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The Pressure Gauge: Mourinho back where it all began as Manchester United face Chelsea test

13:00 IST 19/10/2018
Jose Mourinho Manchester United 061020118
The Portuguese began his glittering Premier League career with victory over United at Stamford Bridge but returns under different circumstances

On Saturday Jose Mourinho will find himself back where it all began.

On August 15, 2004, the Portuguese kicked off his Premier League career with a 1-0 victory over Manchester United as Chelsea manager.

The fresh-faced, charismatic Portuguese was held aloft as the future, the poster-boy of a new school of young managers set to revolutionise the game. He was the Special One.

Tomorrow lunchtime, Mourinho returns to the scene – and does so sitting in the opposite dugout, in very different circumstances.

Deep into what previous Chelsea manager and erstwhile nemesis Antonio Conte labelled ‘The Mourinho Season’, United arrive at Stamford Bridge following a start to the campaign that has shown many of the hallmarks of the now customary difficult third season in charge for the three-time EPL winner.

An increasingly fractious atmosphere has engulfed Old Trafford as Mourinho has endured fall-outs with star players Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial.

United sit down in eighth with just 13 points after eight games and required a dramatic comeback from 2-0 down to see them past second-bottom Newcastle at Old Trafford last time out.

Seven points off joint leaders Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea going into the weekend, Mourinho’s Red Devils need will hope to take the momentum of that remarkable reverse down to London.

But they have lost eight of their last 13 Premier League games in the capital (W4 D1) – as many as they’d lost in their previous 39 visits to the capital (W18 D13 L8).

Moreover, in all competitions, Man Utd haven’t won at Stamford Bridge since Sir Alex Ferguson retired at the end of the 2012-13 season (P6 W0 D1 L5), losing the last three trips by an aggregate score of 0-6.

They have lost more Premier League games against Chelsea than against any other side (18) and Mourinho has lost four of his last five away matches in all competitions against sides he’s formerly managed, including all three at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea as Man Utd manager.

Chelsea, meanwhile, have blossomed under new boss Maurizio Sarri and look set to join Liverpool and City in a proper title race.

The Blues have lost just one of their last 16 home Premier League games against Manchester United (W10 D5 L1), a 2-3 defeat in October 2012. 

And victory on Saturday would lay down a marker - they are out to remain unbeaten in their first nine games to a Premier League season for the third time, also doing so in their title winning seasons of 2005-06 and 2014-15.

The stakes are high. The pressure is on.

The Goal Pressure Index is presented by Sure, Official Partner of Chelsea FC, Everton FC and Manchester City FC. Join the conversation on Twitter @Sure.