Jose Mourinho’s unveiling proves one thing hasn’t changed: It’s still all about himself

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Jose Mourinho has proven himself on the touchline. He’s won silverware at the highest level, and as far as tactics and player evaluation is concerned, Chelsea have made a fantastic move bringing him back to Stamford Bridge.

That was true on his first go with Roman Abramovich, and it’s true now.

One other thing hasn’t changed about him though, one thing I could absolutely do without – no matter what the subject, with Jose Mourinho, it’s always about Jose Mourinho.

The man can turn any conversation into something about himself, and everyone not involved with Chelsea is just going to have to get used to it.

Again.

I get it, it’s an unveiling, so the event is focused on Chelsea’s new man. But even there it got a little out of hand.

Jose, can you talk about how it’s similar or different the second time around at Chelsea? “I have the same nature, I’m the same person, I have the same heart, I have the same kind of emotions related to my passion for football and my job,” he said. “But I’m of course a different person. In this moment if I have to describe myself, I describe myself as a very happy person. It’s the first time I arrive in a club where I already love the club.”

Jose, could you talk about your relationship with Roman? “I read and I keep hearing that I was fired, I was sacked, we had a complete breakdown of our relationship – that was not true. Many didn’t believe that but it was a mutual agreement. We thought it was best for both of us, for me and the club.”

Jose, could you talk about how the beginning of this tenure is different than the last? “Nine years is a big difference. When I arrived here in 2004, you pushed me a lot in that first press conference to have a stronger approach, and in this moment the situation is different. You know me, you know my history in the British game, you know my history in the European game, so I don’t think I need that approach, I just want to be calm.”

There are plenty of different directions he could have taken that press conference, but he chose the most self-absorbed approach. He hardly mentioned the club. Heck, if you listened to the press conference on its own without any prior knowledge, you’d have no idea what team he’d just signed on with!

He barely mentioned the players on the club. He did once, but it was still about him. “There are still a few boys from my (first) time (at Chelsea) . It is always good to go back and see these people who gave absolutely everything to me when I was here. But it’s important to tell you – not them, because they know – that there is no privilege for them.”

Mourinho even rebranded himself. He dubbed himself ‘The Happy One.’ Seriously? Can you get more narcisstic than that? If ‘The Special One’ wasn’t bad enough, he had to not only bring it back up, but update it. Yeesh.

It’s always the same with Jose. It’s what drove him out of Real Madrid. It’s what drove him out of Chelsea the first time. Hopefully Roman Abramovich knows what he’s getting into – how can he not – because if Roman doesn’t make it totally about Jose this time around, it will finish just as the first go-around did.

However, if Abramovich does agree to put his manager before his club, his players, and himself, Mourinho could flourish, and so could Chelsea. We’ll just have to deal with the arrogance and self-absorption that’s been so refreshing to be without the last 6 years. Alas, it’s returned to London and the Premier League.

“Emotional” Mertesacker: Send Wenger off “with a cup”

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Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has made 220 appearances for the club, all with one man in charge of the Gunners: Arsene Wenger.

[ MORE: The latest Arsene Wenger news ]

Mertesacker has won three FA Cups with Wenger, and he took up his pen — or laptop — for Sunday’s Matchday program.

The 33-year-old German says it’s down to Arsenal’s players to send off Wenger right: With two more successful rounds in the UEFA Europa League against Atletico Madrid and either Red Bull Salzburg or Marseille. From the BBC:

“We were only informed on Friday about the manager’s decision to step down at the end of the season, so it’s still quite emotional,” Mertesacker said.

“He’s been the major figure of this club for more than 20 years. He’s been so impressive for me and he has trusted me so much throughout my career, in bringing me here and making me captain even when I was injured. He also gave me a future role here at the club so I am very grateful and humbled for the opportunity he gave to me.

“There’s now an emphasis on us doing it for him too. We want to give him the send-off he deserves: with a cup.”

The French legend to end his time at Arsenal against Marseille would be delightful, don’t you think?

Watch Live: Arsenal-West Ham, Stoke-Burnley

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The Premier League has a pair of 8:30 a.m. ET Sunday kickoffs for us this morning, including one of Arsene Wenger‘s final matches at Arsenal.

There’s a London Derby between Arsenal and West Ham United at the Emirates Stadium, as the Gunners look to stay fresh for Atletico Madrid and the Hammers aim to firm up their Premier League status for next season (Watch live at 8:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

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Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal, Elneny, Xhaka, Ramsey, Iwobi, Welbeck, Lacazette. Subs: Macey, Mertesacker, Holding, Chambers, Maitland-Niles, Nelson. Aubameyang.

West Ham United: Hart, Zabaleta, Ogbonna, Rice, Cresswell, Masuaku, Kouyate, Noble, Fernandes, Mario, Arnautovic. Subs: Adrian, Cullen, Evra, Lanzini, Hugill, Carroll, Chicharito.


Stoke City’s climb out of the relegation zone will have to overcome Burnley’s desires for a Top Six place, as the Clarets can pass sixth place Arsenal with a win and a Gunners loss to West Ham (Watch live at 8:30 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

LINEUPS

Stoke City: Butland; Johnson, Shawcross, M.Indi, Pieters; Bauer, Allen, Badou, Shaqiri; Crouch, Diouf. Subs: Haugaard, Zouma, Ireland, Cameron, Fletcher, Ramadan, Campbell.

Burnley: Pope, Lowton, Long, Tarkowski, Ward, Lennon, Cork, Westwood, Gudmundsson, Wood, Barnes. Subs: Heaton, Taylor, Marney, Vokes, Hendrick, Walters, Bardsley.

Ligue 1: Depay’s goal streak hits 5 games; Lyon reeling in Monaco

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MONACO (AP) Lyon won at Dijon 5-2 and moved within one point of second-place Monaco in the French league on Friday.

Lyon’s sixth straight league win kept them level on points with fourth-place Marseille.

The team finishing second qualifies automatically for next season’s Champions League, while the team in third goes into the playoffs. After this weekend, there will be four rounds remaining.

Memphis Depay has scored or created 12 of Lyon’s 16 last goals.

The Netherlands forward opened the scoring in the fourth minute with a close-range volley, and set up the fourth goal for winger Bertrand Traore in the 77th.

Depay almost scored another, just failing to reach right back Rafael‘s cross in the 50th. Midfielder Houssem Aouar followed up and his strike was turned into his own net by defender Valentin Rosier.

Lyon’s other goals came from forwards Nabil Fekir in the 53rd and Maxwell Cornet in the 82nd.


MONACO (AP) — After losing the French title last weekend, Monaco is in danger of throwing away second place after losing at Guingamp 3-1 on Saturday.

The defeat leaves Monaco just one point ahead of Lyon and Marseille as the three sides chase an automatic place in the Champions League with four games left.

Monaco was thrashed by champion Paris Saint-Germain 7-1 last Sunday and the defense leaked easily again, albeit with a little help from one of its defenders.

A makeshift Monaco fell behind midway through the first half after Brazilian defender Jemerson was given a red card for stopping a shot on the line. He was sent off and veteran forward Jimmy Briand netted from the penalty spot for mid-table Guingamp.

Monaco capitulated and trailed 3-0 after 47 minutes. Defender Almamy Toure replied in vain with a consolation goal midway through the second half.


Marseille crushed Lille 5-1 to join Lyon on 69 points. Lyon, which won at Dijon 5-2 on Friday for a sixth straight win, has a better goal difference.

Marseille also has the Europa League and plays the first leg of its semifinal at home to Austrian side Salzburg next Thursday. But Lyon has only Ligue 1 to think about.

Still, Marseille is also brimming with confidence these days, especially winger Florian Thauvin.

He scored twice against Lille to extend his career-best league tally to 19. Greece striker Kostas Mitroglou also netted twice, and forward Lucas Ocampos completed the rout against 19th-place Lille.

In other matches: Amiens won against Strasbourg 3-1; struggling Toulouse beat Angers 2-0, and last-place Metz drew at home to Caen 1-1.

PSG is at Bordeaux on Sunday. Also, Nice is at home to Montpellier, and Saint-Etienne takes on Troyes.

UEFA says Europa League trophy not damaged after being stolen

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NYON, Switzerland (AP) UEFA says the Europa League trophy was not damaged after being stolen in Mexico.

The silverware was at a promotional event in the central city of Leon when it was reported by authorities to have been taken from a vehicle.

The theft came ahead of the semifinals of Europe’s second-tier club competition.

UEFA says the “Europa League trophy was in Mexico for a partner event and got briefly stolen. It was quickly recovered and has suffered no damages.”

In the semifinal first legs next week, Arsenal plays Atletico Madrid and Marseille takes on Salzburg.