It took six years for Chelsea Football Club to get over the impact of Jose Mourinho’s first trophy-laden time at Stamford Bridge. Beating Mourinho on Sunday may help make the mourning period much shorter second time around.
Mourinho The First Time He Left
His presence and the impact he had on the psyche of the team, made the job of meeting expectations and winning over the players impossible for some of the biggest names in football.
Mourinho had the same impact on fans, who pined for his return. As he moved from Milan to Madrid and managers came and went at Stamford Bridge. We felt our true leader was missing, a bar that no one even a double winner could live up to.
Moving On From Mourinho
Whilst Ancelotti was strong enough others such as Felipe Scolari and Andre Villas-Boas were never able to illuminate a team cast in his shadow. AVB tried to move the team forward and phase out the Mourinho diehards but lost the battle of player power.
It was not until age moved the spine of the Mourinho team on that managers were able to move on from what he built. It was not until the Champions League victory in 2012 that you could truly say that the spectre of Mourinho had left the corridors of power at Stamford Bridge.
Mourinho returned to Chelsea and after winning the title in his second season things turned sour quickly in his third and he was gone by December.
Although Mourinho had not built the dynasty that he had in his first spell, there was a lingering fear that he would continue to cast a shadow over the team. This was not helped when he moved to Manchester United in the summer, a constant reminder to players and fans of what used to be.
Beating Mourinho Impact
Much was made of his return on Sunday and what the reaction would be, from the fans he got a pleasant one, but it was clear that the spell had been broken. Always a club legend the hero worship of his first spell had diminished.
The result put a clear line between him and new manager Antonio Conte. As Mourinho wheeled out his usual mix of deflection and distraction Conte remained focussed on moving Chelsea forward.
This is why beating Mourinho and Manchester United was more than just three points.
It was the moment that Chelsea were able to move on from his second spell in charge of the club. It was the moment focus shifted.
Mourinho will never be forgotten but the fans have moved onto focus on Chelsea and not his escapades at Old Trafford.