With Manchester United losing to Portsmouth about five minutes ago, and Chelsea beating Tottenham, Jose Mourinho finds himself in a greatly improved position to single handedly win a third consecutive Premiership title.
Single handedly, because a number of new quotes from the Chelsea boss have emerged leaving little doubt what he attributes any progress made by the club or its players to,
“Leadership can be felt in the smallest of things, in the smallest details, with a look from, or just the presence of, the leader himself,” he said. “I have players who say to me that when they do a drill in which I do not take part my absence makes all the difference.”
“For a period at Chelsea I deliberately stopped acting as a leader and thought ‘let’s see what’s going to happen’. I came to the conclusion that it is not possible for me to step away. Even if the group is strong after two, three, four years’ work, my leadership has to be applied every day.”
We can see this two ways. Either look at it as Chelsea’s players being incapable of motivating themselves without Mourinho breathing down their neck, or perhaps Jose’s influence is so great and his standards so high that he only accepts the sort of effort only he can get out them.
“Who were Lampard, Terry, Drogba two years ago? – they were not world stars. “In this moment who are they? – they are like [Andriy] Shevchenko or [Michael] Ballack.
“In this moment they are stars. I have Lampard who was the second best player of the world last season and I have Terry who was the best player in England.
The FIFA player awards hold the same credibility to us as the FIFA national team rankings. So claiming that Lampard has risen to the second best player in the world doesn’t have a lot of mileage.
And ignoring, for the moment, the impact of Roman Abramovich we also seem to remember Lampard’s development to his current level beginning before most people knew who Mourinho was. The same could easily be said of John Terry, and both players benefited supremely from the arrival of Claude Makelele – also before Jose Mourinho showed up.
Mourinho has obviously does a fantastic job and Chelsea and has already achieved more than most managers will in an entire career, but we still see his work at the club as finishing off what Claudio Ranieri well and truly started. His work at Porto, on the other hand, was much more impressive.