Jose Mourinho called his final season at Real Madrid in 2012/13 as the worst of his career as he ended the campaign trophyless.
The final nail came in the Copa del Rey final when losing 2-1 to Atletico Madrid after extra time, when Diego Simeone’s attempt to make the game scrappy and hit Real on the counter attack eventually worked in his favour.
There were early signs in this meeting of Atletico adopting the blueprint that has become synonymous with Simeone’s time at the club, which include a lack of focus on possession and a style that takes organisation without the ball to the extreme.
Rule number one is to stay as compact as possible, with the wider players remaining narrow and strikers being especially quick to drop deep and get goalside of the ball.
The centre forwards could easily spend more time shuffling laterally across the pitch in their own half, rather than contesting balls in that of their opponents.
To make this work efficiently, all players have to put the team first, everyone has to be hard working and then have the knowhow of what to do when possession is finally won back and a counter-attacking opportunity is created.
Mourinho doesn’t copy this design precisely and is certainly not as reliant on the counter as his preferred medium of attack, but organisation and workrate are pivotal to his set up, especially in midfield at Chelsea.
Where the number-ten role has often been regarded as a luxury position in the past with a focus on creativity, Mourinho regularly calls upon Oscar, who is equally about work rate and pressurising the opposition as he is about scoring goals and unlocking defences.
Willian is also a regular starter in a forward position down the right, but tracking back, robbing possession in the final third and general energy are just as critical in his game as creating chances and beating his full-back.
Mourinho selects his team with each opponent in mind, which can involve beefing up the Chelsea midfield through the use of a defender. He is rightfully regarded as the most tactically-adept manager in the Premier League when his focus is towards getting a certain result.
One thing that has always remained is his preference for a 4-2-3-1 formation and getting the best players for each individual position.
Atletico have already been raided once for Diego Costa and he is arguably the best in world football at performing the lone striker role.
He is aggressive when leading the line, runs the channels, can keep multiple defenders occupied at one time, tirelessly harasses defenders in possession, is prepared to take players on and is fairly lethal in front of goal.
It is safe to say that Atletico have lost something since Costa’s departure, with Mario Mandzukic not as dynamic and unable to run defenders in the same way. This doesn’t give them the same outlet to scamper up the pitch on the counter attack.
Filipe Luis arrived with Costa to Chelsea over the summer, adept in the Atletico way of playing. He has been more unfortunate and seen first-team chances limited because of the way Cesar Azpilicueta has made the left-back role his own.
Now that the Premier League title is won, Chelsea can begin early in drawing up their shortlist for the next campaign and it is no surprise to see another three Atletico Madrid players prominent.
The only real weakness at Chelsea is perceived to have been Cesc Fabregas in a central midfield duo, as he can get drawn out of position and is not the most disciplined when it comes to his defensive duties.
Koke doesn’t seem the logical answer to becoming Nemanja Matic’s partner either and he would be more of an upgrade on Ramires if the Brazilian was sold on this summer, rather than the missing link in the squad.
The fact that Koke has been capped by Spain in their hugely competitive midfield shows what a talent he is, with his game revolving around covering every blade of grass, plus some extra creativity to boot.
He is Atletico’s chief assister this season for the second campaign running, but is better suited to being utilised as a wide option in a midfield diamond, rather than as a holding midfielder.
Mario Suarez is the Atletico player who most fits the mould of what Chelsea require, although the Blues would probably prefer someone slightly younger than 28.
The second player linked is Antoine Griezmann, who may be regarded as a slight upgrade on Oscar.
His 16 goals for Real Sociedad last season suggests he would contribute more goals, he is quicker and has now learnt to be more defensively conscious.
Furthermore, Griezmann is adept and capable of playing down the left flank and this is an area where Chelsea are a little short of options, particularly if the plan is to move Eden Hazard into a more central starting role.
The third link with Atletico Madrid is for Toby Alderweireld, who has spent the season impressing on loan at Southampton.
The Belgian’s versatility would also be useful, as not only can he do a job anywhere across the defence, but also has experience of playing in defensive midfield. He would be superior to Kurt Zouma in this regard.
Southampton have only conceded 17 goals in Alderweireld’s 23 Premier League appearances and he has won almost 60 per cent of headers and tackles attempted this season.
The black and yellow boys at bwin are currently offering the top industry price of 6/4 that Chelsea retain their Premier League title in the 2015/16 campaign and a job lot of Atletico Madrid arrivals this summer would do this quest no harm.