Jose Mourinho has found himself in the unusual position of being out-gunned in the transfer market, but he believes his decision to go back to basics will prove decisive in the race for the Premiership.
While Manchester United and Liverpool spent big money to upgrade their squads during the close season, Mourinho's only major outlay was the ?13 million (US$26.3 million) paid to Lyon for Florent Malouda.
The France winger is a significant arrival though because he has a key role to play as Mourinho returns to the 4-3-3 formation that served him so well in his first two seasons at Stamford Bridge.
The formation, which calls for two wingers to play either side of a central striker, was ditched last year to accommodate Andriy Shevchenko and Michael Ballack.
But both players failed to live up to their illustrious reputations, forcing Mourinho into a rethink. He has opted to return to his old gameplan and will use Malouda and Joe Cole to complement Didier Drogba.
It was Drogba's herculean efforts that dragged Chelsea almost single-handedly to within touching distance of an unprecedented quadruple.
The Ivory Coast striker scored 33 times, including winners in the FA and League Cup finals, but Mourinho knows he needs more help if Chelsea are to wrestle the title back from United.
"Our rivals have strengthened but so have we," Mourinho said. "I don't think it's going to be who spends the most money who wins the league. That has never been the case."
"It's always been who has the fighting spirit, togetherness and which of the big players had the better season. Cristiano Ronaldo had a good season last year and was the main reason United won the league," he said.
"This year we need two or three important players in attack to come up with the goods and that's what we'll be trying to do," Mourinho said.
With wingers back in vogue in west London, Real Madrid's attempts to lure Arjen Robben to the Bernabeu are unwanted. But, despite clearly trying to unsettle the Dutchman, the Spanish champions have yet to feel the newly mellow Mourinho's wrath.
He is determined to be more loveable this season after a combustible campaign that included rows with owner Roman Abramovich, Rafa Benitez and even the Reading Ambulance service.
Not even the presence of Avram Grant, the club's newly installed director of soccer, has managed to ruffle Mourinho. Grant has arrived from Portsmouth at the behest of Abramovich, who believes the Israeli can get the best out of Shevchenko.
When his appointment was first mooted last season, Mourinho made it clear he was unhappy with the perceived attempt to interfere with his staff.
But now the manager claims Grant's role has been defined to his satisfaction. That may well have been the result of a meeting earlier in the summer.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker found himself in need of an assist to help the state fight the COVID-19 pandemic. He called on the New England Patriots. One of the team’s private airplanes on Thursday evening landed in Boston after returning from China carrying more than 1 million masks critical to healthcare providers fighting to control the spread of the coronavirus. Members of the Massachusetts National Guard met the airplane and offloaded the containers of masks onto waiting trucks for transport to warehouses for distribution. Baker secured the N95 masks from Chinese manufacturers, but had no way of getting them to the US. He
WAIT AND SEE: The estimated cost of postponement started at US$2 billion and has kept rising, but the IOC has yet to say whether it would help pay for the extra expenses Postponing the Tokyo Olympics to next year would make the event more costly for all parties, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) acknowledged on Thursday, although it offered few details on what the final bill might be. Four directors of the Olympic body held a conference call three days after Tokyo’s new dates were finalized, with the Games pushed back to July 23 to Aug. 8 next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the new dates cleared up any uncertainty about the event’s future, there are still plenty of question marks as the committee begins to work with Tokyo organizers and the
MEDIA RUMORS? With no pay agreement secured and players’ representatives calling for more financial information ahead of talks, the sport had another week of bad press Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle could be sacked in a matter of days, media reported yesterday, as the embattled governing body struggles to deal with a financial crisis compounded by a shutdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Castle this week took a 50 percent pay cut and laid off 75 percent of Rugby Australia (RA) staff members, saying that the body would face losses of up to A$120 million (US$71.95 million) if no more rugby was played this year. With no pay agreement secured with the players and their representatives calling on RA to provide more financial information ahead of negotiations, the
OLYMPICS Delay pushes rower to retire British rowing gold medalist Tom Ransley on Friday announced his retirement after deciding that the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games to next year was a step too far. The 34-year-old was part of the men’s eight who won gold in the 2016 Rio Olympics and also a bronze in the 2012 London Games. “I have used up everything I had and I know that to get myself in the necessary condition to compete for a seat in 2021 is a step too far,” he told the BBC. The years of early starts, of three training