10 June 2013 16:44
A returning Jose Mourinho will unify Chelsea after a divisive season under Rafael Benitez, according to the club’s supporters trust.
Mourinho – who led Chelsea to two Premier League titles and one FA Cup success from 2004 to 2007 – was officially presented to the media as the club’s new manager on Monday.
The Portuguese coach has always been held in high regard by the fans at Stamford Bridge, who were disappointed to see former Liverpool boss Benitez in charge of them last season.
Benitez stepped in an interim role in November, and although he eventually led them to UEFA Europa League success, as well as a place in next season’s UEFA Champions League, the club’s fans never warmed to him after he made a series of derogatory comments about the club when in charge at Anfield.
The appointment of Mourinho will play a vital role in creating a sense of unity, and will get the club pulling in the one direction, according to Chelsea Supporters Trust spokesman David Chidgey.
“You cannot believe how important Mourinho’s appointment is, particularly after last season,” Chidgey told OMNISPORT.
“Most supporters really did not want to see Rafa Benitez at the helm at all. And what that led to was actually quite a depressing season, and among the supporters, a very divisive season.
“No supporters like to see that. So with Jose Mourinho coming back, a guy who clearly loves the club, and a guy who is clearly loved by the supporters, what I hope we will see next year is a real unifying force.
“As Chelsea fans, we will all be able to get behind a guy we have a lot of time, respect and love for and we will know that is reciprocated by him. It will lift the crowd.
“The best thing for (club owner) Roman Abramovich to have done after appointing Benitez was to appoint Mourinho afterwards.
“If you go and find 2,500 Chelsea supporters right now, everyone will be smiling. We are absolutely delighted that he is back.”
Mourinho’s Chelsea exit was reportedly due to a fall-out between himself and Abramovich, but the 50-year-old denied those rumours, and said he had mutually left the club.
Chidgey believes the pair have both matured since they split ways in 2007 and has no doubts they can successfully work together.
“Jose is calmer, older, wiser and he is a more mature manager. I think you can say the same about Roman Abramovich,” he said.
“The underlying theme about Jose’s press conference was stability and perhaps one of the things that Abramovich really does crave, is rather than having to get rid of managers every year, pick the best one for the club and stick with him for as long as they can.”
Chidgey says Mourinho’s “excellent relationship” with veterans Frank Lampard and John Terry will help him immensely, and he believes Chelsea can now challenge for the Premier League title with their new manager.
“We have a very good squad but one that is quite inexperienced. But looking at the opposition, Manchester United do not just have a new manager, but they do not have (Alex) Ferguson for the first time in 26 years. It is acknowledged that he is worth 10 to 15 points a season for them,” he said.
“Pellegrini at Man City, a new manager, he is going to take a while to bed in. He has never managed in the Premier League before. Arsenal, they will have money to spend but they have not won a trophy in eight years.
“With a stronger squad and with Mourinho’s tactical ability coming back in, I would be expecting us to at least be challenging for the title.”