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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 June, 2004, 11:34 GMT 12:34 UK
Mourinho makes big impression
By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer

Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho's spectacular entry into Chelsea delivered a first impression that this is the man who will electrify the Premiership - outspoken, arrogant, controversial, but utterly compelling.

And, on first sight and sound, a wonderful addition to the English game both in terms of personality and pedigree.

Mourinho did not breeze into Stamford Bridge. He was a whirlwind that backed up the claims that he is a Portuguese version of arguably the greatest English manager of them all, Brian Clough.

What is clear is that Mourinho is no Claudio Ranieri - and how long his single-minded and ruthless approach will stay happily married to any interference from Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon and owner Roman Abramovich is difficult to say.

Mourinho is the antithesis of the humble Ranieri, and yet his open approach may make him the best arrival in the Premiership in years.

While the "Tinkerman" deflected questions with Italian charm and turned on a self-effacing sense of humour, Mourinho's in-your-face self-confidence was breathtaking.

He is the man in control at Chelsea. And no-one was left in any doubt on that score from the moment he sat alongside Kenyon.

Take the job title for a start - "manager and coach".

In other words, Chelsea is Mourinho's club from now on.

And what about the arrogance? Well, he almost apologised for it - but not quite.

"We have top players, and I'm sorry I'm a bit arrogant, we have a top manager.

"I am the European champion. I think I am special." Not that anyone doubted that.

And if the blueprint for Abramovich's plans for Chelsea future centred on the seemingly endless acquisition of players that was in operation last season, Mourinho wasted no time in ripping that up.

"I hate big squads. I want 21 outfield players plus goalkeepers. I work with small squads for very specific work. Players don't win trophies - squads win trophies."

We have top players, and I'm sorry I'm a bit arrogant, but we have a top manager
Jose Mourinho

It was a blistering statement of intent, but it was made by a man who can back up words with actions, such as winning the Champions League as a follow-up to winning the Uefa Cup.

And if the Premiership needed a dash of colour and a touch of added spice, this is a man who will provide it.

Mourinho has the potential to assume almost pantomime-villain proportions among Chelsea's opponents, while the Stamford Bridge regulars will love a man who will fight his club's corner fiercely.

And they should sell tickets for the potential verbal jousts with Sir Alex Ferguson, who allowed Mourinho to get under his skin as Porto ejected Manchester United from the Champions League.

Mourinho's super-cool assessment of how special he is may be an acquired taste to some, and grating to others, but those who enjoy drama cannot deny what value he will be in the Premiership.

For all the measured arrogance, you cannot help but like him. He will give the top-flight a new dimension.

And there is rich promise in the words: "I want to build a team in relation to my image and my football philosophy."

No-one knows how long this ride will last, but with a new star in the Premiership, there is a cast-iron guarantee it will not be dull.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho
"Please don't call me arrogant but I'm European champion"


Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon
"He is thoughtful, confident and very impressive"





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