The making of Jose Mourinho's first Chelsea side

In the last couple of decades, we have seen how a lot of important and rich people from different parts of the world (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Russia, China, USA, among many others) have come to football with the intention of achieving sporting (and economic) success, in many cases without a project or proper planning, which leads them to not reach the objectives set and many times to abandon the idea a few years down the line.

On the opposite side of the road, there are those few success stories where we could single out one above the rest, which is Roman Abramovich's Chelsea FC. However, this was not something casual or fortuitous as there was a group of protagonists who laid the foundation for the English club and allowed it to grow exponentially, more specifically that first great Chelsea side coached by Jose Mourinho from 2004 to 2007, which would be the reference of what the institution would be in the following years.

How Mourinho's first Chelsea side came to be? We'll tell you everything you need to know in this article.

Roman Abramovich (owner)

Roman Abramovich
The Russian seemed like an eccentric millionaire who only saw the London club as one more investment, but, over the years, his commitment of turning Chelsea into a European powerhouse was clearly seen, which he achieved, since the club is currently one of the most important in the world, which differs from when he bought the "Blues" in 2003, when they were in a delicate economic situation.

Peter Kenyon (chief executive)

In 2003, when Abramovich bought Chelsea, he made a very important move but it was somewhat overshadowed by the important signings and all the hype around the purchase.

That move was the hiring of Peter Kenyon as chief executive of the club. Kenyon came from working at Manchester United and being an important piece in the management of the transfers of the Red Devils and especially known for being the one who promoted the most expensive and renowned signings in the club that at that time was trained by Sir Alex Ferguson. That managerial profile fit perfectly with the idea that the Russian had for the London club.

Jose Mourinho (manager)

Although today he is known worldwide, in 2004, when he was hired by Chelsea, Mourinho was only the coach of the FC Porto that managed to lift the UEFA Champions League, something that is undoubtedly one of the most amazing feats of the last couple of decades in European football. In spite of that, he was not someone so well known or who had a lot of references in England, something that would change in a short time.

Mourinho usually forms teams that are solid, not necessarily defensive, but that give the rival few spaces and that have an offensive power that is effective enough to materialize the scoring chances that they may have during the matches. His Chelsea team, from 2004 to 2007, was the best representation of that idea, even above "his" Inter or Real Madrid. The Portuguese coach also had a very complete staff such as Rui Faria, Silvino Louro, Steve Clarke and André Villas-Boas.

Petr Cech
Petr Cech


Despite the arrival of Abramovich and his many new signings, in the Russian's first season as owner of Chelsea (2003-04), manager Claudio Ranieri did not see the need to take off Carlo Cudicini from the starting role in view of the Italian's good performances. However, for the following season, the club secured the services of Petr Cech from Rennes, this being one of the best signings in the club's history.

In that first season as a "Blue", Cech was the Premier League's goalkeeper of the year with the fewest goals (he barely conceded 15 goals), he kept a clean sheet in 25 games and had a record 10 consecutive games without conceding a goal. All this was the result of the team's defensive work but also of the Czech's own ability, which sometimes gave the impression of being an insurmountable wall.


The defensive line was made up of Paulo Ferreira as a right back who arrived from Porto along with Mourinho and whose best qualities were in marking and not so much the attacking side of things, although for this, the Portuguese manager had Glen Johnson as a backup. The left-back was Wayne Bridge, a very good player who managed both aspects of the game quite well but who suffered a serious injury during the season, forcing Mourinho to turn to William Gallas to play in that position, a regular centre-back.

In the center of the defense, there was the captain and Chelsea academy product, John Terry, along with the Portuguese defender Ricardo Carvalho who arrived that season from Porto, to form one of the best pairs of defenders in the history of the Premier League.


The Frenchman Claude Makélélé was the most defensive-minded midfielder, who was in charge of compensating the balance in the team, which made him a key player for Mourinho. He used to play with Tiago next to him, a Portuguese midfielder known from the Primeira Liga for the "Special One" since he played for SL Benfica. Tiago had a mixed role since he could bomb forard as another passing alternative while on the defensive side of things he was Makélélé's complement.

The final piece of the midfield was completed by Frank Lampard, who was the most offensive-minded since he took advantage of his very good shooting abilities and good vision of the game. Lampard scored 60 goals in Mourinho's first three seasons as Chelsea manager, going on to be named Premier League player of the season in 2004-05.


Arjen Robben played on the right side of the attack, who had been signed that same season from PSV in the Netherlands, although his injury problems prevented him from being a starter throughout the season, so Damien Duff also had an important role, although his inclusion meant changing the usual attacking player from the left, Joe Cole, to the right flank.

Didier Drogba
Didier Drogba
Finally, as a focal reference for the team's attack in the middle was Didier Drogba, the Ivorian who was signed that same season was the undisputed starter for Mourinho, who found in the former Marseille player a player who perfectly adapted to his style. Drogba would score 65 goals between 2004 and 2007.

In recent years, Guardiola's Barcelona, Zidane's Real Madrid side that won three Champions Leagues in a row or Ancelotti's AC Milan are usually remembered and this Chelsea team is usually left a little to the side, which is unfair considering that it was a record team in the Premier League that very few sides could score against, let alone defeat.
Kelvin Tingling knows most things about football and also likes to write about it. Kelvin lives in Buenos Aires and his favorite team is Boca Juniors.