Vincent Ralph considers what the coming season holds for the returning Chelsea boss.
They say you should never go back. But the regularity with which they say it suggests they are often ignored.
Such was the case with Jose Mourinho, whose second coming at Stamford Bridge has been hailed as a title-decider in itself.
Not many have been foolish enough to say it will all go wrong. Because surely it would be foolish, given the man’s previous at the club he played a significant role in transforming. And having returned to a place where he is adored by both players and fans, the season ahead will surely be one of great football and ultimate success.
But I can’t be the only one who wonders what will happen if it doesn’t go according to plan. If his Chelsea are overshadowed by one of the Manchester clubs the way Barcelona outshone practically everything he did at Real Madrid.
Is Mourinho the man for all occasions…or only those in which he is successful?
I can see Chelsea finishing anywhere from first to third next season – depending on the time of day I am asked the question. But what does the coming campaign hold for the Portuguese?
The press will certainly appreciate him more than they did in Spain. Where there he was something of a pantomime villain, here he is a loveable rogue.
I also expect him to aid Eden Hazard’s transition from sporadic genius to one of the Europe’s brightest stars.
Those predicting the downfall of Mourinho in light of his curious behaviour at the Bernabeu are surely wrong. The self-proclaimed “happy one” is back where he belongs, and Chelsea are likely to benefit from that.
But given Manchester City’s business thus far, and the quartet of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund all standing in the way of Champions League success, Mourinho may have to make do with happiness over trophies this season.
If that is the case, it will be interesting to see how long the smile remains…