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Pride The Barrier To Mourinho's Chelsea Return
Guardian, May 27th, 2008 3PM



In the wake of Chelsea's dismissal of manager Avram Grant, talk surfaced over the long weekend about a dramatic return to Chelsea for Jose Mourinho. In the words of Kevin McCarra, this is a man who "is already among the elite, with his peak years possibly still before him [and]... nicely rested after an eight-month sabbatical." The problem is that it was Chelsea who fired him, meaning "pride is the single barrier to the reappointment of Jose Mourinho, but it is a high one."
McCarra rejects as "absurd" the talk that a deal to take Mourinho to Inter Milan is too advanced to be abandoned. After all, Roberto Mancini is still Inter's coach after three successive Serie A wins, and in the world of club soccer, no deal is a certainty until the last paper is signed.  Also, Mancini has a contract until 2012, so sacking him could cost the team as much as $32 million, although a neat solution would see Mancini offered the Chelsea job.
Offering the Chelsea job to Mourinho, however, would mean club owner Roman Abramovich having to admit that he made a mistake in sacking him last year. Assuming Mourinho was interested and then took the job, he would have to show that he is "flexible enough" to take the battle to Manchester United, which "not only outscored Chelsea last season but also had the better defensive record. It would be absorbing to discover if Mourinho, normally fanatical in his detailed planning, could grant more liberty to his gifted players. Having bought very well for Chelsea on his arrival in 2004, there would be a fascination in observing how he carried out the essential remodeling of the current squad."

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