"At Stamford Bridge, I don't expect anything other than people to be glad to have me back as we worked so well together. This time I will go back to a different dressing room, a different dugout and but I know normally Mourinho is lucky at Stamford Bridge."
With typical self-reverence, Jose Mourinho tried his best to make sure that the second leg of Inter Milan's tie with Chelsea will continue to be about him. You may have noticed that he rather likes it that way.
Mourinho's return to Stamford Bridge will come amid much fanfare, not least from those pundits who repeatedly say things like they miss having such "a big character in the English game" - reason being that he often does their job for them. Flicking through TV channels this week, I found myself drawn to Chelsea TV's ‘The Best of Jose’ - a series of edited-together press conferences - and it was easy to see why so many agreed with his own self-styling of being special.
Soundbite after soundbite followed, with Jose cocking a snook at his rivals with many a wry grin, gently jibing at chortling journos and, at one juncture, even betting his salary against that of one grizzled hack, who eventually backed down by only preparing to stake a day's pay. At Chelsea he is still considered a deity and, through skilful media management, his schism with Roman Abramovich has been forgotten. I await ‘The Best of Avram Grant’ with some interest.
Not that sentimentality towards Chelsea is a card being played by Mourinho himself. He has already stated that, when he leaves a post paying over €13 million a year, the next step in his masterplan is a return to England before finally taking the Portugal job in his dotage. That he expects to pick and choose his options is a given in Jose's world.
It is routinely predicted that Mourinho will one day climb aboard his white charger and take over at one of the Premier League's elite clubs. Or Manchester City. The phone-in shows and rolling news channels will be popping Champagne corks when that happens, but is his return such a cause for celebration?
Chelsea's two-year dominance of the English game between 2004-06 came at the price of rank tedium for many. They even managed to make a large part of the footballing public applaud a Manchester United title win in 2006-07. That is not to say they did not play some decent football: twin wingers in Arjen Robben and Damien Duff made for a briefly thrilling attacking force. But that flourish was short-lived as Mourinho's innate footballing conservatism took hold and Chelsea bored to victory. My colleague Alex Sharratt was moved to pen this rather amusing missive in September 2005 at a time when a series of narrow victories had placed Chelsea in an early-season lead that looked almost unassailable and would prove so.
Then there were the spats with officials and other managers, and his treatment of Swedish ref Anders Frisk was particularly unedifying. And while Sir Alex Ferguson was treated with an element of deference, perhaps with one eye placed on the Scot's job, Rafael Benitez and Arsene Wenger were often dished out a truculent brand of disdain.
Judging by reports of his behaviour in Italy, little has altered in that respect. Carlo Ancelotti, with whom he uneasily shared the San Siro last season, was described as playing Mourinho's style of football with Mourinho's players. And then there were last season's televised rows with a journalist perceived to be a Roberto Mancini admirer. All those deemed to still burn a candle for an Inter predecessor who may well be better looking and more urbane than the Portuguese were attacked as the usual siege mentality was adopted.
There can be no doubt that he delivers results - see that unbeaten home record that stretches back to February 2002, five league titles and two European trophies while in three different countries - but it could be argued that success has found him with Roman's roubles aiding progress at Chelsea, and Inter possessing little in the way of credible Serie A opposition. And Celtic fans will never forgive FC Porto for their spoiling tactics in the 2003 UEFA Cup final, with deplorable play-acting employed aplenty in Seville.
By any means necessary is the dictum by which Mourinho operates, with the caveat that he must be at the centre, and it has become a little wearing. Back in September 2007, as news of his Chelsea exit followed a dour draw with Rosenborg, there were those who felt a sense of palpable relief that that smirking mouth had been silenced for the moment. Over in Italy, Inter owner Massimo Moratti is said to be dismayed at how Inter, once the most loved of Italian clubs, are now the most unpopular due to the antics of their manager and his team, which has twice ended recent matches with nine men.
That may clear the way for an available Jose, an enticing prospect for an English club owner seeking to gain a foothold in the search for honours and Champions League income. That will come at a high price, with the rest of us forced to count the special cost of the Mourinho effect.