I haven't seen any video from inside the event itself, not even the traditional 30-second snippet from Chelsea TV, so for now, we only have two written reports to go on about Jose Mourinho's "surprise" appearance at the Chelsea Annual Lunch. As if the manager guesting at the £150-plate event, now in its 20th year, should be a surprise. But, apparently it was, as was the frank way in which he addressed the crowd and talked briefly about the club's struggles this season.
"Thank you for the support. You need your friends in the bad moments, and this season not just Chelsea fans, but also the owner and the board, are showing they are with me in a difficult moment. The fans' support means everything. I know it's easy to be loved when things go well, it's more difficult to be respected when things are going wrong but I really believe much better days are going to come."
"I know in this Chelsea house people don't forget. Players are legends forever, and players who come here to play against Chelsea when they were Chelsea players before get great receptions. It was the same when I came here to play Chelsea with Inter. That's phenomenal, that defines the culture, but I like to be judged for my work now. I want to win matches and give you what you deserve and what the owner deserves."
-Jose Mourinho; source: Chelsea FC
Mourinho has seemingly changed his tact in recent weeks, shying away from rants and silly excuses and other such controversial statements to embracing and acknowledging the struggle and rebuilding slowly and surely from the ground level. He knows that he's lost some of the trust with the fans since our league triumph last spring, but he wants nothing more than to repay our faith.
"I understand that people don't believe me because results are not good and people try to find reasons behind the bad results."
"I always say that there is a huge contradiction between what we are as a group - me, the players, the staff - and what we do and the results we are having. The players deserve much more than what they are getting."
-Jose Mourinho; source: Mail
Results have improved since the start of November, despite the shock 1-0 losses at Stoke and at home to Bournemouth. A win on Monday, against leaders Leicester City would go a long way towards ensuring a bit cheer in Chelsea-land around the festive period.