José Mourinho breezed back into Stamford Bridge with "the Special One" transformed into "the Happy One" and, having been overlooked by Manchester United and Manchester City, claimed his second coming at Chelsea represented "the only job I want to have".
The Portuguese cut a relaxed figure at his first media conference since signing a four-year contract and, with the chairman, Bruce Buck, and the chief executive, Ron Gourlay, in the audience, stressed he has bought into Chelsea's hierarchical structure and recruitment policy. The former Real Madrid manager insisted he had signed up to a long-term project, even expressing a willingness to stay at the club beyond the length of his deal, and does not fear for his position should he fail to deliver the Premier League title in his first season, as he had in his glittering first spell at the club.
Mourinho arrives after a fractious and trophyless third season with Real, and with little interest having been expressed in his availability at Old Trafford or the Etihad Stadium. That had prompted suggestions he needs Chelsea as much as the Europa League winners need him. "But I am where I want to be," he said. "I wouldn't change it for anything. If you told me now every job in the football world was at this table, I would choose my job. It's a job I was offered and I accepted immediately, the only job I want to have.
"I'm still very confident. But, at the same time, I'm more stable, more mature. If I was a proud guy because of what I did before I came here, now I've done more: I've been at Inter[nazionale], [Real] Madrid, won titles … I'm very calm, very relaxed, but I didn't just choose a comfortable position because I'm returning to a house where I was happy and successful and where the fans love me. No. I'm coming with exactly the opposite perspective. I have more responsibility because of that. The expectations are higher because people know what I can deliver."
The 50-year-old, who claimed United made "a good decision" in appointing David Moyes as Sir Alex Ferguson's successor, intends to make only slight tweaks to the squad he has inherited from the interim manager, Rafael Benítez, to fall in with the club's adopted strategy which focuses increasingly upon recruiting potential in the transfer market. There will be one or two high-profile additions to the ranks, with the Napoli forward Edinson Cavani the principal target. Intriguingly, Mourinho spoke glowingly about Wayne Rooney, who has yet to speak with Moyes over his own future at United.
"He's at a fantastic age for a player: maturity, big experience, still young …" he said of the unsettled forward. "It's up to him and what he wants, what makes him happy. A little bit like me: he doesn't need one more pound in his contract. One more cup won't make a difference. Where will he find more happiness to have ambition and drive him? I like him as a boy. I wish him well and hope he is happy.
"There won't be big changes. It would be easier if we did that, but we're happy to go with these fantastic, talented boys to show that the investment Chelsea made in recent seasons, by putting young players out on loan, was a good decision, especially with financial fair play arriving. Imagine if you bring back [Romelu] Lukaku, [Kevin] de Bruyne and perhaps [Tomas] Kalas: that's zero [spent] because the investment was made before. We want to go in this direction. The one or two we may buy are complements because the structure and philosophy is this one."
Mourinho has made contact with a number of his Chelsea squad but will speak with every member face to face only upon their return for pre-season training next month. He stressed the five players who worked with him in his first spell will not benefit from "any privileges". There will be talks with John Terry, who has attracted interest from Monaco and Galatasaray having only played a bit-part role at the club last term, as the stalwart enters the final 12 months of his contract. "I know what he can give, so let's try to make him again a very important player that he couldn't be last season," he said, with Terry to remain as club captain even if he will not necessarily be guaranteed a starting place.
The same will apply to Fernando Torres, one of the squad's Spanish contingent currently preparing for the Confederations Cup in Brazil and with whom the new manager has yet to speak. "He's a Chelsea player with a contract and he's more than happy to stay and work hard," he said. "We will speak face to face and, if the best for all of us is for Fernando to stay, let's help him and try and get the best out of him."
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image: © Ronnie Macdonald