The build up to the dismissal of Jose Mourinho as Chelsea manager was one of, if not the most talked about news story of the 2015/2016 Premier League season. The ‘Special One’ returned to his spiritual home of Stamford Bridge and lead them once again to the Premier League title, but then it all started to go wrong.
He now returns to the Bridge in the opposite dugout, for only the second time in his managerial career, as manager of Manchester United and we strongly suspect he won’t be welcomed back with open arms.
Mourinho is regarded as one of the most successful managers in the world, catapulted into international stardom as manager of Porto. He won the Primeira Liga in his first season in charge, and repeated that feat the following year as well as winning the UEFA Champions League.
Making his first move to Chelsea in 2004, he won every domestic trophy that was on offer including consecutive league titles in the 2004/2005 and 2005/2006 seasons, and an FA Cup and League Cup double in the 2006/2007 season, the year he left the club.
Continuing his success in Italy as Inter Milan manager, they became the first Italian side to win the Serie A title, Coppa Italia and the Champions League in the 2009/10 season. He then left for La Liga and Real Madrid where he won the Copa Del Rey and La Liga title before returning to Chelsea.
When Jose returned to West London he was hailed by Chelsea fans as a hero, and they fully expected big things from their manager. He didn’t disappoint initially, winning the Premier League and League Cup.
However, the start of the 2015 season didn’t go to plan, the Blues picked up only 11 points from their first 12 games, and after losing nine of their first sixteen games the fans started to turn. Jose was soon dismissed from Stamford Bridge – his first ever dismissal as a manager.
The rumours then began to circulate as to why he was sacked, and whether it was connected to the current off the field issues. However, when the team started to pick up points in the hands of interim manager Guus Hiddink, many suggested he had lost the support of the players.
Now the question on everyone’s lips is what reception will await Jose on his return to the stadium that saw him secure so much managerial success. Chelsea and Manchester United have enjoyed a strong rivalry in recent years, and Jose would love three points from this game.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has called on fans to give him a great reception when he is seen in the dugout on Sunday, but it’s fair to say we don’t expect to hear fans cheering his name as they did when he lost his position last December.
You can’t deny Mourinho’s brilliance as a manager and the fact he is the most successful manager in Chelsea’s history, so we suspect the fans will show respect and restraint despite emotions running high, and a very big three points up for grabs.