Forget Mourinho, it’s time for an Italian job at Chelsea

May 26, 2008

Deja vu?After sacking Avram Grant following the club’s first Champions League final, nothing at Chelsea should surprise us.

But Jose Mourinho possibly going back as coach? Even in the wacky world of Stamford Bridge, it is surely just paper talk and fantasy.

Mourinho is a shrewd man and he will know as well as anyone that coaches very rarely succeed in a second stint at a club. (See our blog from when Kevin Keegan was reappointed at Newcastle.)

The dynamics of Chelsea are also very different from when he took over in 2004.

Back then, Claudio Ranieri had already laid the foundations of a Premier League-winning side. Arjen Robben and Petr Cech were signed for the next season before Mourinho arrived. The Portuguese also had bags of cash to bring in Drogba, etc etc.

This time it would be different. Chelsea could lose Drogba and a number of other players, meaning a large rebuilding job would have to be undertaken, just when Roman Abramovich’s appetite for investment appears to have waned.

Remember as well that it was only in September that Mourinho’s relationship with the Chelsea hierarchy completely collapsed. Media reports say Abramovich has since had some “cosy chats” with his former coach and even bought him a car, but working together again would bring the same tensions, the same clashes of ego.

Assuming the second coming for Mourinho is not about to take place, where does that leave us?

Frank Rijkaard, Roberto Mancini, Sven-Goran Eriksson and Russia coach Guus Hiddink have all been mentioned as possible candidates but the best answer to Chelsea’s problems might well be Marcello Lippi, who has been out of work since Italy’s World Cup triumph two years ago.

Lippi, incidentally one of the few coaches to enjoy success in a second spell when he returned to Juventus, has been waiting for a perfect opening.

He said he would have talked to Barca if they hadn’t appointed Pep Guardiola. He has also said he wouldn’t fancy learning English. Yet England coach Fabio Capello’s first English interview at the weekend was impressive.

Lippi’s language barrier would be easier to overcome than all of Mourinho’s baggage.

Mark Meadows, Milan

 PHOTO: Jose Mourinho while manager of Chelsea at last year’s FA Cup final, Sep 20, 2007 REUTERS/Eddie Keogh


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The decision to do away with the clubs’s most successful coach irked Chelsea’s fans more than it propped up the ego of club’s owner.The two men profess their affection for the club but it may yet be time to walk the talk.I expect magnanimity from the owner to reinstate The Special One and vow not to interfere with footballing matters, whilst expecting Mourinho will tone down his Ego and accept to lead back the club to glory.I just like anyone would lead Chelsea to an unremarkable season as has happened but this club that I love requires a manager with as big as an ego in the likes of Jose’s in tandem with such managerial prowess

Posted by Patrick Ndeda | Report as abusive

Mr. Meadows seems very aversed to the return of the special one. why is that? I guess its typical Mourhino hate.

Personally, if Abrahamovic and Mourhino have had some friendly talks of late and he even bought him a car, then there is a chance that he might be returning. And as any true blue, that would be simply magnificent.

Get a grip Mark!

Posted by tedd | Report as abusive

Mourinho is a tremendously charismatic figure whose success speaks for itself.
It is the difficult task of going back to a former club where the dynamics have changed that would be the problem, not the man himself.

Posted by Mark Meadows | Report as abusive

The special one,the only one,to bring back success,all the fans worldwide and the Chelsea brand,all lost with his departure.Give Roman a place on the bench as Joses assistant,he can bring in his ideas and he can learn football in the front row.

Posted by football | Report as abusive

I agree Murino will not go back to Chelsea nor would he be wanted there but I also believe the author is a bit unfair about Murino’s achievements at Chelsea.

Chelsea were an unbeatable side thanks for his tactics. He will make a great coach wherever he goes but I agree Chelsea he should not return to.


Soccer Nation

Posted by bigAl | Report as abusive

The South African soccer team seems to favour the Portuguese coaches at the moment (see here).

Do you think Mourinho has a possible job there!? :-)

Posted by Ricardo | Report as abusive

Chelsea have been a very strong team even after the departure of the special one(Maurinho)who brought through his untiring effort silverwares to the Blues,though he left quite unceremoniously for the inexperience Grant to fill the void,whose sack had been long overdue though timely for his inability to retain the silverwares talkless of winning the champions league.
The Blues family are seeking for a fresh handler,whose charismatic experience will help in rebuilding a srong,aggressive and goal oriented team that the Blues has always been known for.
The choice of either Frank Raijkaad or Marcello Lippi would not be a bad idea.

Posted by Felix | Report as abusive

First of all, Mourinho isn’t going back to Chelsea. But I take issue with the last line of the blog entry, that Lippi’s language barrier would be easier to overcome than Mourinho’s “baggage.” Exactly what baggage would that be? Two Premier League titles? Two Portuguese league titles? One FA Cup? One UEFA Cup? One Champions League title? I think Chelsea fans would welcome that kind of “baggage” again.

Mourinho’s biggest problem at Chelsea was that his ego–and his wallet–weren’t as big as the owner’s. 05/starting-eleven-football-blog-roundup _27.html

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

the special one is long overdue to be back to the bridge. he is needed to bring back the team spirit of the players, fans,the club officials and even the owner. i have never adored a coach like him. come back the special one, come back.

Posted by l s dabo | Report as abusive

I don’t think Italian coaches Lippi or Mancini will go to Chelsea. Abramovich has said he wants spectacular soccer, Rijkaard is the best fit for that requirement. Mourinho I think wants to go to an Italian club in the Serie A. Its most likely that Italian clubs reach the finals in the Champions League than a Premiership club. Not just that but also reach the Intercontinental tournament too. He needs more international experience soon so he can be ready to manage the Portugal national team.

Posted by Monica 08 | Report as abusive

i dont tolerate any idea against the return of the special one. this is pure common sense looking at the man’s record, his achievements for chelsea vis a vis what the club had in store before his advent.
whoever is agaist his return is not only against chelsea but also against the entire english league. come back jose, we miss you.

Posted by balala | Report as abusive

Non augurerei al Chelsea di avere Mancini come allenatore neanche se fossi il suo peggior nemico. Finalmente ci siamo tolti una spina…! Spero davvero che venga Mourinho all’Inter così finalmente potremo vedere un po’ di calcio vero e sperare di arrivare anche in fondo alla Champions League.

Posted by Simone Ilva | Report as abusive

way to go mike….baggage??…what baggage?….how about all the trophies garnered in 2 seasons?!!!!

even if abramovish grovels, mourinho will not go back to chelsea…he’s off to inter and see if he doesn’t take them to greater heights….’bramovich will rue the day he let the special one go!!!!

i think rikaard or mancini will do the job for chelsea

Posted by vivian | Report as abusive

Anyone who thinks that Jose wouldn’t be welcomed back to Stamford Bridge with open arms is an idiot! Jose will forever be idolised at Chelsea by the players and fans alike.
All he needs is to be left alone to get on with his job and then he delivers. Simple really…

Posted by Alan | Report as abusive