Jose Mourinho said he was returning to Chelsea with the passion of a supporter after being appointed manager of the Premier League heavyweights for the second time yesterday.
The 50-year-old Portuguese, who led the club to unprecedented success between 2004 and 2007, succeeds interim coach Rafael Benitez and has signed a four-year contract.
His Stamford Bridge comeback was one of the worst-kept secrets in European football, with weeks of media speculation culminating in his admission on Spanish television late on Sunday that he had agreed to move back to west London.
In an interview with Chelsea TV, the club’s in-house television channel, Mourinho said his time at the club had left a deep impression that endured throughout his subsequent tenures at Inter Milan and Real Madrid.
“It is exactly the same message, but now I can say I am one of you (supporters) and that makes a little bit of a difference,” he said. “I never hide that in my career in football I had two great passions — Inter and Chelsea, and Chelsea is more than important for me.
“It was very hard to play against Chelsea. I did it twice, which was not so bad. Now I promise exactly the same things I promised in 2004, but with the difference we have (now), which is I am one of you.”
Announcing the news of Mourinho’s reappointment, Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay heralded his “success, drive and ambition”, and said he was the “outstanding candidate”.
“He’s a great manager,” said midfielder Frank Lampard, a survivor of Mourinho’s first spell at Stamford Bridge. “He took my game on a million miles, and my personality in terms of football on a million miles. A lot of the reasons I moved on in the game are because of him.”
Popularly referred to as ‘the Special One’, in reference to a brash remark from his very first Chelsea press conference, Mourinho is an outspoken figure who has became renowned for his clashes with officials and opposition coaches.
Mourinho’s Chelsea record (June 2004-Sept 2007)
Played: 185 Won: 124 Drew: 40 Lost: 21 Win %: 67
> Silverware: Mourinho’s first trophy was the Carling Cup in 2005, when he also delivered Chelsea’s first championship title in 50 years.
> Premier League: 2004-05, 2005-06 FA Cup: 2006-07
> League Cup: 2004-05, 2006-07 Community ShiIeld: 2005
> Individual Honours: Mourinho was twice named
Premier League Manager of the Year, in 2004-05 and 2005-06.