The Portuguese stepped in for his first spell at Stamford Bridge in the 2004-05 campaign - one year on from Russian billionaire Roma Abramovich’s takeover of the club – immediately delivering a Premier League and League Cup double at the helm.
Success came at a price, however, as the Blues spent nearly £100m in the preceding summer to bring in stars such as Didier Drogba, Petr Cech and Arjen Robben – adding to the £120m tab run up in advance of the previous term.
Mourinho would go on to deliver four more trophies before moving on to Inter – whilst Chelsea continued to splash the cash following his departure and upon his eventual return to west London.
Abramovich’s outfit received a healthy amount of stick for ‘buying’ silverware in an era that kicked-off the modern phenomenon of foreign-owned sides with nearly unlimited resources.
Manchester City would come into considerable money themselves in 2008 under the Abu Dhabi United Group, lavishing in excess of £600m on transfer in the past six years.
And Mourinho has opined that whilst Chelsea took the brunt of criticism for achieving success through financial means, City have skirted rebuke to some extent.
“In my time we were accused of buying the title, no?” he said to reporters. “Because our owner was Mr Abramovich, just arrived in the country.
“Maybe now people see City in a different way.
“I’m not sure if it’s because it’s taken them six years to get to this stage while we won straight away and I don’t care.
“I don’t envy the fact that they have this kind of protection, or whichever word. It is the way it is.”
City sit three points ahead of Mourinho’s third-place Chelsea ahead of Monday’s head-to-head clash, the wealthy duo expected to make respective runs at the title.
And what the Portuguese appears to have latched on to is a greater acceptance of the current financial landscape in European football at this point.
Rich clubs have simply become a reality – Paris St Germain have taken on considerable capital as have Monaco, whilst Russian billionaire Suleyman Kerimov even briefly tried to build a powerhouse side at unknown Anzhi Makhachkala.
Chelsea are no longer isolated in this manner of business, it’s only become increasingly prevalent since Abramovich landed in England over a decade ago.
Perhaps the Blues manager has understated the sentiments of observers with regards to City, but has nonetheless highlighted the ever-increasing spread of wealthy outfits.
He continues to benefit from this system at Chelsea, though is a man of strong opinion – and as such, it’s not much of a surprise to see him call attention to matters at the Etihad.
Arsenal have managed to give the Blues and City a run for their money to date without such backing, so overcoming the Gunners remains the mission – whilst Monday’s encounter offers Mourinho the perfect opportunity to get a leg up on Chelsea’s financial rivals.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald