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Damien Duff: For me Mourinho will always be the No 1, Chelsea must stick with him

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"Jose's become Mr Chelsea."

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There isn't anything too outrageous in Damien Duff's interview with Sam Wallace of the Telegraph that would differentiate the former Chelsea man's words of support for his ex-boss now under pressure at Chelsea from just about any other former player's or other managers' words of support.

But the winger and his no.11 shirt remain a personal favorite of mine for one reason or another, so let's see what he has to say.

"For me he [Mourinho] will always be the No 1. It's time to stick with him. There is talk of getting rid and replacing him. I know in the past at Chelsea that if a manager has struggled he has been out the door but Mourinho can build a dynasty. I would love to see him there in 10 years' time."

Duff is clearly still a huge fan of Mourinho, as also evidenced by the little anecdote he tells.

"Two years ago at Stamford Bridge I was coming out into the tunnel and he [Mourinho] saw me and gave me a hug and a kiss. He said a couple of words in my ear and I went out there and had probably the best half of football I had all season. And he's not even my manager."

"At Chelsea it was his sheer presence. He has an amazing way with words. Sometimes it was just a look or a wink and you feel like you're ready. He's the kind of guy who doesn't have to say anything - it's a look or a pat on the back. At the same time he is a fiery character. He just says it how it is. But he gets the best out of you."

So that's all nice and well, though Duff is speaking just from past, personal experiences.  He's off somewhere in Ireland seeing out his final days as a professional footballer; he probably has no inside knowledge of Chelsea nowadays and probably a similar amount of influence on the club's decisions as well.

But what is interesting is that Duff wouldn't necessarily be the first person one would think of when it comes to Mourinho's zealots.  After all, the winger only spent two years with The Special One, and after winning back-to-back titles, he went the same route that many other fan favorites would follow in later seasons, he asked to leave to look for more playing time!  And just like Mourinho and Chelsea would later grant such requests to the likes of Juan Mata, André Schürrle, David Luiz, etc, we granted the then 27-year-old Duff (and Newcastle United) a cut-rate deal of £5m.  Consistency!

From winning trophies to seeing both Newcastle and Fulham get relegated in his final season at each club, Duff has experienced just about everything there is to experience in the professional game.  He even got to contest a major European cup final with Fulham back in 2010, when they (and later Chelsea backup goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer) lost to Diego Forlan and Sergio Aguero's Atletico Madrid in the Europa League final.

After spending a short time in Australia's A-League, he's playing for Shamrock Rovers and donating his wages to charity.  What a man, that Damien Duff!

"Jose's become Mr Chelsea. I know Roman Abramovich has funded it but without Mourinho he wouldn't have done it in those early years."

Amen.