Arsenal hero Ian Wright believes Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea are the only team to rival the Arsenal Invincibles’ attractive brand of football – though he thinks the Blues in Mourinho’s second stint played better than the team in his first.
Mourinho joins Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger as the only managers to win three or more Premier League titles.
The first of those were won in back-to-back campaigns in 2004-05 and 2005-06 as the Portuguese had an instant, and major, impact at Chelsea.
Mourinho would go on to be sacked in September 2007 but would return to Stamford Bridge six years later for another two-and-a-half season stint.
And he would take Chelsea to a third title under his leadership in 2014-15, when the west London outfit finished eight points clear of Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City.
While Mourinho has often been criticised for his style of play, which is perceived as negative, Wright believes his second Chelsea side are the closest he’s seen to the Arsenal’s iconic Invincibles team of 2003-04.
That year, the Gunners went an entire campaign without defeat, winning 26 games and drawing 12, as Wenger enjoyed his third top-flight triumph with the club.
They are widely viewed as one of the greatest Premier League teams of all time and may never have their 49-game unbeaten record matched.
“I believe when I watch the Chelsea team, especially in his second tenure there, for half a season that was the best football I’ve seen for many, many years, rivalling the Invincibles of Arsenal,” Wright said on a Match of the Day podcast while offering his assessment of the best 10 managers the league has ever seen.
Wright named Ferguson as the number one, with Wenger second and Mourinho in third.
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But Wright added that the modern-day Mourinho, currently in charge of Tottenham, appears to have “lost” his aura.
He continued: “But then you look at his time at Manchester United and what’s happened, it’s almost like a demise, he’s constantly moaning, he’s miserable, it’s always someone else’s fault.
“You just feel like he’s when he’s not involved in football, he looks somebody that’s happy. As soon as he gets back in, his face goes solemn, he’s gone again.
“He’s lost that vibe. He’s lost something. Something doesn’t seem to be there.”
Alan Shearer added: “Jose’s record is just incredible.
“320-odd games, 62 per cent win ratio, three-time Premier League champion, FA Cup winner, League Cup.
“When he first came in he had this arrogance that I think people loved and enjoyed in terms of he was this cheeky chappy who had incredible belief in his ability and rightly so.
“He won the league in the first two years he was at Chelsea the first time and he’s slightly changed over the years.”
Wright spent seven years at Arsenal, including the first two of Arsene Wenger’s 22-year reign.
Asked about the iconic Frenchman, the former England striker said: “I remember when he did his first interview and he walks in and it’s the first time anybody’s ever seen him, especially any of us.
“He had these massive glasses on, this oversized jacket – he literally looked like a professor, a teacher, somebody that should’ve been doing a seminar at a university or something.
“And when he came in he explained to us what he was going to try and do – change the diet, change the training regime, he wants people to rest more.
“He was saying to us, ‘We want you to drink more water, we want you to chew your food more.’ These are the things.
“We used to have vitamin injections directly into our arm – it’s not suspect!
“It was basically stuff everyone knows today, like vitamin C, B12, omega 3. He was so far ahead of his time.
“Before he came, we were eating anything we wanted, still eating pies and chips.
“Arsene took you to a place where you had to be literally the best you could be, and that’s what he did with us.”
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