international players – so it's not going to be easy.'
Normally, Ferguson would relish starting a campaign with such a big game. 'Not this season,' he says. 'Not with the injuries we've got. I'd rather have played someone else. You don't want to be three points behind one of your main rivals on the first day of the season.'
SATURDAY, 15 AUGUST
MANCHESTER UNITED 0, CHELSEA 1
Jose Mourinho offers Sir Alex Ferguson a glass of Chelsea's cheapest plonk after sending the Manchester United boss to his first opening-weekend defeat in eight years. Gudjohnsen's first-half strike seals the points. Mourinho and Fergie shake hands and then share a bottle of Argentinean Shiraz in the manager's office.
But even as he admits his side are fortunate to start their campaign with a win, Mourinho is happy with the way his team are coming together. Mourinho says, 'Silvestre said we didn't have enough time to create a big team spirit – and he was wrong. I could have told him that my players have been fantastic from the first day and that mentally we are a team. When you consider we've only been together for a month it is great that we showed we have created this spirit and want to fight together.
Excerpted from Jose by Harry Harris. Copyright © 2014 Harry Harris. Excerpted by permission of John Blake Publishing Ltd.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
PART ONE: THE FIRST SEASON,
THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE,
THE FA CUP,
THE CARLING CUP,
PART TWO: SUSTAINING SUCCESS,
2007 CARLING CUP FINAL,
THE WAR OF WORDS,
DAY OF RECKONING,
DISASTER AT ANFIELD,
BLACK ARMBANDS AT THE BRIDGE,
IT'S A DOG'S LIFE,
THE FULL MONTY,
THE VIEW FROM THE OTHER SIDE,
ROUTE TO THE FINAL,
PART THREE: RETURN OF THE KING,
SO SPECIAL IN ITALY, SPECIAL OR NOT SO SPECIAL IN SPAIN?,
THE MISSING MOURINHO YEARS: THE FIRST CHAMPIONS LEAGUE TRIUMPH,
THE HAPPY ONE,