José Mourinho has insisted he is returning to Chelsea a better and more mature manager than when he left in 2007, claiming he wants to stay at the club "for a long time" after agreeing a four-year contract.
Mourinho, who will be officially introduced next Monday, completed the formalities of his protracted move in London on Monday and insisted he was ready to "marry again" after agreeing a return to the club he professes to "love" following a five-minute conversation with the owner, Roman Abramovich.
Mourinho is set to become the highest paid manager in the Premier League with a reported £8.5m salary, and brings with him two members of his backroom staff, the fitness coach Rui Faria and goalkeeping coach Silvino Louro, who worked at Stamford Bridge during his previous three-year spell, when Chelsea won two league titles, one FA Cup and two League Cups. The technical assistant, José Morais, also follows from Spain while Steve Holland, Christophe Lollichon and Chris Jones will remain from the existing coaching setup.
Mourinho, 50, left Chelsea six years ago after his relationship with Abramovich had seriously deteriorated, but claims he has matured following successful spells at Internazionale and Real Madrid, saying his bond with the owner has always been strong.
Asked if hoped to build a long-term project at Chelsea, he said: "I hope so. When you look at the profile of the Chelsea squad I think it's what they need at this time. It's very important for this club and very important for the balance of the squad, but it's a young squad with a lot of talent and I think they need stability to reach a high point of their evolution and for their careers.
"They need stability, stability I hope I can give them and between me, the owner and of course the club, we have no doubts about what we want to do and the approach we want to have.
"I am the same, physically the same, but every day you have to think about yourself and about evolution. I have the same nature but I'm much more mature with a different approach to things, I'm more ready to be in a club and stay for a long time.
"People know the person I am, I kept a fantastic relation with the owner and the club, and it's something that makes me proud to be back. Not just because of the professional I am, I believe so because of the person I am."
He added: "It was an easy decision. I met the boss, the owner and I think in five minutes after a couple of very short but pragmatic questions we decided straight away. I asked the boss 'do you want me back?' and the boss asked me 'do you want to come back?' I think in a couple of minutes the decision was made."
The Chelsea technical director, Michael Emenalo, will remain at the club and senior sources today denied a report claiming the Nigerian recently offered to step down from his role. It had been speculated that Emenalo's future was at risk as Mourinho wanted absolute control over transfer dealings, which could provide him with significant funding in the window to strengthen his squad.
However, despite the club's reported interest in the Galatasaray striker Burak Yilmaz and the Manchester City forward Edin Dzeko, Mourinho spoke of his desire to build a side around the talent already at his disposal. "The plan is always the same, evolution and to establish the club at the highest possible level. I left Chelsea in 2007, since then I've spoken about the club many times, especially in my privacy," Mourinho told Chelsea TV.
"We have to improve the team, and when I say improve the team people are already thinking about how many millions Chelsea are going to spend, and when I say improve the team I am saying improving by work.
"My work has to improve players and improve the team. The profile of the younger players with long-term space for improvement and development, I like very much that kind of profile. I've come with a four-year contract so if I read the situation with the immediate age of [Eden] Hazard, Oscar, [David] Luiz and these boys, I think it will be good for me to work with them and good for them to work with me."
The Chelsea chief executive, Ron Gourlay, said that Mourinho was the "outstanding candidate" for the job while the midfielder Frank Lampard hailed the arrival of a "top class" manager. "He's taken that [winning mentality] everywhere he's gone with him," said Lampard. "He creates a spirit in his squads that you can see from the outside is very, very strong. He's a top class manager, we all know that."
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image: © Ronnie Macdonald