Chelsea ended their pre-season campaign on a winning note, with Romelu Lukaku’s late goal giving them a 2-1 victory against Roma in Washington DC.
Jose Mourinho has his second, first, pre-season under his belt as Blues boss but punters thinking that the ‘Special One’ will just rock up to the Premier League and manage Chelsea in the same manner as he did in 2004, are very mistaken.
Both Mourinho and Chelsea have evolved and matured significantly since he first walked through the door.
But what will be the key differences in 2013?
The man himself, for starters. This mature, calmer Mourinho, unfortunately for sports headline writers, is far more media savvy and rarely let’s his guard down in public anymore.
Once upon time, the sprightly Chelsea gaffer would roll into press conferences all fired up and emotional, and provide reporters with a juicy story. This was a personal favourite of ours after a 0-0 draw with Spurs:
“As we say in Portugal, they brought the bus and they left the bus in front of the goal. I would have been frustrated if I had been a supporter who paid £50 to watch this game because Spurs came to defend.”
He’s far too long in the tooth to be lured into quoting such extraordinary opinions anymore – but hopefully the passion of the Premier League will bring his guard down at some point during the season.
Mourinho also takes the Chelsea reins charged with managing a completely different type of squad, in very different circumstances.
In 2004, he inherited a team of losers, and spent near £230 million on revamping the playing staff by 2007, with huge success.
He returns to manage a squad of winners, players who have been and, have further aspirations to be, champions.
Mourinho and Chelsea, after their scrappy divorce, now look an even stronger unit now reunited.
His modern-day Chelsea job looks a far simpler one to negotiate than in 2004 – it won’t be as exciting as his first spell, but the base is there for a big trophy haul.