Jos Mourinho needs to shake off Chelsea cloud as he returns to Bridge | Daniel Taylor

Jos Mourinho, who takes Manchester United to west London on Sunday, seems to have been affected by his final half-season at Chelsea more than he probably wants to let on

It was no doubt a relief to everybody at Chelsea, presumably, that when Jos Mourinho was asked where it had all gone wrong he referred to a Portuguese saying no lavo roupa suja em pblico and explained, possibly with his fingers crossed beneath the table, that it meant he would never wash his dirty linen in public when it came to his former clubs.

True, it jarred slightly with his introduction at Chelsea, the second time, when he led a group of football writers into the boardroom at Stamford Bridge and, unsolicited, proceeded to score some easy points at the expense of Iker Casillas, his former captain at Real Madrid.

Yet Mourinho has always shaped the rules to his own liking. He has generally spoken well of Chelsea over the last couple of days. And, besides, there might not have been a washing line long enough bearing in mind the spectacular nature of his fall, the Dr Eva Carneiro case and all those occasions when it felt like the bee in his bonnet was buzzing out of control.

Did you realise there was even a point in his final season at Chelsea when Mourinho, with the pressure rising dangerously close to intolerable, apparently decided that goalline technology had it in for him, along with all the referees, Football Association officials, television pundits, headline writers, ball boys, schedule fixers, ghouls, fiends and shiny unicorns he had already concluded were out to get him?

It certainly offers an insight into Mourinhos psyche this time a year ago that when he waded into the referees room at Upton Park, abusing Jon Moss with enough ferocity that West Hams head of security had to intervene, one of his complaints pertained to a waferthin decision on the goalline. Mourinho thought Kurt Zoumas header was in. The goalline technology disagreed and the buzzer on Mosss wrist never went off.

Chelsea lost 2-1 and Mourinhos employers really ought to have taken their own disciplinary action given that the FA, taking all his previous into account, subsequently expelled him from a game at Stoke City.

Even those of us who want to see the good in this serial champion because there is, whatever anyone says, an awful lot to admire about his work must wince when Howard Webbs newly published autobiography has just revealed how Mourinhos frequently recycled complaints about referees led to a clear-the-air meeting at Chelseas training ground and another reminder that the most successful managers can often be the ones who are the most hard-nosed and unapologetic.

According to Webb, Mourinho went on the offensive, reeling off all the decisions he felt had gone against his team, before Webb and Mike Riley, the highest-ranked official in the refereeing industry, produced a spreadsheet of the calls that had actually worked in Chelseas favour. But it is the detail from the start of that meeting that stands out. Mourinho kicked off proceedings, Webb says, by wiping the floor with the Premier League representative who had been invited. What was said is not recorded but, having made a few inquiries, it is fair to say it was unpleasant in the extreme.

Another intriguing revelation is that Mourinho is said to have changed his email address during the first half of last season, purportedly out of concern that third parties might be going through his correspondence as part of the Carneiro case, and apparently sent a message to one contact with the opening line: No emails dangerous!

Yet there is still an element of mystery about how much his treatment of the clubs doctor contributed to his diminished status within the Chelsea dressing room and the almost implausible speed at which Mourinho lost the precious magic that once led Patrick Barclay, writing his biography Anatomy of a Winner, to note how the Portuguese loved scorning the convention that even the kindest coach must maintain a certain distance between himself and the players.

Blue turning red and grey: Jos Mourinho as he was when he first joined Chelsea in 2004 and as he is now at Manchester United.

The footage after Internazionale win the 2010 Champions League final when he and Marco Materazzi tearfully embrace in the bowels of the Bernabu, knowing it will be their last game together, is probably the most compelling reminder, but that kind of bonding technique was evident during happier times at Stamford Bridge, too.

My mind goes back to a night at the Savoy in January 2014, with the Football Writers Association honouring Mourinho at its annual tribute dinner, and a speech from Frank Lampard that was so moving virtually everyone on the top table seemed to be dabbing their eyes. Louis van Gaal, that giant bear of a man, was among them. Lampard had spoken like a man who would run through a plate-glass window for Mourinho, and Van Gaal, still wiping away tears, said he had never known a manager have such a relationship with his players.

So far, that has not really been evident at Old Trafford although, equally, four months is not a great deal of time to build up the same kind of rapport. It does feel slightly different, though, and it has crossed my mind more than once that maybe Mourinho has been affected by his final half-season at Chelsea more than he probably wants to let on.

Jos Mourinho reacts during the Manchester Uniteds home defeat to Manchester City in September. Photograph: Peter Powell/EPA

The old spark is not always there. Mourinho used to walk into press conferences and light up the entire room infuriatingly handsome, immaculately turned out, nodding to the sound of his own words, as if he thought he was the Fonz. He looked as if he was auditioning to appear on a banknote. He had the indefinable quality that inspires curiosity, and he even had Sir Alex Ferguson on the ropes for a while. Fergusons last public event in Manchester was at Bridgewater Hall and Mourinhos first stint at Chelsea was inevitably brought up. I watched his first press conference when he said he was the Special One, Ferguson told his audience. I said to myself: Och, Im not going to take him on. He was young, vibrant you dont take on young guys like that. That was the Mourinho who, having left Stamford Bridge the first time, explained that he could never return to say thank you to the supporters because he would die in the crush.

Nowadays, the dark rings beneath Mourinhos eyes seem that much more pronounced. It used to be that his charm was on full-beam. For a while, he was the most admired personality in the game, one of the rare people who could make bigheadedness feel vaguely attractive when he reminisced about life at Porto with its beautiful blue chairs, the Uefa Champions League trophy, God and, after God, me.

These days, though, nobody really makes comparisons with Brian Clough, the last manager who seemed made for television. There isnt quite the old strut, or the air of insouciance that once had Mourinho, in the first part of his Chelsea duology, nominating George Clooney to play him in a film.

Perhaps we know him too well now, warts and all. His stare is wild sometimes and, to be honest, I reckon a lot of us miss the old Mourinho and more innocent times. When he faced off with the comedian John Bishop for Channel 4s Stand up to Cancer, cracking up to the question of what do you call a sheep with no legs (answer: a cloud), it might be the first time I have seen him laugh proper laughter since his appointment.

Maybe, as Ferguson said, it is just an age thing and Mourinho is different now, coming into his mid-50s. Perhaps the soft-focus Mourinho will come back into view once his team have recorded their first significant win, against an established rival, since he took the job. For now, though, it does leave the suspicion that he might still be carrying the effects of his first experience of hard failure. Mourinho, you might have noticed, seldom mentions his old club by name.

Shifting sands of FAs Big Sam story

It was tempting to wonder what must have been going through Sam Allardyces mind, sitting in the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand at Manchester United to watch his first match since the inglorious end to his passing appearance as England manager.

Allardyces place next to Sir Alex Ferguson for the game against Fenerbahce felt choreographed, a clear vote of supportfrom probably the most influential person within the League Managers Association, and though there is a tendency in their profession to protect their own I do detect a growing amount of bewilderment throughout the sport about the FAs mixed messages.

That was certainly some admission from Robert Sullivan, the FAs director of strategy, during a two-hour session with the parliamentary culture, sport and media committee when the subject of third-party ownership of players came up.

No doubt you will remember the widely reported reason for Allardyces departure was that he advised some undercover reporters how to get around the rules. What you wont have seen, now the story is already deemed as old news, is a deluge of headlines about Sullivans admission that the FA does not actually believe he did that.

It has taken some time but we are finally getting there. First, it was the FA chief executive, Martin Glenn, admitting his initial reaction when the story blew up was that nobody needed to lose their job. Now there is another high-ranking FA official saying the story might not actually be quite how it has been presented.

It all comes too late for Allardyce hired for being Big Sam, and abandoned for being Big Sam but hopefully a few more people might include the various updates when they are retelling the story and understand now why growing numbers within the sport have jumped off the bandwagon.

Maybe Strachan has hidden talents

A lot of people are no doubt surprised that Gordon Strachan is staying in the Scotland job after another run of galling results, with the England game coming up in a few weeks and his team as far away as ever from re-establishing themselves as serious competitors on the internationalscene.

With that as the backdrop, I did enjoy his acceptance speech when he was inducted into the National Football Museums hall of fame in Manchester a few nights ago. Its ironic, Strachan began, me, in the English hall of fame when Im just about to be booted out of the Scottish hall of fame.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2016/oct/22/jose-mourinho-chelsea-manchester-united

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