The self proclaimed Special One returned to Stamford Bridge last night having left the club three years previously. This time he was seated on the opposition bench and was ready and raring to go three minutes before the game kicked-off soaking up the atmosphere of his former home.
Of course the match did not begin on the pitch when the referee blew his whistle at 7.45pm, oh no. The game kicked off much earlier than that, in a place where Jose Mourinho is at his best – the pre-match press conference. This is where the fireworks begin and where journos can fill their notebooks with words of wisdom from the Inter coach.
As usual he didn’t disappoint. Speaking before the game he said “I will be the Special One, win or lose” And luckily for his reputations sake it was the former that came to pass.
Mourinho the tactical mastermind inflicted Chelsea’s first home defeat in the Champions League in 22 games sending them out of a competition that they crave to win. It was also only the second time Chelsea failed to score in 45 outings.
Just one goal separated the sides and that came 12 minutes from time. Inter had been knocking on the door for long periods of the second half but it was going to take a touch of class to break Chelsea down.
Dutch international Wesley Sneijder was the one who found the key to unlock the door, he released Samuel Eto’o who beat the offside trap on the right side of Ivanovic before running on and shooting emphatically into the bottom left of Ross Turnbull’s net.
Carlo Ancelotti who seemed to be forgotten about by all of the press was the man brought in by Roman Abramovich to end Chelsea’s drought of European glory yet it has ended in disaster by being knocked out in the last 16 stage.
It was always going to be a bittersweet occasion for all involved but will billionaire Russian owner be regretting falling out with the man they like to call the Special One?
As is always the case with Chelsea controversy marred the end of the game and somewhat typically Didier Drogba was involved. A pure lack of discipline from the Ivorian international letting his frustrations get the better of himself by stamping on Thiago Motta. He was shown a straight red card for the third successive European campaign.
When you put it into perspective you can see why Drogba lost the run of himself at the final hurdle. Over the two legs he was kept under the cosh by the Inter back four, however, he was also unlucky not to get a penalty having been dragged to the ground by Walter Samuel. At that stage Drogba had been on the ground many times so it was no surprise when Wolfgang Stark waved play on.
Overall Inter deserved to go through. They were the better team over both legs and were a mirror image of the Chelsea Jose Mourinho created all those years ago.
For the neutrals out there it was a classic Champions League tie – now the Italian side go into Friday’s draw with heavyweights Manchester United, Arsenal, Lyon, Bayern Munich and CKSA Moscow waiting.
For now, the Special One lives on – “I keep winning important things, he said. “They keep winning something. They won an FA Cup” The big question is can Mourinho win the important thing – the Champions League? Chelsea’s only hope now is another FA Cup and a Premier League title; even then they are not guaranteed to win either.