Tag Archives: Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho announced as next Roma manager

It turns out Jose Mourinho wasn’t joking when he said he didn’t need an extended break from football after being sacked as Tottenham manager, because he’s got a new job already.

The Portuguese coach has been officially announced as the new manager of AS Roma, taking over from the departing Paulo Fonseca this summer to return to Serie A for the first time since leading Inter Milan to a treble 11 years ago.

Mourinho was sacked by Tottenham on April 19th, just six days before the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City. The club went on to lose the final 1-0, but Mourinho’s departure before the game meant that Spurs were the first side he’s managed since prior to being Porto manager that he failed to win a trophy with.

With no obvious job roles readily available at the time of his sacking many people including myself speculated that he could (or should) move into international management once the Euro 2020 tournament concludes.

However Roma have made a swift decision to not renew the contract of Paulo Fonseca this summer and instead bring in a prove winner in Italy in Mourinho. The club had reportedly been eyeing up former Chelsea and Juventus manager Maurizio Sarri for the role, but when Mourinho became available the club’s sporting director Tiago Pinto made him a priority.

It should be an interesting season for Mourinho in Italy, with Roma likely to miss out on Champions League and Europa League football next season. They are currently sitting in seventh place in the league and were thumped in the first-leg of their Europa League semi-final clash against Manchester United – losing 6-2 at Old Trafford despite having a 2-1 lead at half-time.

That could buy Mourinho some time in the project, using the first season to just focus on getting back into the Champions League while figuring out his squad needs and which players he can and can’t count on.

What it also does though, is show just how far his star has fallen since he was regarded as one of the top names in the world.

Mourinho has won just four trophies since the 2014/15 season, or five if you’re him and include the Community Shield in that conversation. He’s won nothing since the 2016/17 season with Manchester United and since that title win in 2015 with Chelsea, he has finished sixth, second and seventh while also being sacked three times.

He was sacked at Chelsea after having the club in 16th place, just one point above relegation the year after winning the title, before getting sacked at Manchester United in sixth place and Spurs in seventh place.

Even before the Spurs job many questioned whether he was the right man for the job anymore but when he stated that he had adapted his philosophies, people were willing to give him another chance.

What we saw was the same old, confrontational and argumentative Mourinho and thus it was no shock to see him struggle and eventually be dismissed.

In Serie A he returns to a league where he had great success and is still adored by the vast majority of the media after leaving on his own, good terms back in 2010 to take over at Real Madrid.

He has another chance to return to the top bracket of European football managers now, but it really is sink or swim at this point in his career now.

Ryan Mason leads charge for trophy and top four with win in first game as Spurs boss

Tottenham prepared themselves for the Carabao Cup final with a 2-1 win over Southampton in Ryan Mason’s first game as caretaker manager.

The Saints took the lead in the first half when Danny Ings headed in from a corner, but Spurs fought back in the second half in a much improved performance. Gareth Bale scored a wonderful curling effort from a tight angle to equalise, before Heung-Min Son scored a late penalty to seal all three points.

The win moved the north London side to within just two points of the top four, having played a game more and with five games remaining in their season.

It was a mixed performance from Tottenham, who for the first time this season failed to register a single shot on target in the first half.

Their passing was sloppy and Southampton threatened them several times, with Hugo Lloris making a huge double save early on in the game. It was clear they missed their star man Harry Kane on the pitch but Mason made some slight positional changes at half-time too help get his side higher up the pitch and it worked a treat.

Having started with Giovani Lo Celso in the 10 and with Tanguy Ndombele in the double pivot alongside Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, he opted to move Ndombele higher to essentially have two options between the lines and Lucas Moura dropped deeper to almost create a diamond. Bale and Son made their inverted runs like centre-forwards and Southampton couldn’t cope with the way Spurs were able to move the ball around.

It was the first time that Spurs have come from behind to win a game they were losing at half-time this season and there seemed to be a togetherness at the end of the game between the players that we haven’t seen in a while.

While Kane is described as 50/50 as being available for Sunday’s cup final, the likelihood that he sits out is low. With that said it means Lucas Moura is likely to be the man to step out of the lineup, while Moussa Sissoko or Dele Alli could come in for Lo Celso too to beef the midfield up a bit.

With just a handful of games left plus the cup final, Mason is unlikely to be able to earn himself the role of manager on a permanent basis. But he has kept his side in with a chance of the top four should teams around them continue to drop points randomly, while also affording himself the chance to win the club a trophy for the first time in 13 years.

Tactically he seems astute with the changes he made in this game and Bale was quick to comment on the “great team talk” at half-time that he gave them to prep them up and improve them.

Obviously it’s just one game and I don’t think he ripped up any trees to beat a team who have now lost 12 of their last 15 games in the Premier League, but it’s a start to get them back to winning ways after just two wins in nine prior to the game.

The cup final now is a huge moment for the club, but a pressureless moment largely because of the decision made by Daniel Levy to sack Jose Mourinho prior to it. Nobody now expects Spurs to even challenge Manchester City on the pitch, but if they show up and perform well they have every chance of causing the upset.

Jose Mourinho sacked by Tottenham – what next for him?

Tottenham Hotspur sacked manager Jose Mourinho yesterday after a string of poor results, just six days before the Carabao Cup final at Wembley against Manchester City.

After just 17 months in the job, the Portuguese gaffer parts ways with the north London club making them the first side since he took charge of Porto in 2002 that he leaves without having lifted silverware first.

Former midfielder Ryan Mason will take charge of the team for the rest of the season while the club begin their search for a new manager for next season.

A decision was taken by the club after it emerged that he had lost almost the entire dressing room following the 2-2 draw with Everton.

So what happens now for the man who is still widely considered as one of the best of all-time. He has finished above sixth just once in the Premier League since the 2015/16 season and has won just two trophies – the Europa League and the EFL Cup with Manchester United.

The top clubs will all now be surely wary of bringing him in, knowing that his style is seemingly outdated at the highest level and is no longer a guarantee of trophies that it once was. Despite the fact that some top sides will be looking for new managers this summer, it seems highly unlikely that he will be in the running for any of those roles.

It may be time now, at 58-years-old that Mourinho makes the move into international management. With Euro 2020 set to take place this summer, countries are almost certain to part way with their bosses and that could lead to opportunities.

Mourinho is clearly still good in the cups, getting Spurs to their first domestic cup final since 2008. He has a way of navigating cup games well and international football is all about that, so it would suit well.

Portugal have had Fernando Santos in charge for the best part of seven years now and he has led them to their first international titles with success at Euro 2016 and then the 2019 UEFA Nations League. But there is always a time for change.

If Portugal struggle at Euro 2020, with the World Cup just a year later, they could look to make a chance and bring in a manager with the reputation and stature of Jose Mourinho.

Germany are parting ways with Joachim Löw while Didier Deschamps could look to return to club management after leading France to a Euros final in 2016 then winning the World Cup in 2018.

Big clubs are unlikely to make a move for him any time soon after his most recent performances and his ego is still likely to be far too inflated for him to be willing to take a step down in management to take over at a lesser side.

He’s now in career limbo but it’s through his own fault. He has failed to adapt to modern football and modern players, instead relying on his old school defensive tactics and man management styles. He previously said he had done those things and that was part of the reason he got the Spurs job in the first place, so good luck to anyone listening to his jibberish now.

North London is Red as Mikel Arteta wins two battles with one performance

Arsenal ensured they maintained some local pride for the season thanks to a 2-1 come-from-behind win over Tottenham at the Emirates Stadium, after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was dropped for disciplinary reasons.

Tottenham took the lead in the first half as Erik Lamela, who came on for the injured Heung-Min Son, scored a stunning rabona shot from just inside the box against the run of play after Arsenal had hit the woodwork. The Reds continued to dominate the ball and create all the chances and finally got their reward when on the stroke of half-time Martin Odegaard’s shot deflected in off Toby Alderweireld and past Hugo Lloris.

Mikel Arteta brought on the pace of Nicolas Pepe at half-time for an ineffective Bukayo Saka, and it was the Ivorian who played a pass through to Alexandre Lacazette who sliced his shot but was then brought down by Davinson Sanchez who was trying to block the shot for a penalty. The Frenchman dusted himself off to slot the penalty home and seal all three points for the Gunners.

To further add to Jose Mourinho’s misery Lamela was sent off for a flailing arm in the face of Kieran Tierney, meaning a second yellow card and a suspension for Spurs’ next domestic game against Aston Villa.

Such an important result for Arsenal and Arteta came after the manager revealed in his pre-game interview that captain Aubameyang was scheduled to start the game until he turned up late for the pre-match rituals and thus was punished.

Many questioned the decision to leave out your best and most prolific goalscorer in such an important game, but Lacazette was sharp throughout in his place and led from the front as captain too – scoring the winner.

It showed a great sign of management from Arteta to make that decision, showing that there are no exceptions for the rules – regardless of occasion or player status. He made a point to state that there had been a line drawn under the incident which leads you to believe he will return to the team sooner rather than later, but with The Athletic revealing that this isn’t the first time the player has arrived late you do wonder if there will be lasting effects.

Another battle Arteta won on the day was the tactical and mental battles against Mourinho, who had made a few digs in the build up to the game.

Mourinho opted for an attacking outfit from the start on paper with his side coming into the game in great form, but the actual set up was his usual big-game shaky self. Spurs created next to nothing with 11 men on the pitch and it took a stunning, creative strike from Lamela to do anything.

Arsenal dominated the ball, controlled the game and created a steady amount of chances throughout and were fully deserving of their win. Spurs’ pressure towards the end caused a few shaky moments for the Gunners but they stood tall and came away with all three points.

With Europa League progression looking very likely after their 3-1 away win over Olympiacos in the first leg last week, Arsenal can look towards working their way back up the table. The win keeps them in 10th place in the league but means they’re now just five points behind Tottenham and 10 points behind fourth placed Chelsea with a game in hand.

Europa League last 16 predictions – Dinamo Zagreb vs Tottenham

Jose Mourinho’s love-in with the Europa League continues as Tottenham Hotspur take on Dinamo Zagreb in the last 16 of the tournament.

The north London side managed four wins and a draw from their six group games to finish top of the group, before putting eight goals past Wolfsberger AC over two legs in the round of 32 recently. They’ve been drawn with Dinamo Zagreb, the Croatian champions and current league leaders of their domestic division.

Zagreb came through a group containing Wolfsberger AC, Feyenoord and CSKA Moscow as group winners, having conceded just one goal over all six games. They then despatched of Krasnodar over two legs, winning 3-2 away and 1-0 at home to claim a comfortable aggregate win and progression to the next round.

Spurs have recently been able to find a new, rich vein of form that has seen them recapture their early season successes. The resurgence of Gareth Bale and Dele Alli in the starting lineup has helped ease the load on Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son, while the club have found a good balance in midfield by dropping Tanguy Ndombele into a slightly deeper role.

Defensively they’re still conceding goals, although Matt Doherty is beginning to show signs of the form that convinced them to sign him from Wolves while Sergio Reguilon’s return to fitness has been a timely boost for the side too.

The attacking quality of the Spurs squad has seen them rightly labelled as favourites for the tie, but Zagreb will not be pushovers. They’ve conceded just 22 goals in the league from 23 games this season as well as only three in the Europa League so far from eight games.

They’ve won their last four games in a row while keeping a clean sheet and their run of eight wins in a row has seen them concede just twice, with both goals coming in just one game. You’d have to go back 16 games in Spurs’ calendar to see their last four clean sheets, which tells you all about the issues they’ve had defensively.

Despite that, it’s highly unlikely that Mourinho will allow his side to crash out over two legs against a team they should absolutely be beating.

He is likely to name a strong side, not mostly because his squad is so deep that any lineup he chooses to put out is without a doubt going to be strong enough to deal with the threat Zagreb pose.

On top of that, he is likely to prioritise the tournament ahead of the Premier League. Spurs currently sit in 7th place in the league, five points behind fourth having played a game less than current occupiers Chelsea. While that may not seem like a huge gap, Everton and West Ham still sit above them and have played the same amount of games.

Mourinho has previously prioritised the Europa League while at Manchester United and went on to win the tournament while finishing outside of the Champions League places. With Spurs desperate for a trophy and Mourinho desperate to be the one to give it to them, the prospect of a potential double with the Europa League and Carabao Cup could be too much for him to let slide.

Overall the squad is too strong to not predict that they’d progress into the next round. They have more quality on the pitch, a deeper squad and a better manager so it all points in their favour. Zagreb will need to have the perfect game twice in order to be able to get into the next round and the chances of that are just too slim.


Dinamo Zagreb 1-3 Tottenham
Tottenham 2-0 Dinamo Zagreb
(Tottenham to progress 5-1 on aggregate)

Dele Alli and Gareth Bale helping Tottenham recapture early season form

Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham team are recapturing their early season form once again thanks in part to the two men who seemed outcasted as recently as January – Dele Alli and Gareth Bale.

Spurs made it three wins in a row against Fulham and four wins from their last five thanks to Dele forcing an own goal from Tosin Adarabioyo in the first half, in a game where the north Londoners looked dangerous throughout.

Harry Kane missed a big chance with a header, while Bale and Heung-Min Son seemed to strike up a good partnership from opposing flanks too with their out-to-in runs to threaten the Fulham defence.

It’s a sharp turn in fortunes for Mourinho’s side, who prior to this little run had lost five of their last six games to find themselves in mid-table with a mountain to climb in the race for the top four in the Premier League.

After the January transfer window came to an end, Dele was frustrated that he wasn’t given the opportunity to leave the club with PSG strongly rumoured to be interested in taking him across the waters as Mauricio Pochettino looked to bolster his new squad.

Mourinho claimed that he had a conversation with the midfielder about working his way back into the team and it seems to have worked a treat, with the 24-year-old getting a goal and two assists in the Europa League before making a substitute appearance against Burnley then earning his first start in the league since the opening day in this game.

Bale on the other hand had been given plenty of opportunities in the first half of the season but really struggled to make a mark on the squad following his move from Real Madrid.

He looked off the pace constantly, with a clear lack of speed in his game while his execution and work-rate wasn’t where it needs to be for a side looking to compete at the top end of the Premier League.

Since the end of the transfer window though, the Welsh winger has seemingly found himself once again and become a key man in the Spurs attack with four goals and three assists in his last five appearances in all competitions.

He’s started to find his passing range once again while he seems to have adjusted his style slightly to be able to make more of an impact despite his new physical capabilities.

As Spurs head into a weekend fixture against Crystal Palace before a Europa League tie with Dinamo Zagreb, Mourinho will be hopeful that the form of his two attackers can act as “new signings” to boost the squad for a strong finish to the end of the campaign ahead of next month’s Carabao Cup final.

Can Dele Alli outlast Jose Mourinho at Tottenham?

Another transfer window has passed and Dele Alli is still a Tottenham player, making it highly likely that he will see out the remainder of the season on the sidelines.

The former MK Dons midfielder has been limited to a handful of appearances this season under Jose Mourinho this season, with the Portuguese coach claiming he needs to earn his way back into the side.

It was expected that Dele would leave the club during the winter transfer window, with PSG interested in reuniting him with his former boss Mauricio Pochettino in Paris on loan.

Despite the player telling the club he wanted to go in order to secure regular football, the deal never materialised when Spurs were unable to secure a replacement.

Reports suggested that Mourinho and chairman Daniel Levy were interested in bringing Christian Eriksen back to the club, but with Inter unable to agree a deal and the with the Dane scoring the winner in the Milan derby, a decision was made for him to stay until the end of the season at least.

That means that Dele will remain in north London for the remainder of the campaign and continue to struggle for minutes and impact.

It’s become a scenario similar to that of Anthony Martial at Manchester United when Mourinho was there, as a young player that the ownership are a big fan of and believe can deliver but has fallen out of favour.

Mourinho tried to sell Martial, but the hierarchy refused to let him go and he eventually signed a new deal after the manager was sacked. But that came after he made the decision to stay at the club and not force a move because he believed that he could outlast the manager.

Tottenham Hotspur v Maccabi Haifa: UEFA Europa League Play-Off : News Photo

With Spurs currently in a run of form of just two wins in nine games in the Premier League, Mourinho is battling against criticism from fans and media about whether or not he is the right man for the job.

The usual second season success under Mourinho hasn’t been nearly as effective as usual, although they have reached the Carabao Cup final for the first time since 2008. The result of that final could have a big impact on Mourinho’s future, who was brought in specifically to itch the scratch of trophies at White Hart Lane.

If it goes well, he’ll almost certainly buy himself more time ahead of the new season which means Dele will have to find a new club. There is every chance though, that Spurs lose that final to Manchester City and miss out on a top four place which could see Mourinho’s future plunged into further doubt.

If that is the case, Dele’s standing with the fans and the owners could see him get a second chance at the club to find his form once again and get back to reaching the potential we all know he has.

Gareth Bale is finished at the top level

It’s with a heavy heart that I have to write this, because at one point Gareth Bale was one of the most exciting players in Europe to watch.

His incredible speed, strength, technique and that wand of a left foot made Bale and Tottenham must-see when the Welshman was entering his peak back in 2012.

As Bale transitioned from hopeless left-back to Spurs’ great hope between 2011 and 2013, he became one of the hottest prospects in the game.

After tearing up the Premier League and securing a world record £85m move to Real Madrid, Bale was expected to take off into superstardom and replace the great Cristiano Ronaldo as he approached his 30’s. Instead, Ronaldo has continued to shine as he hits 36 years old while Bale is now well and truly finished.

Many believed that after two years of sitting around getting minuscule and unimportant minutes at Real Madrid, that a fresh environment and return “home” is all that he needed to get back to his flying best at 31 years old.

But they couldn’t have been more wrong.

Since his return, Bale has scored just one Premier League goal and is now being targeted for criticism from boss Jose Mourinho. This was especially obvious following the 1-0 defeat to Brighton on Sunday night, where Bale started but was taken off after an hour with the team still chasing a goal.

While the Welsh wizard hasn’t been a regular in the starting lineup, Mourinho has previously claimed that he needs to earn those minutes. With Harry Kane currently out injured, there was no better chance for him to make an impression.

Instead Bale played it safe constantly, looks shy when it comes to pulling the trigger and is lacking the zest and intensity to his game that once made him so feared.

His constant muscle injuries have finally caught up with him. His calves and hamstrings are volatile, he can’t sprint past people like he was once able to. Technically he is good enough to adapt his game to be able to not rely on those physical attributes though. He can pick a pass, he can cross a ball, he can still dribble out of tight spaces – he just chooses not to.

When you watch him, he looks disinterested. His love and hunger for the game has gone. He seems content to live off his legacy and reputation, rather than enhancing it with performances now.

His loan is unlikely to turned permanent in the summer and Real Madrid are definitely not going to renew his contract, which means he will have a year left on his deal. A move to the MLS beckons, potentially with David Beckham’s Inter Miami FC, where Bale can capitalise on his stardom and still be one of the best players in his team.

As for now, Bale is finished at the top level – no doubts about it.

Eric Dier dire as Liverpool refuse to let title hopes die

Liverpool kept their title hopes alive as they beat Tottenham for a seventh consecutive time on Thursday night.

Roberto Firmino opened the scoring with a tap-in on the stroke of half time after a lovely ball across the box from Sadio Mane, which Eric Dier inexplicably let roll past him inside the six yard box. Both sides were forced to make important changes at half-time, as Harry Kane and Joel Matip went off injured.

The second half started quickly though, as Trent Alexander-Arnold smashed home a strike to make it 2-0 after a poor parry from Hugo Lloris, before Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg scored a screamer from the edge of the box to make it 2-1 on 48 minutes. Mo Salah had a goal disallowed for a controversial handball in the build-up before a Joe Rodon error allowed Mane to smash a volley into the roof of the net to seal the points in a 3-1 win.

Spurs actually started well, with Heung-Min Son scoring inside the first five minutes, but it was ruled out for a super close offside call. Defensively though, they were wide open throughout the game

Sadio Mane constantly found himself getting in between Rodon and Dier, but his finishing just wasn’t sharp to punish Jose Mourinho’s side.

The first goal was easily avoidable too. Jordan Henderson stepped out of his temporary central defender position to play a pass over the top of the defence to Mane, who was played onside by Dier. Mane brought it down and played a pass across the six yard box, but Dier for some reason opted to let the ball go across him straight to Firmino’s foot to tap into an empty net.

His body language suggested that he was unhappy with the goalkeeper for not collecting the pass before it went through to the Brazilian, but it had to pass him before Lloris could collect it anyway.

Later in the game, he was saved by VAR after another strange decision led to Liverpool putting the ball in the back of the Spurs net. He decided to get tight to Firmino on the halfway line and had his arms all over the striker, which caused the ball to bounce off his arm and on to Firmino’s arm. Firmino laid the ball off and Salah ended up smashing the ball into the net, only for the goal to be ruled out for handball by Firmino.

It was another instance this season of Dier proving he’s just not a good defender. The England international was originally a centre back before moving into midfield under Mauricio Pochettino.

He demanded to move back to centre back under Mourinho and the Portuguese manager has so far allowed him to become the first choice defender. But his performances continue to raise question marks about why that is the case.

He’s lost his place in the England side to Declan Rice and his form has people questioning his place in the Spurs side too.

Dier continues to let himself and Spurs down as the north Londoners drift further away from a Premier League title race they led at one point.

Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea vs Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid

One of the greatest managers in the history of the sport, Jose Mourinho has managed some of the greatest players the game has ever seen.

He also managed two of the best teams we’ve seen, during two separate eras and for two different reasons.

When Mourinho joined Chelsea as ‘The Special One’, he built one of the greatest defensive teams ever seen. During the 2004/05 season, the Blues conceded just 15 goals in the entire Premier League campaign as they strolled to a first title in 50 years before making it consecutive titles the following season too.

After leaving Chelsea and winning a treble with Inter Milan, Mourinho ended up at the Bernabeu as the manager of Real Madrid. There he would lock horns against Pep Guardiola and arguably the greatest club side ever in Barcelona and eventually break their stranglehold on the La Liga title.

His Madrid side were a goalscoring demon, scoring a record 121 goals during the league campaign as they recorded 100 points to win the title for the first time since 2008.

But who would win if the two sides met each other? Lets break it down.

Mourinho always loved building his teams from the back and that usually starts with the goalkeeper.

At Chelsea, he made the decision early on to replace long-time number one Carlo Cudicini with young Petr Cech. The signing from Rennes was completed before Jose arrived, but it was the Portuguese manager’s choice to put him in and keep him as the first choice. He won the Golden Glove award for keeping a record 21 clean sheets in his first season and conceded just 37 goals in two seasons combined, including a record low of 15 in the first.

For Real Madrid, the decision was much simpler. Club legend Iker Casillas was the number one pick at the club since he was a teenager and was still near the top of his game when Mourinho came in and he kept that position until Jose’s final season.

Chelsea's English defender John Terry (R : News Photo

In defence, Mourinho’s Chelsea back four is legendary among Premier League circles. Paulo Ferreira and Ricardo Carvalho followed him from Porto and went straight into the side, while John Terry was already captain. William Gallas was a centre-back by nature, but filled in at left-back for Mourinho in place of Wayne Bridge as Mourinho opted for more physicality.

At Madrid, the defence selected itself. Alvaro Arbeloa had joined from Liverpool before Mourinho was hired, but he was the first choice right-back when they won the league because of a long-term injury to Mourinho’s trusted enforcer Carvalho who was also now at Madrid. This meant Sergio Ramos moved to centre-back alongside Pepe while Marcelo was still the first choice left-back ahead of Fabio Coentrao.

In midfield, Mourinho has almost always opted for physicality over intricacy and those patterns continue in these two sides.

At Chelsea, Frank Lampard and Claude Makelele were guaranteed starters in the first campaign while Michael Essien joined in the second season from Lyon. He replaced another Portuguese player in the side, as Tiago dropped out to accommodate the Ghanaian’s inclusion. He offered mobility, power, great passing and tenacity as well as an added goal threat for Mourinho, who looked to get even more from Frank Lampard.

Madrid’s midfield was more creative than Chelsea’s but still physical enough to withstand the battles it needed to get into. Xabi Alonso was the dictator from deep who was also able to break up play and defend, while Sami Khedira was the box-to-box option who marauded around the pitch chasing the ball to win it back but also to add extra threat in the opposition box on occasion.

The big difference was between Ozil and Lampard, with the German in the team to create while the England man was in the side to finish moves off. He finished as Chelsea’s top goalscorer in both of Mourinho’s first two seasons in England, scoring 19 and 20 goals respectively, while Ozil created 28 goals on his own in all competitions in 2011/12.

In attack, Chelsea were consistently clinical. Didier Drogba established himself as Mourinho’s first-choice centre forward, with the Ivory Coast international a physical presence with excellent link up play. He scored 30 goals in the two seasons combined under Jose, but it was ability to link with the wide men that made him invaluable.

In the first campaign Arjen Robben and Damien Duff played on opposite wings and terrorised defences, although the Dutchman was ravaged by injury problems during his time in London. In the second campaign, Robben continued at a similar rate but Joe Cole stepped up and essentially took over from Duff as his partner on the other side. Together they had pace, skill, a fantastic passing range and an eye for goal that carried Mourinho’s side to back-to-back championships.

In Madrid, the attack was much stronger in depth. Players like former Ballon d’Or winner Kaka and Gonzalo Higuain were restricted to roles as a substitute mainly because of the form of Karim Benzema, Angel Di Maria and the phenomenal Cristiano Ronaldo.

Di Maria scored seven goals and assisted 17, while Benzema scored 32 and assisted 19 during the campaign. Those numbers paled in comparison to Ronaldo though, who scored an incredible 60 goals to go with 15 assists in all competitions as Mourinho was able to topple Guardiola and Messi at the top of La Liga.

It would be a true contest of attack against defence if the two sides met and it is harder and harder to look past Real Madrid as the winners of any potential contest.

The quality of the attack is arguably the best we’ve seen in recent years barring Barcelona’s incredible ‘MSN’ trio and as good as Chelsea’s defence was, they never really came under significant threat in the Premier League. They never quite dominated in Europe, reaching a semi-final and then the last 16 so Madrid would obviously fancy their chances.

Defensively Madrid weren’t awful themselves, conceding only 32 goals in their league campaign and they also reached the Champions League semi-finals.

It would be a fantastic game, where we’d see the best of Mourinho’s two philosophies of football. ‘Park the bus’ vs ‘give it to Ronaldo’. Ronaldo wins for me.