The highs and lows of Jose Mourinho’s second spell as Chelsea manager

Jose Mourinho’s second stint in charge of Chelsea is over after he left the club by ‘mutual consent’ after a Christmas lunch at the club’s Cobham training ground on Thursday.

His latest spell in charge brought success in the shape of Premier League and League Cup titles, but also failures.

We take a look at games that contrast the highs and lows of Mourinho’s second coming at the helm of the Blues.

HIGH: Liverpool 0-2 Chelsea, Premier League, Anfield, 27 April 2014

This match will be remembered by football fans for that slip which led to Demba Ba’s goal just before half-time yet Chelsea fans will remember this game for other reasons too.

There was the backs-to-the-wall defending, featuring debutant Tomas Kalas, which nullified Luis Suarez, but ultimately the big-game victory which put Liverpool’s title-credentials in serious doubt.

There was also the flu-ridden Mourinho, who had opted to travel separately to the game for fear of spreading his illness to the players, celebrating with visible passion and anger.

He screamed and thumped his chest in the direction of the Chelsea fans, an image which became symbolic of his relationship with the supporters and further enamoured him to the Chelsea faithful.

Mourinho was one of us and here to stay.

LOW: Chelsea 1-2 Sunderland, Premier League, Stamford Bridge, 19 April 2014

A week before beating Liverpool at Anfield, however, Chelsea had lost 2-1 at home to Sunderland after conceding a penalty late in the game.

Their woes in front of goal so often seen throughout the 2013-14 campaign were on display again, and also two weeks later in a 0-0 home draw against Norwich.

The defeat and the draw all but confirmed a trophyless season at Stamford Bridge.

‘All that hard work for nothing’ was the feeling around a deflated Stamford Bridge as fans were left wondering when Chelsea would have a squad capable of challenging again, having been let down in previous transfer windows.

HIGH: Burnley 1-3 Chelsea, Premier League, Turf Moor, 18 August 2014

Chelsea acted swiftly in the transfer market in the summer of 2014, recruiting key players Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas in time for pre-season.

With a squad capable of challenging for honours again, Chelsea kicked off their league campaign away to newly promoted Burnley as favourites to go on and lift the trophy nine months later.

The Blues swaggered their way to a comfortable 3-1 win in a display of creative attacking play which had been lacking since Carlo Ancelotti left.

Costa was off the mark after 17 minutes, the first of 20 league goals he would score in Mourinho’s third Premier League winning season.

The quality of Chelsea’s football at Turf Moor continued in the following months, it set the tone for the first-half of the season and had the fans in an expectant mood.

This was the new and improved Chelsea, led by Mourinho.

LOW: Tottenham Hotspur 5-3 Chelsea, Premier League, White Hart Lane, 1 January 2015

Seen by many as a turning point in Chelsea’s season, a humiliating defeat at the hands of London rivals Spurs sparked a change of approach from Chelsea.

Out went the free-flowing, creative attacking football, and in came a defensive and pragmatic tactic built on stifling opposition, clean sheets and counter-attacking.

Chelsea fans didn’t complain as it brought results, but the move away from the football seen at the start of the season was disappointing, particularly as it had been so impressive.

The change of mentality signified a reversion to type, a return to the old Mourinho way of solid defensive work above all.

Roman Abramovich, known to enjoy attacking football and a fan of Barcelona’s style of play, probably saw a return to defensive football as a step in the wrong direction for Mourinho.

HIGH: Chelsea 2-0 Paris St-Germain, Champions League Quarter-Final second leg, Stamford Bridge, 8 April 2014

Stamford Bridge has played host to some memorable European nights in the past, and this one was Mourinho-esque.

Having been convincingly defeated 3-1 in the first-leg in Paris, Chelsea were in real danger of being knocked out of the Champions League; the stage was set.

Andre Schürrle gave the Blues hope by netting from a corner in the 32nd minute, but in the second-half it seemed it wouldn’t be Chelsea’s night as the woodwork denied them twice.

Edinson Cavani missed a one-on-one with Petr Cech, adding to the element of drama, before Demba Ba put Chelsea through on away goals with a late goal in the 87th minute.

Cue a vintage length-of-the-touchline-running-celebration from Mourinho, arms flailing, much like the one he did at Old Trafford when his unfancied Porto side knocked Manchester United out of the Champions League in 2004.

It was an unforgettable night at Stamford Bridge that featured an unmistakeable and typical Mourinho performance.

LOW: Chelsea 2-2 Paris St-Germain, Round of 16 second leg, Stamford Bridge, 11 March 2015

Another memorable night at Stamford Bridge against familiar opponents, only this time it was for the wrong reasons.

An inept display against a Paris side reduced to 10 men after their talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic was sent off in the first-half meant Chelsea were out of the Champions League.

The Blues took the lead twice only to concede equalisers from corners, the last coming in extra-time off the head of former Chelsea defender and maverick David Luiz.

Some had tipped Chelsea to lift the European Cup that year, a dream of Mourinho’s, but the negative tactics used by the home side baffled pundits and former players alike.

PSG deserved to go through not only because of the character they showed, but because Chelsea refused to take the control of the tie.

Compared to the previous season’s encounter with the Parisians this Chelsea side looked a different outfit altogether, much to the disappointment of not only the fans but the board, whose financial model is based on the club reaching the quarter-finals each year.

Exit in the Round of 16 heaped added pressure on Mourinho to succeed.

HIGH: Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur, League Cup Final, Wembley, 1 March 2015

Ask Chelsea fans to choose their ideal opponent to defeat in a domestic cup final and the majority will likely answer Spurs.

Ask Chelsea fans to pick their ideal goalscorer and the majority will likely answer John Terry.

Well, that’s exactly what happened when Spurs and Chelsea disputed the 2015 League Cup Final, Mourinho’s first trophy since returning to Stamford Bridge.

The contest had undertones of revenge. Not only had Chelsea lost 5-3 to Spurs two months prior to the final, they had also lost to Spurs in a League Cup final back in 2008 and in an FA Cup Final in 1967.

Those demons were put to bed as Terry scored before the half-time interval, before Diego Costa’s shot deflected off Tottenham defender Kyle Walker to find the back of the net in the 56th minute.

Chelsea had won the League Cup and Mourinho clearly enjoyed his moment with the players, lying on the pitch in front of them as they lifted the club, the Special One was back to winning ways.

LOW: Manchester City 1-1 Chelsea, Premier League, Etihad Stadium, 21 September 2014

One conspicuous absentee from the celebrating party that lifted the League Cup was Chelsea’s all-time top goalscorer Frank Lampard.

His 85th minute equaliser against his former employees was dramatic in its timing and also as part of the Premier League soap opera, you just couldn’t make it up!

Several high-profile players including Lampard have left Chelsea since Mourinho returned, Didier Drogba (although Mourinho did bring him back), Juan Mata and Petr Cech are others.

In the fans’ eyes each would have their place in today’s squad, yet Mourinho or the club allowed them to leave.

Chelsea’s squad lacks leadership and identity. Drogba, Lampard and Cech were all symbolic of the club, and Mata won back-to-back Player of the Year awards during his time in blue.

Although this particular game had little impact on Chelsea’s 2014-15 season, it was symbolic, a sign of what Chelsea would come to miss.

It’s hard to see the current crop players underperforming as bad as they have if surrounded by the aforementioned players.

Now Mourinho has gone, the club’s only credible leader is Terry, and not even he might be around for much longer.

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