THE INTRODUCTION – José Mourinho’s 2004/05 league title at Stamford Bridge.

jose mourino

In June 2004, José Mourinho was unveiled as the new manager of Chelsea in one of the most frequently-cited press conferences in English footballing history. It soon became clear that the preceding Champions League coup with Porto—the club’s first European Cup since 1987—had not dispelled press-box skepticism of whether a 41-year-old from Portugal could handle a bloated squad, a whimsical Russian billionaire, and fans awaiting a first league title in fifty years. This baffled Mourinho. He reminded those present that he was European champion and, by extension, “a special one”, and outlined his methods and ambitions. The communication of confidence arose as much from the deliverance of his words as their meaning. His demeanour was controlled, his lines uttered as if rehearsed. His cadence carried a hypnotic quality. “If I lose a lot of matches and don’t reach the objectives we have, there is a risk I won’t finish my contract,” he said. “Maybe they will sack me. But I don’t believe that will be the case.”

In a country known for politeness and self-deprecation, the radiation of swaggering self-assurance hit the footballing world like cold water splashed into a heated frying pan. The press had been handed a full plate. Amy Lawrence, of the Guardian, noted that “either he is putting on a sensational act to camouflage a deeply sensitive and shrewd mind, or José Mourinho really is the most self-adoring person ever to set foot in the English Premiership”. Elsewhere, Chelsea’s rivals were watching. Sir Alex Ferguson had consulted his assistant, Carlos Queiroz, who had previously lectured Mourinho in Portugal; Queiroz described him as “my best student by far. By far”. Ferguson himself thought: “What a cheeky young sod.” Other managers were rubbing their hands. “The initial feeling was that you just couldn’t display that kind of arrogance in this country and get away with it,” David Moyes told Patrick Barclay in Mourinho: Anatomy of a Winner“I think there were a few queueing up, you know, waiting to have a crack at him.”

This was not the first time Mourinho had ratcheted up the pressure beyond what was necessary. When appointed at Porto in January 2001, he proclaimed: “Next season we’ll be champions.” The next summer, after finishing third, he spent a modest budget on a handful of loyal, hard-working players. In his first full season, Porto won the league, the cup and the UEFA Cup. In 2003/04, they retained the championship, lost the cup final and won the Champions League. During the two league campaigns, Porto played thirty-four matches at home; they drew one and won the rest. In the Champions League knockouts, they eliminated Manchester United, Olympique Lyonnais, Deportivo La Coruña and Monaco. After Mourinho had displaced Claudio Ranieri at Chelsea, the Italian had questioned whether a coach from Portuguese football could step up to the Premier League. “For a team to win the European Cup, it has to beat many teams from many countries,” Mourinho countered. “I did not win the cup playing against twenty Portuguese teams.”

The results with Porto had long made Mourinho the most sought-after manager in Europe. As os Dragões eyed the continental summit, clubs were bombarding him with offers. “I started to be inundated with calls at home; people exercised their influence; and many promises were made,” he wrote in a 2004 biography. “Sometimes, the pressure reached levels worthy of a Don Corleone.” On the Friday after the Champions League final, Mourinho travelled to Nice with Jorge Mendes and financial adviser Luis Correia. They took a helicopter to Monaco, then a speed boat to a gigantic yacht belonging to Roman Abramovich. On board were Peter Kenyon, the chief executive, and Eugene Tenenbaum, the influential director and close associate of Chelsea’s owner, who was head of corporate finance at Sibneft, the oil company Abramovich sold in 2005. Prior to the trip, Mourinho had sent Abramovich a Powerpoint presentation outlining his plans for Chelsea. When they met, the Russian knew everything he needed to know. They would later reach an agreement. “I spent two days with him,” said Mourinho. “He never once mentioned what he expected from me.”

When Mourinho arrived at Chelsea, the club was characterised by great potential, and underachievement. They had not won the league since 1954/55. The previous summer, Abramovich had bought the club and injected fresh capital that erased debts and funded signings. In came Damien Duff, Hernán Crespo, Juan Sebastián Verón, Claude Makélélé, Adrian Mutu, Joe Cole, Glen Johnson, Wayne Bridge and Scott Parker. (A year earlier, the only signing of note had been Enrique de Lucas, from Espanyol, on a free transfer.) Ranieri, the club’s manager since 2000, stayed in charge, having masterminded a top-four finish the previous season. But the 2003/04 campaign ended in disappointment. In the league, Chelsea finished eleven points behind Arsenal, while Monaco prevailed in the Champions League semi-finals. Neither the domestic cups brought success. Long before Porto had conquered Europe, Ranieri appeared doomed.

Prior to the new season, Arsenal were the chief title candidates. They had not lost a league game since 2002/03. Thierry Henry was still a footballing version of Superman, outrunning and outsmarting everyone. The outlook was gloomier for Manchester United. They had finished third the previous season, after a summer that had featured David Beckham’s departure to Real Madrid, and the recruitment of Cristiano Ronaldo, Tim Howard, Kleberson, Eric Djemba-Djemba and David Bellion. While Gerard Piqué and Giuseppe Rossi had recently arrived, neither would make an immediate impact. Liverpool did not look threatening either. They had hired Rafa Benítez, but the squad was in a transitional phase after the latest dealings of Gérard Houllier. The summer signings included Djibril Cissé, Josemi, Xabi Alonso, Luis García and Antonio Nuñez; the latter as part of a deal involving Michael Owen going to Real Madrid.

Mourinho swiftly installed his backroom staff. Steve Clarke, a former Chelsea defender, was promoted from the youth set-up to become assistant manager. The goalkeeping coach, Silvino Louro, was an ex-custodian born in Setúbal, Mourinho’s hometown, who had joined Mourinho at Porto. Baltemar Brito, a coach, from Brazil, was a centre-back in Portuguese football in the 1970s and 1980s, and a long-time friend of Mourinho’s family. The fitness coach, Rui Faria, had contacted Mourinho about some academic work in the late 1990s, while Mourinho worked at Barcelona. They hit it off, and Mourinho hired him when taking charge of Leiria. The head of opposition scouting, André Villas-Boas, also arrived from Porto. Still in his mid-20s, he would attend games across the country, typing reports on his Blackberry.

When Mourinho met the squad, he presented a booklet imprinted with a preceptive formula similar to that issued upon his arrival at Porto. It read: ‘Motivation + Ambition + Team + Spirit = Success.’ Players and staff quickly noted the organisation and clarity with which Mourinho worked. One of the youngsters, Steven Watt, told Ciaran Kelly in José Mourinho: The Rise of the Translator: “He stressed that we should never lose a game at home… At training, you were expected to work to your maximum ability the whole time your were on the training pitch. Everything we worked on was game-related and had a point.” Craig Rocastle, another academy fledgling, said: “All sessions were intense, technical and tactical. Put it this way; not one player in the entire club did not understand their tactical role or position.”

The wealth of Abramovich gave Chelsea the financial muscle to instigate another galáctico project. Stars had been linked to West London all summer, drawing the remark from Mourinho that “if all the names I was supposed to be signing arrive, I would have a squad of fifty players”. Those who did arrive held a modest commercial appeal. They included Paulo Ferreira (Porto), Petr Čech (Rennes), Arjen Robben (PSV Eindhoven), Mateja Kežman (PSV), Didier Drogba (Marseille), Tiago (Benfica), Ricardo Carvalho (Porto). Alexey Smertin was called back from his loan at Portsmouth. Midway through the season, Mourinho would shed light on his transfer policy, when asked to analyse a declining Real Madrid. “What is missing is what I call low-profile players,” he told World Soccer magazine. “For example, in my team I love to have Geremi on the bench because he’s a low-profile player who is ready to help, ready to fight for the team, ready to do the job I want him to do. If I need him to play right-back, he can play right-back. If I need him to play right-winger, he can play right-winger. If I need him to pick up a man and mark him out of the game, he does it.”

Had Mourinho told Abramovich he did not want a galáctico project? “Yes, I told him,” he replied. “On the first day.”

One particularly coveted purchase was Drogba. Mourinho had tracked the Ivorian for two years, and, when Marseille and Porto had met in the Champions League group stage the previous season, the two had met at half-time. “Do you have a brother or cousin in Ivory Coast?” Mourinho had asked. “Because I don’t have enough money to bring you to Porto.” When Drogba had signed, Mourinho was questioned over the transfer fee—a reported £24m—which some judged as exorbitant for a 26-year-old striker from French football. Mourinho argued that the effective cost would be determined by what Drogba gave to the club. “If he doesn’t help us at all, of course it will be seen as expensive,” he said. “But we have to wait.”

The latest investments added to a troop that had already mushroomed under Ranieri. “I won’t work with big squads,” Mourinho said. “I like small squads. I will have twenty-one outfield players, plus the goalkeepers, because this is the right amount for the specific work we want to do.” This preference interlinked with Mourinho’s principle of total commitment. Players are either on the boat or off it. The emotional and psychological cornerstones of his managerial approach—team spirit, loyalty, interpersonal stability—are fragile components that warrant great care. “When you have a big box of oranges,” he said, “and one of the oranges is sick, one month later you have ten oranges to send to the garbage. So I want everyone to have a strong motivation.”

The garage sale began. Veron and Crespo were loaned to Internazionale and AC Milan respectively, Carlton Cole was loaned to Aston Villa, Mario Stanić and Emmanuel Petit retired, Boudewijn Zenden and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink were sold to Middlesbrough, Mario Melchiot and Jesper Grønkjær went to Birmingham, Marcel Desailly left for Al-Gharafa in Qatar, Neil Sullivan joined Leeds. And, to imagined high-fives in the boardroom, Winston Bogarde was released. The Dutch defender had signed in 2000 under Gianluca Vialli, who was fired weeks later. New coach Ranieri did not favour Bogarde, but his contract—worth £40,000 a week—ran until 2004, and the player had no plans to relinquish the money. Chelsea dumped him in the reserves, but he refused to move. The press grew resentful of his mercenary attitude, to which Bogarde replied: “Chelsea offered me a contract, I signed the contract, so what’s the problem?” Six months prior to Mourinho’s arrival, speculation arose that Bogarde might join a club on loan to finally play first-team football. But Bogarde claimed no offers had arrived. “It’s logical to assume that I would be interested in joining another club in this league on loan if I had the chance,” he told “Sadly, at present, I don’t have that opportunity.”

The outgoing Stanić made a better impression. “He left the club,” Mourinho told World Soccer, “but he was with me on the first day, and he said something like: ‘A lot of people have arrived in England, and they just adapt to the English reality of football. But I know that your methods, and your philosophy, and your way of thinking, are very special. Don’t ever change. Even if it takes time, don’t change.’ I’ll never forget what he said.”

The season would kick off at home to Manchester United. During pre-season, Mourinho had made John Terry captain, and the team had toured the States. Robben had picked up an injury, and with Duff also in the treatment room, Mourinho used a narrow 4-4-2 diamond reminiscent of the 4-3-1-2 used by Porto. Notably, Čech was preferred to Carlo Cudicini; a selection that would never be reversed. The anchor was Makélélé, with Smertin left, Geremi right, and Lampard top, behind Eidur Gudjohnsen and Drogba. Opposite stood a side beset by injuries. Ferguson started Gary Neville and Roy Keane in central defence. Chelsea took the lead when Drogba nodded a long ball down to Gudjohnsen, who finished just in time to avoid Keane’s intervention. United replied strongly, but never managed to equalise. “I remember the goal, the importance of it,” Keane wrote in his second autobiography, The Second Half. “A win against us—Mourinho was already the Special One. It gave them that bit of early momentum, and confidence… For the goal, I think I could have done better. When Gudjohnsen went to finish it, could I have taken his head off? Maybe.”

Keane was right. The victory—if unconvincing on the whole—provided hard evidence to support Mourinho’s boasts. It kick-started a run where Chelsea played cautiously, nicking narrow wins through a mixture of defensive solidity, luck, team spirit and an ability to get goals out of nowhere. In the next game, away to Birmingham, they survived a horrendous back-pass by Wayne Bridge that set Emile Heskey clear on goal. On a separate occasion, Birmingham hit the post. The winning goal was a deflected strike from Cole. In the third game, Mourinho changed to 4-3-3 and won 2-0 at Crystal Palace. The first conceded goal came in the fourth game. With Southampton visiting, James Beattie struck a looping half-volley virtually from the off, yet Chelsea clawed their way back. First, a finish from a corner deflected off two Southampton players and in. Shortly after, another corner was handled inside the area. Lampard converted the penalty, despite slipping as he struck the ball.

The fast start owed much to Mourinho’s defensive drilling in pre-season, but Chelsea’s attacking principles remained rudimentary. The two next matches ended 0-0. At Villa Park, Drogba hit the crossbar, and earned a booking for simulation that was later rescinded. Next, Tottenham grabbed a draw at Stamford Bridge that left Mourinho exasperated. “They didn’t play football,” he said. “One thing is to defend well, but try to win the game and play some football. Another thing is to defend, and defend, and defend, and kick balls away, and kick balls up, and fall down, and wait for the medical department. And I think nobody should give credit for what they did.” In another interview, he added: “As we say in Portugal, they brought the bus, and they left the bus in front of the goal.”

Ahead of the visit to Middlesbrough, Mourinho insisted that Chelsea had deserved to score more goals than they had. But emphatic wins remained elusive. They won 1-0 at Riverside after Lampard cut a clever free-kick across to Drogba. The recipe was repeated at home to Liverpool, where another low Lampard set-piece was flicked in by Cole. Nick a goal, shut up shop. The collective emphasis on defence was underlined by Mourinho’s post-match criticism of Cole. “When he scored the goal, the game finished for him. After that I needed eleven players for my defensive organisation, and I had just ten.” He also said: “He has a lot to learn. I think he has two faces—one beautiful, and one I don’t like. He must keep one and change the other.”

After eight matches, Arsenal were top with 7-1-0 and twenty-two points; Chelsea were second, with 6-2-0 and twenty points. They had scored eight and shipped one. The goals had been a long ball, a deflected strike, two merciless finishes, an own goal, a penalty for a needless handball, and two smart free-kicks. “It was all 1-0 and 2-0 victories,” Ferguson wrote in his 2014 biography. “They would take the lead in games and then consolidate. Chelsea were becoming an incredibly hard team to break down. They were much better organised than before.” In the papers, the talk turned to ‘boring Chelsea’. “I was feeling: ‘what is this?’ ‘Where am I?’,” Mourinho later told the BBC. “But I got that in a good way. I was saying to the players every time: ‘They don’t like us, because we win.’” He added: “It was important to close the dressing room door and say: ‘What they’re saying about us outside, doesn’t matter.’”

Beneath the verbal mud slinging, Mourinho knew a defensive approach was needed to compensate for the paucity of creativity. While he waited for Robben and Duff to return, he installed an internal conviction that Chelsea were unbreakable. “Chelsea went through phases,” he told the BBC. “The first phase was to give them tactical discipline. You cannot play just emotional—and I understand that the English mentality is a little bit about that. And I wanted to show that I don’t want to lose matches, I want to get the maximum points in the beginning, and I wanted to show that it is not easy to beat Chelsea, it is not easy to score against them. And step by step, the team was getting strong tactically, but also mentally. Very strong. They were feeling the ‘power’. ‘We score one goal, we don’t lose.’ ‘We can go away from home and don’t concede goals.’ Clean sheet after clean sheet.”

In the ninth game, the momentum came to a temporary halt. Chelsea lost 1-0 at Manchester City after a Nicolas Anelka penalty, leaving Arsenal five points clear. To compound the misery, Drogba was out for seven weeks. The good news was Robben’s return. Chelsea went on to beat Blackburn 4-0 in a game where the Dutchman, as a substitute, came close to scoring. After a 4-1 win at West Bromwich Albion, Robben and Duff started together for the first time, at home to Everton, Robben scoring the only goal. Following that was a 4-1 win at Fulham where Robben struck again, after leaving two opponents in a heap on the turf. Earlier, United had ended Arsenal’s 49-game unbeaten streak. Chelsea proceeded to stumble at home to Sam Allardyce’s Bolton, but hit back with 4-0 drubbings of Charlton and Newcastle. Particularly in the last game, the forwards were electric. On the touchline, Graeme Souness observed unimpressed, his foot wrapped in a protective plastic boot.

The 4-3-3 system Chelsea had settled on was solid and efficient. The centre-backs—Terry and Carvalho—were dominant and mobile; the full-backs—Ferreira and Bridge—were dynamic and capable crossers. Anchoring the midfield triangle, Makélélé provided unparalleled stability and know-how. Lampard alternated between ghosting into the box and dropping deep to lob passes over the top, or wide. Tiago grafted. That triumvirate embodied the qualities that made Chelsea so formidable: concentration, discipline, belligerency, stamina, tactical intelligence, sheer bloody-mindedness. The attackers were extremely direct. Depending on who played, Robben, Duff and Cole would swap flanks and vary their movement. Collecting the ball wide, they would run at defenders and, if possible, shoot; failing that, get to the byline and cross, or square to a midfielder. They also drifted into spaces between the lines. This happened particularly often on the road, exploiting the zone that English teams predisposed to 4-4-2 traditionally struggled to eliminate. Up front, Drogba attracted markers and created space for others. Collectively, Chelsea were masters of avoiding and punishing errors, and their counter-attacks were lethal. “What Mourinho did with Chelsea, with his 4-3-3, was something never seen before,” Villas-Boas said years later. “A dynamic structure, aggressive, with aggressive transitions.”

The season resumed with a 2-2 draw at Arsenal, in which Henry scored a snap free-kick while Čech was organising his wall. After that, Chelsea shut the door. Over Christmas, they beat Norwich (4-0), Aston Villa (1-0), Portsmouth (2-0) and Liverpool (1-0); in January, they saw off Middlesbrough (2-0), Tottenham (2-0), and Portsmouth again (3-0). That month, Chelsea also beat Scunthorpe 3-1 in the third round of the FA Cup. Prior to the game, Mourinho had called up a couple of academy youngsters. “There was no meeting and nothing official about it,” Watt told Kelly. “He just casually strolled up to me in the canteen while I was queueing for my lunch and said: ‘Steve, do you want to play for me this weekend?’ I said: ‘Yes, boss!’ Then he just smiled and said, ‘Okay,’ and walked out of the canteen.”

In early February, Chelsea travelled to Ewood Park to face a Blackburn side managed by Mark Hughes. The conditions encouraged combat. “During this afternoon, it rained only in this stadium—our kit man saw it—they tried everything,” Mourinho would later say. “There must be a microclimate here. It hadn’t even rained here at all, and yet the pitch was like a swimming pool.” Chelsea took the lead through Robben, who then suffered two fractures in his foot thanks to a tackle by Aaron Mokoena. Later, Robbie Savage earned a penalty that Paul Dickov took. Čech saved it, but for the rebound, Dickov launched himself at the goalkeeper, appearing to kick him in the stomach. In the same half, when Čech picked up a loose pass, Dickov flashed his studs as he flung towards him. An angry Terry confronted Dickov, sparking a melee in which Savage and Brett Emerton joined in. When the game ended, Mourinho refused to shake hands with Hughes. On the pitch, the Chelsea players embraced Čech, and Mourinho, having celebrated demonstratively at the final whistle, instructed the team to throw their shirts to the away fans.

The battle reinforced the impression of Chelsea as a robust outfit. If the Barcelona side of the time were a collective of artists, Chelsea were a tight-knit group of soldiers. “It was a big fight,” Mourinho said. “Sometimes without emotional control, and sometimes without respect for the rules of the game. But we did it fantastic. I think they felt: ‘We cannot beat them on football, we have to try to beat them on aggressiveness and direct football, and faults, and try to intimidate them’, because maybe they thought these boys are top players, they come here to play football, and they are not ready for this. We were ready for that.”

At that point, accusations of defensive football still lingered, but a handful of emphatic wins before Christmas had crushed some of their credibility. “I don’t say we are a defensive team,” Mourinho had told World Soccer in a December interview. “I say we are a strong team in defensive terms, but at the same time lacking sufficient fluidity in attack because that will take time to come. But we still are playing very good football at times.” Clarke said in a later ITV documentary: “There was this sort of myth blown up that Chelsea just defended and were hard-working, and ground the opposition down. But that wasn’t true. If it was a physical game we could stand up to the opposition. If it was an open and entertaining game, we had the players who could win that type of game as well. And they found a way to win. That was the secret to the strength of that Chelsea side.”

Eight months into the season, Mourinho had long become the league’s chief attraction. The press and public were both amused and angered by his eccentricity, irreverence, volubility, charisma, beguilement and appetite for confrontation. Contributing to the captivation was the arcane nature of some of Mourinho’s methods: the psychological factors, the strategic affronts. Neither his sartorial taste had gone unscrutinised. Over the winter period, Mourinho’s grey Armani coat had become subject to a parody song authored by Irish comedian and impersonator Mario Rosenstock, titled ‘José and his Amazing Technicolor Overcoat’. In mid-February, prior to a game at Everton, Mourinho invited Rosenstock to perform it for the squad at the team hotel.

José: ‘A corner kick is just enough. A little flick, from Damien Duff. The ball flies right into the net, and we are one-nil up…’

The squad: “One-nil! One-nil! One-nil! One-nil!”

The following day, at Goodison Park, Beattie, having transferred from Southampton, was dismissed after eight minutes for headbutting William Gallas. The score was 0-0 at half time, but a winner from Gudjohnsen secured another 1-0 win. “It was interesting, we couldn’t get the ball off them,” Moyes told Barclay. “They wouldn’t let it out of play and they didn’t concede free-kicks. We were doing everything we could to find a way of restarting the game with a throw or a corner or a free-kick, so we could make it a scrap for the ball. With ten men, it would have been our best opportunity. They didn’t give us it, and I remember thinking what an intelligent team they were.”

The title chase continued with a 3-1 win at Norwich, in which Leon McKenzie became the first player in eleven matches, or 1,024 minutes, to beat Čech. After victories over West Bromwich, Palace and Southampton, Chelsea drew at home against Birmingham and Arsenal, the latter result drawing a discrete touchline celebration from Mourinho. They beat Fulham next, 3-1. With four games left, and twelve points at stake, Chelsea had an eleven-point advantage. Smelling the title, Mourinho told his critics: “The moral of the story is not to listen to those who tell you not to play the violin but stick to the tambourine.”

On 30 April 2005, Chelsea travelled to Bolton knowing that a win would seal the championship. After a goalless half, Mourinho delivered his half-time speech. “Yes, he was fuming,” Terry later said. “He was going: ‘Listen, give me the shorts and give Steve Clarke the shirt—and we’ll go out and work harder than you lot have done’.” On the hour-mark, Lampard struck. Fourteen minutes from full time, the same man came alone with Jussi Jääskeläinen, rounded the Finn and scored. (“I was just thinking as I ran, don’t fuck it up,” Lampard would say.) When the final whistle went, emotions poured out. “I told them at half time that the next time we are together, we must be champions,” Mourinho told a TV crew. Terry said: “I just want to break down, and I probably will when I get back to my hotel room on my own, when I sit back and watch it on TV.”

The cup competitions had brought mixed fortunes. Chelsea had lost to Newcastle in the FA Cup fifth round, but won the League Cup after a 3-2 extra-time win over Liverpool in Cardiff. A few days after Chelsea beat Bolton, Liverpool would avenge that defeat by winning 1-0 on aggregate in the Champions League semi-finals. The European campaign had contained some of Mourinho’s most controversial moments. In the round of sixteen against Barcelona, he drew condemnation for comments that led to death threats to, and the retirement of, referee Anders Frisk. (Reports also suggested that, after the first leg, Villas-Boas had thrown his chewing gum at Henk ten Cate.) Chelsea later advanced but Mourinho was suspended for the quarter-final ties against Bayern München. After the first game, in London, which Chelsea won 4-2, rumours emerged he had breached UEFA protocol by smuggling himself into the dressing room. Three years later, The Times chief sports correspondent Matt Dickinson published a story that claimed to verify the suspicions. Mourinho had apparently arrived early at the stadium and watched the first half in the dressing room, while communicating with staff via radio and telephone. On the bench, Rui Faria had worn a woolly hat and kept scratching his ear. At half-time, Mourinho delivered the team-talk. During the second half, Louro kept carrying small pieces of paper to the bench that coincided with the timing of Chelsea’s substitutions. Towards the end, Mourinho had reportedly escaped by being wheeled out in a kit trolley.

Back in the Premier League, three matches remained. Chelsea scraped past Charlton by 1-0 at home after a last-minute penalty by Makélélé. The execution was unconvincing. The first strike went straight at the goalkeeper, but the ball bounced back for another go. Neither the rebound was hit properly, Makélélé whacking it with his left foot, but it went in anyway. Later, Mourinho revealed that Makélélé was not supposed to have taken it. “I did a diagram,” he said. “If penalty in ninetieth minute at 0-0, Lampard; at 2-0, Makélélé. He took two in training yesterday and missed both.”

Next came a 3-1 win at Old Trafford. On the final day, Chelsea drew 1-1 a Newcastle. The numbers could be added up. Chelsea had won twenty-nine out of thirty-eight games. They had reached ninety-five points, a Premier League record. They had won fifteen away games. They had kept twenty-five clean sheets and conceded fifteen goals, which were also records. “At the beginning of the season, when we were not so fluent, clean sheets gave us a lot of points,” Mourinho said in his post-match address. “People said Chelsea were boring, but Chelsea were building.” Assessing the numbers, he added: “It is an unbelievable record. Ninety-five points is a lot of points.”

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