Jose Mourinho, all smiles and with his recent sour face consigned to history, felt like a “kid” again after guiding Chelsea to the first of what he hopes will be many trophies in his ‘second coming’ as their manager.
The “Special One” at last lived up to his new self-proclaimed nickname of the ‘Happy One’ as he celebrated Chelsea’s 2-0 win over London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the Capital One Cup final at Wembley on Sunday.
“I know I have a team to build,” he told a news conference.
Mourinho was not about to make rash predictions that 10 years since winning the League Cup provided the launchpad for his first all-conquering reign at Stamford Bridge his class of 2015 would similarly go on to dominate English football.
“In this country, it’s much more difficult to win than in my first period here,” Mourinho said before praising his young makeshift midfielder Kurt Zouma as “my new Marcel Desailly” to give an idea of how energised the triumph had made him.
“It’s important to feel that I am a kid at 52 years old. It’s very important for me that before the game, I have the same feeling as before my first final. It’s important for me to feel the same happiness as after the first victory,” Mourinho said.
“For the club it’s one more cup - but it’s the first one of a new team.”
Mourinho had special praise for 20-year-old Zouma, who filled in capably for suspended lynchpin Nemanja Matic.
The banned Serbian gave the pre-match address to the team and ended up, in classically shameless John Terry-style, donning his blue strip to join the post-match celebrations.
“It’s very difficult for a central defender to play (in the holding position),” Mourinho said.
“You have to think quicker but our new Marcel Desailly worked hard during the week and we’ve been preparing him a little bit in case of an energency.
“The kid did a fantastic job for us. With Ramires and Fabregas there (as holding midfielders) against a team like Tottenham, I think we would have been in trouble.
Mourinho, who has in public been fractious and feeling as if the world was against him in recent weeks, could hardly hide how much the win meant after his own personal trophy drought since 2012.
“I went two seasons without a trophy and it looked like I was 20 years without a trophy. Even myself, I think it’s a good problem to have that feeling that two years is a long time,” he said.
Winning the Cup, he added, was the “perfect day” even without Manchester City’s Premier League loss at Liverpool which cemented their lead at the top of the table.
The only thing that irritated him was that he had asked all players and staff not to try to find out the result and to remain silent if they heard.
“We were successful but one member of my staff, Silvinho (Louro) jumped up on the bus,” he said.