Cesc Fabregas free to roam. Diego Costa unleashed like a one-man stampede. Eden Hazard with creative license to dance and glide from one wing to the next. Chelsea’s fourth Premier League title win is rarely given the status of the other successful campaigns that adorn the career of Jose Mourinho and yet it may be his most intriguing.
It didn’t set records like his first two victories in England after arriving at Stamford Bridge in 2004 as the most exciting young coach in Europe. He had just proven his calibre by leading Porto to back-to-back glory over continental opponents, first in what we now call the Europa League, then in the Champions League.
Perhaps it was the manner of Chelsea’s exit to Paris Saint-Germain in that latter competition in the 2014/15 season that kicked off the doubts over the worthiness of Mourinho’s third title win, or it could have been the difference in style between the two halves of the campaign.
The total collapse in morale and performance the year after he won the league again, which subsequently led to his second sacking by Roman Abramovich, probably sealed the deal that it was a title win to question rather than savour.
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However, there was something in that season for Tottenham Hotspur fans in 2020 to look back upon with great interest, and not just the 5-3 defeat they handed out to the Blues that arguably set in motion the events that would ultimately contribute to Mourinho’s downfall.
A few weeks after ruining Steven Gerrard’s last hopes of lifting the Premier League as a Liverpool player with his “little horses”, the Portuguese was sitting pretty as the manager who had won the transfer window in 2014. In came Costa, Fabregas, Filipe Luis and a returning Dider Drogba and a recently-relegated Loic Remy.
In Drogba, he had the perfect lieutenant to set standards and be a friendly enforcer…