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.

Championship Focus: Bluebirds flying, Villa second-last

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The wild 46-game slate that is the Football League Championship is already howling, with all 24 teams three matches deep into their campaigns toward Premier League promotion (or avoiding relegation to League One).

The three clubs relegated from the Premier League last season all sit within the Top 8 after three match days. Sunderland is unbeaten with a win and two draws, while Hull City is 1-1-1.

[ MORE: Barcelona falls to Real… again ]

Middlesbrough has two wins from three matches, three points behind three sides who’ve started a perfect 3-0.

Wolves and Ipswich Town are two of the three, and Cardiff City leads the way. Owner Vincent Tan has seen his club score six goals without conceding once in defeats of Burton Albion, Aston Villa, and Sheffield United.

Burton is 0-3, while Steve Bruce‘s Villa is just one point better and sits 23rd.

As for individual superlatives, Bristol City’s Bobby Reid has four goals to lead the league while familiar names Lewis Grabban (Sunderland) and Abel Hernandez (Hull City) are among a quartet of players to score thrice.

Meanwhile, PL transfer target Jota of Brentford continues to impress with three assists through three matches. Will he remain in the second tier by the close of the transfer window?

MLS Snapshot: Montreal Impact 3-0 Chicago Fire

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The game in 100 words (or less)Ignacio Piatti is very good at soccer, and Chicago backstop Matt Lampson is going to see him deep into his dreams. Piatti beat Lampson up close on a turnover and then, with Montreal ahead 2-0 off a PK, the Argentine curled a surprise shot from distance around the keeper. Game, set, match, and it wasn’t even halftime. The loss keeps Chicago from using its match-in-hand to catch second place New York City FC, while the three points move Montreal to within two points of the East’s final playoff position.

Three moments that mattered

6′ — Piatti starts the party — Gifted a chance with the keeper by a sloppy missed clearing attempt, the Argentine deftly pops the ball over Fire keeper Matt Lampson.

36′ — Lampson hurts his cause — Chicago’s backstop wasn’t at fault on the opening goal, but he was for the second. After chopping down Matteo Mancosu in the box, Lampson guessed wrong on the striker’s penalty kick and the Fire went down 2-0.

38′ — It’s not your night, Lamps — Pretty sure you can anyone named Lampson, Lamps. Anyway, this time it was one of MLS’ top newcomers who set up Piatti for a goal. “Nacho” has his 12th of the season thanks to Blerim Dzemaili, and my goodness did Piatti do well here.

Man of the Match: Piatti.

Forbes ranks the top supporters in Major League Soccer

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Forbes claims the shared honor will give two Cascadia Cup rivals one less thing to argue about, but we completely disagree.

The celebrated magazine says their metrics show the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders tied for the honor of who has the best fans in Major League Soccer.

The post says the determination was made through four factors: attendance, local TV ratings, merchandise sales, and social media followers on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Attendance was weighted heaviest, which certainly gives Atlanta United hope to go charging up the rankings in the future. For now, the “Five Stripes” are not included in the list.

The Galaxy finish third in the rankings, while the sixth-place New York Red Bulls edge New York City FC by one spot.

For the report and full explanation, head here.

Europa League preview: Everton, Milan, Marseille take next steps

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The UEFA Europa League playoff round takes full flight Thursday, a day after Utrecht struck a blow for the Eredivisie with a 1-0 win over Zenit Saint-Petersburg in a Wednesday first leg.

Premier League participants Everton will be seeking a result at home against Hajduk Split, the third-place team from Croatia’s top flight.

Gylfi Sigurdsson passed his medical at Goodison Park but will not be available for Everton on Thursday.

[ MORE: Barcelona falls to Real… again ]

As for the match, manager Ronald Koeman knows the Thursday matchdays for the UEL will try his club’s endurance and depth. From EvertonFC.com:

“We know English teams have some problems. I think it is more mental than physical because if you play in the Champions League – so Wednesday and Saturday – you have the same amount of days to recover. I try to put out the strongest team to start the game. That will take into account the tactical aspects of each game. That will mean different players start and different options in terms of substitutions.”

Captained by Zoran Nizic and managed by Joan Carrillo, Hajduk has a young star in the making in the form of 19-year-old attacking midfielder Nikola Vlasic, but Everton is heavily favored at home with Hajduk given 12:1 odds by bookmakers.

[ MORE: Barca GM says Coutinho, Dembele “close” ]

Those numbers are a relative sure thing compared to AC Milan’s visitors. Macedonia club Shkendija are a 33:1 underdog for its trip to Italy.

Elsewhere, Slovenian side Domzale is a longshot at home to visiting Marseille.

Speaking of bookmakers, Arsenal won’t enter the competition until the group stage but is considered the favorite to win the UEL by a hair over Milan. Everton, Villarreal, and Athletic Bilbao are level with third-best odds.

UEFA Europa League playoff first legs
Utrecht 1-0 Zenit — Weds.
BATE Borisov vs. Oleksandriya — 1 p.m. ET Thursday
Apollon Limassol vs. Midtjylland — 1 p.m.
Krasnodar vs. Red Star Belgrade — 1 p.m.
Dinamo Zagreb vs. Skenderbeu — 1 p.m.
FH vs. Braga — 1:45 p.m. ET Thursday
PAOK vs. Ostersund — 2 p.m. ET Thursday
Vardar vs. Fenerbahce — 2 p.m.
Plzen vs. AEK Lamaca — 2:15 p.m. ET Thursday
Altach vs. Maccabi Tel-Aviv — 2:30 p.m. ET Thursday
Ludogorets Razgrad vs. Suduva — 2:30 p.m.
Panathinaikos vs. Athletic Bilbao — 2:30 p.m.
Domzale vs. Marseille — 2:45 p.m. ET Thursday
Osijek vs. Austria Wien — 2:45 p.m.
Viitorul vs. Red Bull Salzburg — 2:45 p.m.
Ajax vs. Rosenborg — 2:45 p.m.
Legia Warsaw vs. Sheriff — 2:45 p.m.
AC Milan vs. Shkendija — 2:45 p.m.
Club Brugge vs. AEK — 2:45 p.m.
Partizan vs. Videoton — 3 p.m. ET Thursday
Everton vs. Hajduk Split — 3:05 p.m. ET Thursday
Maritimo vs. Dynamo Kyiv — 3:30 p.m. ET Thursday