There was great nostalgia to be had on Wednesday night sitting back and watching Jose Mourinho win another cup final.
His Roma side, including the talismanic Tammy Abraham, achieved a historic feat for The Giallorossi, winning their first major European title in Tirana, beating Feyenoord 1-0 in a cagey and tense Europa Conference League final.
This had all the Mourinho final trademarks, a first-half lead, clever game management, dominant defensive performances and a clinical edge from limited chances. Even with Feynoord’s possession in the second half, Roma saw the game out astutely. The full-time whistle sparked Mourinho to visibly show the number five with his fingers, representing the number of European finals he’s won since 2004.
Even if the level of the club he coaches has lowered in recent years, his ability to consistently claim silverware is an undoubted hallmark of Mourinho’s great legacy. His detractors will bemoan his tactics, his confrontational demeanour and outdated methods, but his success with Roma proves his powers of inspiration still have an effect, most seen with the development of Abraham.
Some also have proclaimed down the years that Mourinho does not leave a positive legacy at clubs, citing his fallout and sacking at Chelsea, Manchester United and Spurs. But any reflective Chelsea fan will tell you how misguided that claim is when you gaze back to his original Chelsea team under Roman Abramovich.
A level of domestic dominance that has been the benchmark for future Chelsea teams. The culture of winning, leadership and players taking responsibility on the pitch was optimised even after he had originally left in 2007, as the squad, he had helped to build kept winning even in chaotic seasons. The Champions League triumph in 2012 had large echoes of Mourinho’s dogged and pragmatic approach to huge games.
That is the legacy Chelsea should be aspiring under the new ownership group led by Todd Boehly. When I refer to being inspired by it, I do not mean Thomas Tuchel’s team should revert back to Mourinho’s tactics, more in that the domestic dominance in the Premier League is the level Boehly and Tuchel must reach for in the coming years.
Even if the two Champions League-winning squads will go down in Chelsea folklore, neither of those teams can tru…