Jose Mourinho has been looking ahead to his return to Stamford Bridge as Manchester United manager on Sunday.
The 53-year-old was dismissed by Chelsea last December, just six months after winning the Premier League title, and took charge at Old Trafford in June.
Man United could climb above Antonio Conte’s side with a win on Sunday, whilst defeat could see the gap between themselves and fourth stretch to six points, should Liverpool beat West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
Speaking after United’s 4-1 win over Fenerbahce on Thursday, Mourinho, looking ahead to the clash with Chelsea on Sunday, was in a focused mood.
“I don’t have to analyse their start to the season but, when you look at the table and you see where they are, in the middle positions, it cannot be bad,” he said.
“I knew that working in England, staying in the Premier League, I would, sooner or later, have to play against Chelsea and I would have to go to Stamford Bridge. The computer has decided that I have to go now, so we go.”
Mourinho has, as one would expect, encountered a personality change over the past decade or so. There would have been a time, back in the days of knee-slides and sprinting down the touchline, where the Special One would have made this game strictly about him.
He would support – and indeed fuel – the notion of this game signalling a return of Chelsea’s emperor, the man who transformed Chelsea from a sleepy, financially prosperous but ultimately ineffective instrument to bloodthirsty warriors, returning to the ground that he once owned, seeking revenge for being dismissed so soon after delivering supporters their fourth – and his third – Premier League title.
This time around, however, Mourinho’s ego is different: the clash with Conte’s men is about points, about United announcing themselves to this year’s title race in emphatic style, and it promises to be an absorbing encounter.