The Libero - Revenge is sweet for bold Mourinho
Published: 17 Mar 2010 - 07:51:54
It was hardly a wait of Edmond Dantes proportions - a mere two and a half years - but when Jose Mourinho was given the opportunity to face those who had wronged him, like the Count of Monte Cristo, he exacted revenge of the sweetest kind.
Yet unlike in Alexandre Dumas's book, it was clear as daylight who was the masterful architect of this revenge - after all, Mourinho was never one to go about his business in the shadows.
He said before the game at Stamford Bridge, which Inter won 1-0 on the night, 3-1 on aggregate, he would not celebrate victory as a mark of respect to both the club and the fans. And, for the most part, he was true to his word.
- Chelsea 0-1 Inter (1-3 on agg)
He did his best not to draw attention to himself before kick-off, slipping quietly into his seat in the dugout without fanfare, yet in doing so he naturally only succeeded in doing the opposite. And at the full-time whistle, his dash down the tunnel without even a wave merely served to attract the eyes of most of those present as well as the television cameras.
That said, he could not help himself when Samuel Eto'o clinically netted what turned out to be the winner on the night. Apparently he celebrated like never before once back in the dressing room after the match, but if he did succumb to a brief moment of public jubilation during the match, who can blame him?
Given that Mourinho was bumped out of west London by Roman Abramovich in a manner hardly deserving of someone who had done so much for the club, he could have been forgiven had he jumped the barrier, clambered into the stands and stuck two fingers up in the face of the Russian owner.
To his credit, he chose not to flaunt his victory and this time we we were not treated to any major theatrics from Mourinho, a man whose animation in victory in big games has become something of a trademark over the years.
This was undoubtedly a big game, but he did not need to gloat. Instead, his team's performance did the talking for him. Aside from his bold decision to send out three strikers, it proved to be a display of few surprises from a Mourinho team: full of endeavour, ball retention, athleticism, some creativity and the employment of no small measure of the dark arts - the irony of Didier Drogba of all people ultimately falling victim to some fine playacting was particularly delicious.
Mourinho could not have made his point better or clearer. He had alluded to his grievances in the pre-match build-up, when he said since leaving Stamford Bridge he has kept on winning "important things" while without him Chelsea have somewhat stagnated. Clearly he feels his successes at Chelsea were not properly recognised by Abramovich.
Tuesday's victory, which leaves him and his Inter side well on course for more "important" trophies, may well have done a great deal to change that and Abramovich might finally be beginning to wonder if he did the right thing in offloading the Special One.
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- FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:the libero
- Libero (noun): 1. Versatile, ball-playing defender given licence to roam. Expected to break up opposition attacks while instigating counters. Role patented by German legend Franz Beckenbauer. 2. Versatile weekly football columnist, aka journalist Mike Hytner, given licence to write what he likes. Expected to file every Wednesday. Not nearly as talented as his boyhood hero Der Kaiser.
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