"I am the same person," said Jose Mourinho in June in his first press conference following his return to Chelsea. "I have the same heart and the same kind of emotions related to my passion for football and my job. But I am of course a different person."
It has been almost six years since the Portuguese left his first reign at Stamford Bridge, which included five trophies plus a Charity Shield in just three years, but we are soon set to find out if indeed he has changed during that time.
The big question is whether this supposedly different Mourinho can repeat his previous success? His attitude, working relationships and influence will all be under intense scrutiny in the coming months. Here, ahead of Chelsea's first game of the new season against Hull City on Sunday - which can be seen live on Sky Sports 1HD and 3D, we examine some of his major challenges.
The 'Special One' or the 'Happy One'?
Mourinho, if you believe the rumours, has mellowed. After his time with Inter Milan and Real Madrid, where he fell out with pretty much everyone and anyone from players, match officials, club executives and the media, the end result is supposedly a new, restrained man. A step back from the dashing, trench coat-wearing, self-anointed 'Special One' who first swaggered into Chelsea with his designer five o'clock stubble in 2004 would not be difficult but is also necessary.
Mourinho's brashness (remember his metaphors about the transfer market and the classification of eggs?) ultimately led to the shattering of his relationship with Abramovich the first time around. He will need to be more diplomatic and upon his return has claimed to be the 'Happy One'. But how long will this last when the going gets tough over the course of a season? How will he be able to keep a lid on an ego that, although slightly underachieving at Real, has now won seven league championships in four different countries, two UEFA Champions League titles, one UEFA Cup and 10 other trophies?
That nature also means Mourinho will always be a sore loser. Let us not forget his accusations towards now retired Swedish referee Anders Frisk in the Champions League in 2005. It will be interesting to see if Mourinho and his soundbite production line remain the darling of the British media if his Chelsea reincarnation starts with a few bad results. An opening fixture list which includes trips to Manchester United, Everton and Tottenham Hotspur before the end of September, along with the European Super Cup against old rival Pep Guardiola's Bayern Munich on 30th August, does not look straightforward.
At the same time, the Premier League is a different landscape to that which Mourinho left behind in September 2007. How will his personality adapt? The Football Association's Respect campaign has been pushed to the forefront after various indiscretions from players, managers and fans over recent years. Every footballing action, word and event is consequently under the microscope and can go viral within seconds courtesy of 24-hour media and the increased presence of social networking. Managers, as a result, cannot behave as Machiavellian incendiary and must act with utmost composure. In short, Mourinho will need to tread carefully.
Time to deliver
Standards are high for Mourinho to produce success and trophies at Chelsea. Nine years ago, when he first moved to Stamford Bridge, there was more an element of hope than expectation among fans. He arrived with a fine reputation from Porto as a Champions League winner but Chelsea had not won the league since 1955. The club were not accustomed to success in the biggest competitions. However, Mourinho's back-to-back Premier League titles in 2005 and 2006 combined with an FA Cup and two League Cup wins quickly changed attitudes and earned him a status as an A-grader. The upshot is Chelsea will now demand repeated glory and the stakes are high.
After the unpopular interim tenure of Rafa Benitez, which was complicated by a Premier League top-three finish and victory in the Europa League, Mourinho's appointment, in part, appears a PR exercise. But Abramovich will also accept nothing less than regaining the Premier League title while, at the same time, Chelsea's owner will want another Champions League win. Mourinho's one shortcoming with Chelsea was in the Champions League, where they lost two semi-finals to Liverpool. Roberto Di Matteo, a caretaker boss at the time, was the man to deliver the Champions League in 2012.
There is also an expectation for Mourinho to bring a more expansive, attractive style of play, which goes against his usually powerful and pragmatic approach. Within this, he must embrace the club's existing policy of phasing out ageing stars, such as Frank Lampard and John Terry, who were the spine of his first era. This is in order to make the likes of Oscar, Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Gary Cahill and, after his successful loan at West Bromwich Albion, Romelu Lukaku the heart of his team. This is already in process from the Benitez and Andre Villas-Boas eras but will Mourinho be committed to a long-term plan given he has never spent more than three years as manager at a single club?
Who's the boss?
Mourinho likes to have complete control over not just the make-up of his squad but also the running of the club. This was seen as one of the reasons in the breakdown in his relationship with Abramovich. The Russian was said to have been the man who signed Michael Ballack and Andriy Shevchenko against Mourinho's wishes and this led to friction.
The presence of sporting director Michael Emenalo is also seen as something which Mourinho dislikes. Reports suggested Emenalo offered his resignation over the summer in order to facilitate Mourinho's return but Abramovich swiftly turned it down. Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay is another highly influential figure at Stamford Bridge who has strong links with Abramovich. This would all imply Mourinho will again not be allowed carte blanche in the transfer market and overall club matters.
Transfers have taken place. Andre Schurrle looks like a good buy while Marco van Ginkel, Mark Schwarzer and Cristian Cuevas have also arrived. But are all these players necessarily the men Mourinho wanted? He had made no secret of his desire to sign Wayne Rooney but Chelsea seemed quite restrained in their pursuit and, having already this summer missed out on Edinson Cavani and Radamel Falcao, reports now suggest they are looking elsewhere.
Perhaps this is because the club are considering Financial Fair Play rules, which mean the £225million Mourinho spent in his first tenure will not be available. Perhaps Abramovich also remains keen for £50m 2011 signing Fernando Torres to be given the chance. Despite the Confederations Cup, the Spain striker has had his first genuine summer break for several years and should be fresh. But Mourinho's bids for Rooney and links to Samuel Eto'o would suggest the manager does not have a great deal of faith in Torres.Mourinho also has to hope Chelsea's executives can resist the advances of Barcelona for David Luiz until 2nd September. The Brazilian has all the characteristics to be a cornerstone, and potential future captain, of the next Mourinho era but he appears to want a move to Camp Nou.
Unlike nine years ago, Chelsea are not the only financial superpower in the Premier League. Manchester City have spent almost £90m this summer on what looks like an incredibly powerful and attacking squad. They have a line-up with depth which Mourinho is probably looking at with envy. Add to this the presence of the shrewd and experienced former Malaga boss Manuel Pellegrini, who Mourinho knows from Spain, and there is a major new hurdle for Chelsea to overcome. Many pundits are suggesting it will be between Chelsea and City for the title.
Manchester United have seemingly been ruled out of that race due to the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era. David Moyes will perform wonders if he can produce an immediate impact and United's squad does not have the overall depth of either City or Chelsea. But it promises to be intriguing to see how Mourinho treats Moyes' United. Will he view them as inferior and attempt to undermine the Scot? Will he show Moyes the same respect as he did his old friend, Ferguson? The United job is considered the one Mourinho really wanted and he may well want to prove a point to the Old Trafford hierarchy.
There is also the ingredient of Villas-Boas, a former member of Mourinho's Chelsea staff, at Tottenham. The pupil will be desperate to get one over on the master. Meanwhile, another Mourinho disciple, former Chelsea youth coach Brendan Rodgers, is now managing in the Premier League at Liverpool. Add to this the long-standing rivalry between Mourinho and Liverpool from Champions League semi-finals and League Cup finals throughout the Noughties and there is additional spice. Arsene Wenger at Arsenal can also not be ignored and is an old Mourinho enemy. Feuds are said to be in the past but we will see if that is the case.
The unusual scenario of the Premier League's top three clubs all changing their manager, of which Mourinho is one, over the summer means there is a sense of the unknown about the new season. This could be to the advantage of Mourinho and, unlike Moyes or Pellegrini, he has previous experience of winning titles in top European leagues. But there are more than a few clubs and managers who will want to give Mourinho something to think about.
What do you think are the issues facing Mourinho in his new era at Chelsea? Will he be able to work with Abramovich? Can the 'Special One' return the Premier League title to Stamford Bridge? Let us have your thoughts via the feedback form
Can Jose Mourinho return the Premier League title to Chelsea?