Jose Mourinho’s return to Chelsea FC in June 2013 was heralded by most Chelsea fans as one of the best pieces of business in the Abramovich era. In the previous 2012-2013 season, Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid team missed out on winning one of the La Liga, Copa Del Rey, and the UEFA Champions League. In fact, the Los Blancos only won the Spanish Super cup in August 2012.
In the 2013/2014 season, his Chelsea side started off with a 2-0 win over Hull City in the opening English Premier League match. However, some weeks later, Everton defeated Chelsea 1-0 at Goodison Park. Despite gaining twenty points against the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, and eventual league champions- Manchester City; the expensively built South-west London club had to settle for 3rd place by the end of the season.
The third place finish was partly due to Chelsea dropping precious points against Crystal Palace, Sunderland and Aston Villa in the second half of last season. Zero points out of a possible nine, including a loss at home to Sunderland, definitely ended Chelsea’s title hopes.
Jose Mourinho severally claimed that last season’s Chelsea team “was not his team”, having being largely assembled by the likes of former managers Rafa Benitez, Roberto Di Matteo, and Carlo Ancelotti. Even with the January 2014 sale of Mata to rivals, Manchester United, he (Mourinho) still insisted that the he was on a rebuilding mission.
However, this past summer transfer window, Jose Mourinho had the opportunity to shape the team to his preference. He lured the likes of Filipe Luis, Cesc Fabregas, and Diego Costa to the West London club, whilst selling veterans such as Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole. Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba were also laid off as part of the Portuguese gaffer’s rebuilding exercise.
So far, it seems the rebuilding exercise is paying dividends. In Chelsea’s first seven matches of this season, the team has won five EPL matches, one Capital One cup match, and drawn their opening Champions League match. Seventeen goals have been scored by the side too.
Notwithstanding Chelsea’s impressive start to the season, the real evidence of Mourinho’s re-tooling of the side would be clinching the Premier League and/or the UEFA Champions League titles. A loss in the Champions League final could be acceptable, but losing out in the race to the Premier League title may put Mourinho’s job on the line.
In spite of some media reports which say that Roman Abramovich seeks some ‘coaching stability’ at the club, it would be advisable for the manager to take such words with a pinch of salt.
In the past, Carlo Ancelotti was fired at the end of the 2010/2011 season, despite finishing second behind an impressive Manchester United side. Roberto Di Matteo was fired in November 2012 in spite of being the first manager to win the prestigious UEFA Champions League title for Chelsea.
Therefore, it could be reasonable inferred that falling off the pace in the League, and a non-finalist placing in the Champions League could send the “Happy one” out of South-West London.