Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur: Jose Mourinho's perfect day
Moments from victory in the Capital One Cup final at Wembley, Jose Mourinho turned to Chelsea's celebrating fans and pumped his fists in their direction - this serial winner had brought new success to Stamford Bridge.
And as the whistle sounded on a routine 2-0 win over Tottenham that was the precise Mourinho template in all respects, he picked up his mobile phone to deliver the good news to his loved ones.
Mourinho loves gathering silverware and, after what could almost be described as a drought of three years, 'The Special One' was back in business and doing exactly what Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich had in mind when the pair repaired a fractured relationship and renewed their partnership at the start of last season.
Mourinho's perfect day
As Mourinho made that phone call after the final whistle, he could have been telling the tale of a day that panned out as perfectly as he could have wanted - with Chelsea's Premier League position strengthened and his first trophy since returning to the club last summer secured.
Even before kick-off at Wembley this had been a good Sunday for Chelsea and Mourinho after closest title challengers Manchester City slipped to a 2-1 defeat at Liverpool. The League Cup win simply embellished it.
City's defeat leaves them five points adrift of Chelsea having played a game more - placing further pressure on manager Manuel Pellegrini after the midweek Champions League loss at home to Barcelona.
Pellegrini's side have had opportunities before to close the gap on Chelsea but have missed too many of them. Could it be that this loss at Anfield, their fourth in the league this season, will be the decisive one?
The Chilean may have won the Premier League last season but too often a City side packed with attacking talent have looked short on inspiration and energy.
And even more damning was the fact that Liverpool's squad did not arrive home from their Europa League defeat by Besiktas in Turkey until around 5am on Friday morning, before a noon kick-off at Anfield on Sunday - yet they still looked the more energised and progressive team.
This is not a good sign for Pellegrini and his ambitious Manchester City paymasters will justifiably expect better.
The result would have improved the mood of Mourinho and Chelsea before kick-off at Wembley and the second half of that perfect Sunday was completed in trademark fashion. Mourinho will believe this first success will now lead to others.
New Chelsea, same old Special One
If observers were looking for evidence of what makes Mourinho such a world-class manager, it was laid out before them in rain and shine at Wembley with a Blues win that carried all of his hallmarks.
Mourinho's latest Chelsea creation may have the fantasy element provided by players such as Eden Hazard and the Brazilian flourishes of Willian and Oscar, but they all remain on the same page laid out by their manager.
And it is easy to trust a leader who gets so many big calls right. Eyebrows were raised at two aspects of Mourinho's team selection on Sunday but the sight of the trophy being raised with Spurs having barely laid a glove on Chelsea answered any questions.
Mourinho went for the experience of Petr Cech in goal over Premier League first choice Thibaut Courtois - but it was his decision to play all three of John Terry, Gary Cahill and Kurt Zouma that created the biggest stir.
Would it be a back three? Would Cahill be pushed into central midfield? The answer was none of these.
Mourinho decided to use the pace and power of 20-year-old Zouma, a central defender by trade, in midfield in place of the suspended Nemanja Matic. And after some early uncertainty, the Frenchman repaid his manager's faith.
It was all part of Mourinho's plan to ensure Spurs' two main creators, Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen, would not exert significant influence. Apart from an Eriksen free-kick against the bar and a low first-half shot from Kane, it worked to perfection.
And as ever, Mourinho's team were superbly organised and ruthlessly efficient. There was the sense that everyone inside Wembley, including maybe even Spurs and their supporters, knew the game was up once Terry had given Chelsea the lead right on half-time.
Mourinho is the consummate strategist for these occasions and while his Spurs counterpart Mauricio Pochettino is an outstanding coach in the making, he and his side had no answers.
This was the Portuguese's seventh trophy in charge of Chelsea over two spells, including two titles, three League Cups, an FA Cup and a Community Shield - now will he add more this season?
Mourinho's trophy treble
Mourinho has one trophy in the bag and took a small stride towards another, the Premier League title, with that defeat for Manchester City.
So is it possible for him to claim a treble this season, given his side are in a markedly more promising position than either Arsenal or Manchester City to progress to the last eight of the Champions League?
Chelsea's 1-1 draw against Paris St-Germain in France puts them at an advantage in that tie, while Arsenal and City lost to Monaco and Barcelona respectively at home.
But if Chelsea advance, the big guns - such as his former club Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Barcelona - would probably lie in wait as he attempts to create history by becoming the first coach to win the Champions League with three clubs, following triumphs with Porto and Inter Milan.
They will be wary of the great plotter Mourinho, though, and if any coach is capable of conjuring up a plan to get a result against these superpowers it is the shrewd, cunning Blues boss.
Mourinho believes trophies create a momentum of their own and will feel Sunday's triumph will provide the charge of electricity and inspiration Chelsea need to take them forward into the remaining crucial phase of the season.
Since taking over at Porto, Mourinho's win percentage is remarkable for a manager operating at this elite level. His highest was 71.9% at Real Madrid, with Porto coming in just behind on 71.7%. His first spell at Chelsea brought a 67% win rate from 185 games and in his second spell he now stands at 64.3% after winning 63 out of 98 games - with a 66% ratio over the two tenures combined.
Maintain this for the rest of the season and it is likely he will add further honours to his CV.
Mourinho's new era of dominance?
When Mourinho was appointed Chelsea manager after winning the Champions League with Porto in 2004, he made the League Cup his first target to ensure he got a trophy on the board as swiftly as possible - a goal he achieved with a 3-2 extra-time win against Liverpool in Cardiff.
He has employed the same tactic here with success, albeit a year later, after a first season back at Stamford Bridge that was largely transitional and undermined by the lack of a reliable frontline striker.
|Mourinho's Chelsea trophies|
|Premier League||2004-05, 2005-06|
|League Cup||2004-05, 2006-07, 2014-15|
|FA Community Shield||2005|
Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas have effectively replaced the likes of Fernando Torres and Frank Lampard - and Mourinho will hope Sunday's win will be a similar springboard to that 2005 win over Liverpool.
Manchester City will strengthen regularly, Manchester United are almost certain to pledge another £100m to team building under Louis van Gaal and Liverpool are on the march once more after a poor first half of the season.
Mourinho, however, will see this victory as an affirmation of his belief that Chelsea remain the team to beat domestically and that he is the manager others must muscle out of the way to get to the major trophies.