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The Special One

Eton Blue at the Chelsea Megastore

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I dont know about you chaps, but after we suffered our 2-0 defeat at the hands of liverpool, our very own Jose Mourinho cut a very sad figure indeed.

He looked a beaten man. Low on defenders, losing key players to injury, and losing ground on Manchester United all compounded to sap the soul of The Special One. We were no longer hearing the witty post match retorts, or seeing the fight, but seeing a manager somewhat resigned to defeat and with no answer to give his critics.

Not anymore.

Over the last two or three weeks, the 'spring in his step' has returned. The pre and post match comments are as amusing as ever, the fight has resumed, and if anything, he seems to be taking the bull by the horns.

I thought this article summed it up well, and echoed my recent thoughts;


I wondered if any of you lot had noticed the same?

Please, let's never take the great man for granted!



James Lawton: Mourinho delights with grace of old in moment of anguish

Gone was the rancid self-pity, the ego-stroking and the dubious put-downs

Published: 23 February 2007

Something astonishing happened in Europe this week. So amazing, in some ways, it surpassed even Rafa Benitez's intelligent and hugely rewarded handling of Liverpool's supposedly benighted approach to the Nou Camp.

It was Jose Mourinho taking his latest body blow, the new injury crisis of John Terry, and then producing a masterclass of post-match football analysis. This, quite simply, was the best of Mourinho: bright and hard as a diamond, expressive, impassioned and - sing it to the heavens - exceedingly generous to his old Porto team.

Gone was the rancid self-pity, the gratuitous ego-stroking, the snide and dubious put-down of the opposition. In its place: a detailed, and notably unpatronising, report on the difficulties of his night from the moment Terry went down.

Mourinho said it ravaged his gameplan but he was delighted with the response of his players, notably Andrei Shevchenko, who scored the equalising goal in the 1-1 draw so sweetly he looked again one of Europe's top assassins, and Arjen Robben, who Mourinho pointed out picked up his hamstring injury because he had no time to warm up before rushing into a radically changed formation - one in which the power of Michael Essien in midfield was again surrendered in favour of fire-chasing duties in the middle of defence.

No doubt there was a sub-text, but that was part of the service - and the fun - of a Mourinho who was reminding some of us of the enthusiasm he created when he first arrived here from his triumph in Porto. This was someone who would challenge the iron grip of the Ferguson-Wenger duopoly. He had youth, style and outrageous ambition. He was amusing, too.

This week Mourinho didn't skirt the fact that Chelsea's recent reluctance to return to the market has again left him critically exposed in central defence. But none of the points were laboured, not even the central one that despite the lack of anything like an appropriate replacement for his most important player, Chelsea had just had a successful night in Europe, were in the final of the Carling Cup, the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and still within striking distance of Manchester United at the top of the Premiership.

Can Mourinho, as a parting gift to his disaffected patron Roman Abramovich, deliver an unprecedented four trophies? The possibility has softened in United and Arsenal hearts with Terry's latest mishap, but, interestingly, some bookmakers have been slow to react. Chelsea remained 7-2 favourites for the Champions League yesterday morning, the same as before Terry's scream of anguish in Oporto, compared to, respectively, 5-1 and 9-1 against this week's European winners, United and Liverpool.

They are plainly good value, though whether they remain so over the next few weeks as Terry starts another fitness race, is now the most critical question of the season.

What seemed clear enough on Wednesday night was that Mourinho had plainly recovered his composure - and his edge - after what had seemed to be a draining breakdown in relations with the oligarch.

Compared to the man who in recent years had most challenged his self-belief - and his professional integrity - Bar?a's Frank Rijkaard, Mourinho looked still a master of his trade. The Dutchman, by comparison, appeared at his wits end as Liverpool, much inferior technically but operating on an entirely different level of professional honesty, exposed all the flaws that have accumulated this season in the approach of the reigning European champions.

Long before the end, Rijkaard was simply throwing talent on to the field and hoping that something positive - or fortunate - might just emerge. Because of that level of talent - and the possibility that Samuel Eto'o will be re-embraced before the second leg at Anfield, Rijkaard and Bar?a cannot be entirely discounted.

Certainly, given the number of times Liverpool surrendered the ball while under little pressure, they can scarcely afford to see "scissors feet" Momo Sissoko lose his fight to recover from a late injury.

Understandably, Craig Bellamy and John Arne Riise won all the headlines with their remarkable transformation from karaoke squabblers to comrades impressively armed, but without Sissoko even their best efforts would probably have come to not so much. Sissoko hounded Barcelona a little further down the road to the ruin that can only follow the collapse of professional standards that has plainly come to the Nou Camp after their defeat of Arsenal in the final last spring.

Ronaldinho was a grave disappointment in last summer's World Cup and, as we feared, against Liverpool he could only provide new evidence of a badly faltering will - or, if not that, a cynical desire to make his rumoured departure at the end of the season something less than a cause for universal mourning along the broad avenues of a city that once embraced him so warmly. Ronaldinho's performance was so impoverished he appeared to have lost even the remnants of his old, puckish street-urchin charm.

What it all added up to was a most encouraging week for Premiership ambitions on the big European stage. Until recently hopelessly under-represented, despite the wealth of the league, English football is finally promising to consistently punch its weight in Europe for the first time since the prime of Liverpool's Bob Paisley.

For one week, at least, Arsenal's Ars?ne Wenger found himself outside the circle of Benitez, Sir Alex Ferguson and Mourinho but he too should recover his composure in the second leg against PSV, who despite their 1-0 victory remain at 40-1 to win the prize, a ranking at the betting window 26 points below the team they defeated in Eindhoven.

Certainly Benitez, Ferguson and Mourinho had reason to celebrate their progress, though the United manager was no doubt less than exhilarated by his team's showing in Lille. Ferguson handled the outrageous behaviour of the French bench with impeccable authority, not least when he commanded his captain Gary Neville to disentangle himself from a crisis inanely initiated by Lille's goalkeeping coach, but he cannot have been excessively encouraged by a team performance which lacked even one notable effort.

Of particular concern, surely, was Cristiano Ronaldo's disbelieving retreat from the field when a halt was called on his futile night's work. The most alarming thought was that he is beginning to believe some of his most outrageous publicity.

Meanwhile, Mourinho works to remind even his heaviest critics that however much he has besieged it from within, an outstanding football mind is still on the job. For his English-based rivals, nothing as remotely disturbing was encountered on foreign fields.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Carling Cup Final and tonights win over Porto are great reminders of why he is known as the special one. I've never liked that tag to be honest but blimey he's earnt his wages lately. To come away with wins when we have been outplayed at times just shows the never say die spirit he has installed.

I can't believe all this talk about him being shown the door and him not being here next season - it doesn't bare thinking about. He is a WINNER and there are very few of them about.

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well we were outplayed for 45 mins at cardiff, but not in the 2nd half. tonight we were in control in the 1sy half without ever really playing that well. The introducion of Mikel though really made a difference.

Even more than his reading of the game though is his ability to create a self belief in his team that is incredible.

Sadly, we won't be seeing him after this season icon_sad.gif

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Even more than his reading of the game though is his ability to create a self belief in his team that is incredible.

Sadly, we won't be seeing him after this season icon_sad.gif

Sadly, I think you're right.

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Yep, ive said all along he'll be gone at the end of this season

I think too much has been said and too much has gone on for him to continue.

The guy is a legend but no man is bigger than the club.

If these are to be his last few months with us , lets savor them.

josefan.gif .

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I'll be gutted if Mourinho leaves. I want us to emulate Man Utd & Arsenal with Fergie & Wenger and continue to build on the success already acheived - not get some new guy in and start all over.

But what of the players? Can anyone see a situation where the likes of JT, Lamps & Drogba come out in support of Mourinho and threaten to leave if he does? And what would the clubs reaction be?

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I'll be gutted if Mourinho leaves. I want us to emulate Man Utd & Arsenal with Fergie & Wenger and continue to build on the success already acheived - not get some new guy in and start all over.

Exactly my thoughts.

I'm actually starting to fall in love with Mourinho like i fell in love with Claudio and i would be distraught if he left and Mr Big replaced him.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I dont think J.M. will ever get the respect or credit he truely deserves from certain people within the media . Winning 2 championships pissed them off and gave them reason to drag his name and the club down . He's not liked by most of them , so wouldnt it be just lovely if we won the C.L. under Jose .

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