Premier League 2014: Mourinho must show he's still Special from day one

4Jun 2013

Premier League

Jose Mourinho's return to Chelsea this week is the worst kept secret in football. Even the Premier League announced it early on their website by mistake. Ralph Ellis wonders what we can expect when he arrives...

It was exactly nine years ago yesterday that Jose Mourinho took over Chelsea and announced himself as The Special One.

His exact words in the press conference held to introduce him - the brash young man who had just won the game's biggest club trophy with Porto - were: "Please don't call me arrogant but I'm European champion and I think I'm a special one."

It was dramatic, it was different, it was a statement of intent that with the backing of Roman Abramovich he was ready to break up the double act of Manchester United and Arsenal which had shared the previous nine Premier League titles. And he was as good as his word.

So here we go again. Follow that. What does Mourinho say when he walks back into Stamford Bridge this week to have exactly the same impact? How does he tell Manchester United, Manchester City, and all the other wannabees trying to make an impact at the top end of the table that he's still got what it takes?

It may sound like a sideshow, compared to the real business once the season kicks off on August 17th, but Mourinho more than anybody knows that how he sets the tone this time will be every bit as crucial as it was nine years ago. He has to do something dramatic to announce his arrival.

Does he say: "I'm twice European champion even though I didn't manage more than three semi-finals with Real Madrid, so I'm still reasonably special." Does he point out he's won domestic titles in four different countries, which is fairly special? How does he deal with the fact that, for all the Russian oil riches of his club's owner, Chelsea are no longer the men at the Premier League poker table with the most money? Manchester City can up the stakes all day long.

In short, he has to remind us that the Mourinho magic is still there, and that he is still special enough to make the difference? Clearly Betfair's users think he continues to have got what it takes. Chelsea were matched at 5.8 to be 2013-14 Premier League championswhen betting first opened, but have been backed down to 3.4 in anticipation of his arrival. The market can't split them from United 3.3 and City 3.5.

But there are questions for him to answer. Can he be the man to bring Fernando Torres back to the top of his form? The Spaniard is anywhere between 17.0 and 32.0 to be the Premier League's top scorer next season.

Who will he go for as an impact signing, a player to make everybody sit up and take notice? Michael Essien will follow him back from Madrid because his loan spell there has ended, but will he also take Luka Modric? Could he prise Wayne Rooney away from Old Trafford? And if he does, can he consistently turn him into the player who appeared in the second half of England's friendly in Brazil, rather than the anonymous figure wearing a Rooney shirt in the first half?

Love him or loathe him - and in his farewell game in Madrid on Saturday night it was clear that the fans in the Bernabeu are split between the two - Mourinho will be box office for the Premier League and will keep the headline writers busy. Whether he'll turn Chelsea back into champions only time will tell.

*If it turns out that Mourinho is not the new manager of Chelsea - please accept this article is the same sort of "publishing error" made by the Premier League!

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Keywords: Premier League, 2014, Mourinho, special one

Source: Betfair

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