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Mourinho on the transition of players, experience, and leadership

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We don't refer to the past when showing what we've done; our generation gap means the war is never won; the past is in your head, the future's in our hands!

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Barring major catastrophe, Chelsea are about to wrap up the Premier League title.  It will be the club's fifth top flight success.  Three of those will have come under Jose Mourinho, separated by almost a full decade.  Almost a full generation of players have come and gone, save for a few stalwarts.

"It's nice to belong to two different generations. The same as me. It's nice to belong to the history of a club in different moments. If you manage to be champions, it's very nice for these older guys."

-Jose Mourinho; source: Sky

Who are these older guys?  Terry, Cech, and Drogba, of course.  But also Mikel, who's been around seemingly forever yet still just turned 28 (last week, in fact).  Drogba left and came back and may leave again -- "I think it belongs to him: what he feels, what he thinks," says Mourinho.  Frank Lampard, "one of the five most important players in the history of Chelsea," has gone.  So has Ashley Cole who didn't quite warrant a specific mention.

Back when Andre Villas-Boas was around, one of the major themes we kept coming back to was the Old Guard vs. the New Guard.  AVB failed rather spectacularly to manage that transition, Mourinho has not.  Of course, he basically made the Old Guard into what they were, so it's only fitting that he now does the same for the New Guard.

"[We lose players] .... but life goes on. You have to think about the future and to build."

"(Branislav) Ivanovic is experienced. (Cesar) Azpilicueta gets experience. (Eden) Hazard is here for three years.  (Nemanja) Matic gets experience. The years are for everyone, not just for them. Ruben Loftus-Cheek is 18 and he just arrived. In five years' time he will be 23, so I see this as a natural process."

-Jose Mourinho; source: Sky

As long as we have The Special One to lead us, we're probably in good hands.

"Chelsea leadership is my leadership. For good and for bad. It's not the players' leadership."

-Jose Mourinho; source: Mirror

Azpilicueta.  Hazard.  Matic.  Loftus-Cheek even?  Throw in an obvious name like Courtois as well.  There's your budding New Guard right there.