Why Jose Mourinho will be a success at Chelsea

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Chelsea Football Club have scheduled a press conference scheduled for June 3 2013. 

It’s probably not a stretch of the imagination to assume that they will be officially announcing what the footballing community has known for months: Jose Mourinho will make his return to Stamford Bridge.

This news has been met by much skepticism by both fans and the press: Will he regret coming back? Is Roman Abramovich really going to afford him the power he wants? Will he stick around? Will he be successful?

A lot of people have said 'no' the latter question - citing managers like Kenny Dalglish going back to Liverpool and failing at the second attempt to bring the glory days back to Merseyside.

Dalglish had managed Liverpool between 1985 and 1991. In his first season as manager, Dalglish won Liverpool its first double as they won the English First Division - now the Premier League - and the FA Cup in the 1985/86 season.

Dalglish went on to win three English First Division titles with Liverpool, two FA Cups and four Charity Shields. His return to Merseyside however, was not so successful.

Dalglish did manage to guide Liverpool to their first trophy in six years by winning the English League Cup, and also took Liverpool to the 2012 FA Cup Final. However, Liverpool were 17th in the Premier League over the second half of the season and finished eigth.

Dalglish was sacked.

There are more names, some even bigger than Dalglish. Louis Van Gaal’s return to Barcelona lasted just half a season – but I if you’re good enough to succeed you will. No matter where you go. A blip is merely a blip.

Therefore I have found three managers who I think Jose Mourinho needs to take advice from if he is to be successful for a second term at Chelsea. 

1. Jupp Heynckes | Bayern Munich (1987–1991, 2009, 2011–present)

During his first stint at Bayern, he managed two second-placed finishes and two back-to-back Bundesliga titles. 

He also guided Bayern to the semi finals of one UEFA Cup and two European Cups losing out to the eventual winners on all three occasions.

Heynckes was sacked after Bayern won just four of 12 games in his final season, they went of to finish just five points of the relegation zone and yet general manager Uli Hoeness described it as the “biggest mistake” of his career.

Heynckes took over as interim manager for Bayern after Jurgen Klinsmann was sacked in 2009 before taking over full time in 2011. In his first season back he guided the team to a second placed finish and a Champions League final, losing to Chelsea on penalty kicks.

2012 – 13 was a different story. Heynckes smashed Bundesliga records by winning 29 out of 34 games, amassing 91 out of 102 points, won the Bundesliga by a record points margin and record low goals conceded. He also won the Champions League, triumphing over Borussia Dortmund 2-1 after a run that included a 7-0 aggregate thrashing of Barcelona. 

2. Walter Smith | Rangers (1991 – 1998, 2007 – 2011)

Walter Smith took over as Rangers manager in 1991 and in his first season won the Scottish Premier League title.  

But this marked the first of six consecutive SPL titles for Rangers that made Rangers 9 time back-to-back SPL champions, asserting their absolute dominance of Scottish football in the 1990s.

Smith retired in 1998, but went on to manage Everton in the English Premier League before an assistant manager stint at Manchester United and later managing the Scottish national team.

Smith returned to Rangers in 2007 and led them to the 2008 UEFA Cup Final where they were beaten by Zenit St. Petersburg. He won the first of three consecutive titles in 2009 before leaving in 2011. 

3. Guus Hiddink | PSV Eindhoven (1987 – 1990, 2002 – 2006)

Guus Hiddink was promoted to manager of PSV Eindhoven in March of 1987 with PSV lying three points behind Ajax with 10 games to go. Hiddink helped PSV finish six points ahead of Ajax, winning the Eredivisie title. 

Hiddink went on to complete a treble in the next season winning the Eredivisie title, the KNVB Cup and the European Cup in 1988.

In his first tenure with PSV, Hiddink won three back-to-back Eredivisie titles, three KNVB Cups and the European Super Cup.

Hiddink returned to PSV in 2002 and hit the ground running once again. 

He secured the Eredivisie title for PSV in his first season back in charge before following it up with two more back-to-back Eredivisie titles in 2004/05 and 2005/06, he also won the KNVB Cup in 2005, the Dutch Super Cup in 2003 and guided PSV to the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2004/05.

This was the furthest PSV had ever been in the Champions League in the modern format, adopted in 1992/93. Hiddink left in 2006 as Holland’s most successful manager ever.

So Mourinho, the blueprint is there. There are horror stories, yes, but there are success stories too. I for one think Mourinho will be successful in his return to Stamford Bridge.

They don’t call him “The Special One” for nothing.


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