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Mourinho hitches future to Chelsea

Updated: 2013-12-25 07:04
By Reuters in London ( China Daily)

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho could stick with the English Premier League club for 12 seasons despite accepting his "worst contract" in six years.

The Portuguese rejoined the London outfit, with whom he won league titles in 2005 and 2006, in June after trophy-laden years spent in Italy and Spain with Inter Milan and Real Madrid.

On Monday, he took his title-chasing Chelsea side across London to face Arsenal, managed for the past 17 years by Arsene Wenger, and came away with a lackluster 0-0 draw.

"Realistically, I hope at the end of those four years we sit and analyze the situation, and that will be the point where we both - the club and me - are happy to carry on or happy to separate," British media quoted Mourinho as saying of his contract on Monday.

"But I would like, say, 12 years. I'm 51 next month. I'd say 12 years, and then two to go to a World Cup with a national team. I would prefer the Portuguese national team. England second (choice)."

Mourinho has never completed four seasons with a club in his highly successful career that has brought seven league championships across Europe and two Champions League titles.

He left Porto after winning the Champions League in 2004 to join Chelsea. He left the English side in September 2007, the start of his fourth season, following a breakdown of relations with the club and a falling out with billionaire owner Roman Abramovich.

He then joined Inter in 2008 and lifted five trophies before departing to Spain in 2010 as he ended Barcelona's run of league championships before departing in May amid dressing room divisions.

Mourinho hitches future to Chelsea

He had been tipped to replace Alex Ferguson, who stepped down after 26 years at Manchester United in May, but Mourinho plumped for a return to Chelsea, where he remains revered for bringing the club its first title in 50 years.

"There were a lot of teams (offered to me) who could be successful immediately in my hands," Mourinho said.

"I had Real Madrid. I left them because I wanted to, not because they wanted me to. I had other clubs in other countries where it would be easier to go and find an easy job immediately.

"If I was here for financial reasons, I wouldn't be here getting a lot less money than I had at Real Madrid, where I had three more years on my contract.

"I didn't come here because the job was easy, or because I had a team ready to attack the title, or because I was coming here for the best contract of my life. It's the worst of my last six years. I'm here because I love the club, I love the project. It's a different project."

The project involves tightening a leaky defense and finding a formula to attain more goals from his struggling strikers.

He also needs to help bring through a talented pool of youngsters to replace an aging generation which includes John Terry, Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard.

The Portuguese said Chelsea would have a 'phenomenal team' next season with the arrival of some marquee signings to go along with his development of the current crop - if he is provided time.

Abramovich employed seven permanent or interim managers in between Mourinho's two spells in charge.

"The best way to (run a club) is to do it with stability. For the players, if you want to help them grow up, you do that much better with stability," Mourinho said.

(China Daily 12/25/2013 page24)