His self-proclaimed title as Special One brought a few smiles when he was revealed as Chelsea manager in 2004, but Jose Mourinho really put Chelsea on the map.
The 56-year-old’s influence on the club is undeniable in two spells and eight trophies – but with his former player Frank Lampard now taking charge and making his mark in a new era, it seems like that grip has been released. Some of his favorite employees have left and a new Chelsea look gives young people the chance to shine.
Mourinho was criticized for never giving youth a chance, but Lampard has shown Chelsea’s young weapons can flourish – Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori are just a few examples of the club’s youth system that thrives and produces players who can perform at the highest level.
Jose Mourinho brought Chelsea huge success and put them on the map as a club
He called himself the Special One when he arrived in Chelsea in 2004 – he was true to his word
When Lampard travels to Tottenham this weekend, it will be an almost unrecognizable team for what Jose built at the bridge in his day. His teams have always been involved in rear-end organization and hitting teams during the break, while Lampard’s youthful outfit isn’t afraid to do things with a panache and pass it around from the back.
Mourinho did things his way and he was extremely successful.
Fresh from an overwhelming Champions League triumph with Porto, he came to Stamford Bridge and captured – winning the Premier League crown and League Cup in his first season and retaining the title in his second campaign.
Frank Lampard was key under Mourinho’s Chelsea, but is now changing things as a manager
The likes of Andriy Shevchenko, Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, Ricardo Carvalho and Petr Cech were all brought in when the Blues won six trophies with Jose at the helm, but he wasn’t ready there even after he left the club in 2007.
His second spell brought him back from Serie A and La Liga success, and he soon had Chelsea back in the spotlight after securing his third league title, with Diego Costa, Eden Hazard, Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas in the main role in his comeback spell.
What should have been the dream reunion ended in tears when Mourinho was sacked in West London mid-season 2015-16, with Chelsea more like relegation candidates than defending champions.
But even in his absence, Mourinho still had an impact on the team.
Many of the big names featured under Mourinho have disappeared, and Lampard relies on the youth
Four managers have been in the dug-out since the departure of the Portuguese boss, each with a part of his key personnel. Antonio Conte took the club out of the rubble by winning the title in its first season with pretty much the same team that Mourinho left behind. Costa, a signature of Mourinho, was the top scorer, while Matic and Fabregas were both prominent in midfield.
Led by Maurizio Sarri, a handful of players from Jose’s title-winning team were involved as he led them to third place in the league last season and a Europa League victory, with Azpilicueta, Hazard, Willian and Gary Cahill all selected in the squad for the final against Arsenal.
But fast forward to the present under Lampard and you can see that the remains of Jose’s side have almost completely disappeared.
Thibaut Courtois and Hazard have left for Real Madrid, Branislav Ivanovic has returned to Russia, John Terry and Drogba are retired, Matic is with United and Costa is with Atletico Madrid.
The relationship between Lampard and Mourinho is not considered as close as ever at Chelsea
Willian and Cesar Azpilicueta are two of only three stars left from Mourinho’s title-winning side
The only recognizable faces from his tenure are Kurt Zouma, Azpilicueta and Willian. Lampard refreshed his team by getting rid of a potentially harmful transfer embargo and using it as an opportunity to give his talented youth stars a chance on the team.
Abraham has come in and has become the Premier League’s top scorer, Mount has become a leading midfield player and Tomori and Reece James are nailing in the back.
And while Lampard admitted to taking inspiration from his previous Chelsea executives, after learning from Carlo Ancelotti and Rafa Benitez, among others, it doesn’t look like he’ll pull a sheet from Jose’s book.
Speaking as a Manchester City player after facing his former squad in 2015, Lampard said they hadn’t talked much since leaving Chelsea.
Lampard is trying to forge his own legacy at Chelsea and he has revamped the playing style
“This is football, it’s sports and I haven’t talked to him very much lately,” he said. “I don’t think there is room for bitterness, and if it does, I’ll deal with it later.”
After Lampard’s men were punched 4-0 in his first game as a Manchester United boss, Mourinho dug them in as a Sky Sports expert, and the former Blues midfielder got rid of his criticism and updated their relationship .
“We would occasionally have text messages with Jose,” he said. “We had a few at the start of the season around the Manchester United game, where he had a small chance!
Mourinho is undergoing a new chapter at Tottenham, hoping to banish his controversial past
‘As regards [Mourinho], yes, we are in a relationship. ‘
Much has been made of reinventing Mourinho at Tottenham – less focus on him, less explosive outbursts from the press conference and training ground failures, and more focus on improving the team. At the same time, Lampard reinvents Chelsea in a new chapter where the old guard that has brought the club so much success has long since disappeared.
Mourinho promised never to leave Chelsea after rejoining them in 2013 and said he would never manage Spurs, but here we are.
When he shakes Lampard’s hand in the Sunday dugout, it marks the beginning of a new era in which his relationship with Chelsea finally ends.