The Happy One – a glimpse of Mourinho Mark II?
He sashayed in. The special one. Ever ready with a pithy mot du jour. Jose oh Jose – how we’ve missed you. But, heck – who on earth was this?
“I’m the happy one… I describe myself as a very happy person… I love it – I love it already.”
What on earth has changed? “I am the same”, he told us, “but – nine years is a big difference and when I arrived here in 2004 – you (he meant us, the 250 or so journalists crammed into a Stamford Bridge function room) pushed me a lot to have a strong approach. In this moment the situation is different – you know my history – I don’t think I need that approach – I just want to be calm.”
Calm? How could this be? Mourinho Mark I brought titles to Chelsea and to British football he brought fire, brimstone and a whole lot more. The press, well we lapped up his uber-confident repartee – “I am not from the bottle” he accurately bragged upon his first introduction. “I am European Champion… and I am a special one.”
But that – well that was now long ago. And the handy epiphets were today in somewhat short supply. Although that old Mourinho honesty – still there in spades.
Do you like this part of your job, we asked him, away from the pitch, dealing with the media? At last the impregnable gaze flickered into action, with a familiar half chuckle, half smirk that infatuates many and infuriates still more.
The deadpan response:
Pause. From the audience – laughter. And from the Happy One – a full beaming smile.
“But it’s part of my job. I know that I have to do it. and I try to do the best I can.”
That, no one would doubt.
“But what I really want to do is to work – and many of the questions I believe you have for me will be based on work – so please let’s do it fast and let me go.”
So what did we learn? That Chelsea, says Mourinho, now want stability. That neither Manchesters United nor City had offered him a job. That he thought Arsenal sticking with Arsene Wenger for many trophyless years (note his subtle dig there) was to be admired.
And that Mourinho Mark II is, apparently, happy.
Follow Keme Nzerem on Twitter: @nzerem_c4