Ah, there you are Jose. We wondered where you had got to. Welcome back.
He may have been lost to the Premier League for a while, but Jose Mourinho never really went away. Time to reflect can be good for cleansing the soul, but time to ponder the unruly ramifications of his Real Madrid departure, and some of the ill feeling that he left in his slipstream, has thankfully not dispelled his tendency to displease. Arrogant, and artful. 'The Special One', and the scheming one.
A second home game overcoming a stubborn Aston Villa side 2-1 last night after Sunday's 2-0 win over Hull City Tigers provided him with a first chance to aggravate this season. He joyously drunk in the moment. Who needs a holistic approach when you have Jose.
Full of tactics in the dressing room, and ring craft in the press conference room. Not so much a Portuguese Man o'War, as a man thriving at the heart of a war of words. A stylish, waltzing one-man drama of a coach who continues to overshadow the teams he coaches.
If Chelsea supporters thought they were getting a watered-down version, a more mature vision of the Jose who left six years ago, they need only have witnessed the touchline duel with the Villa manager Paul Lambert to realise that a leopard never changes its spots. Mourinho just needed a few weeks to embed himself back into life on the old King's Road.
During his unveiling last month, there were fears his experiences in the Spanish capital had dismantled a bit of the feisty spirit of old from this Champions League-winning coach.
He cut quite a solemn figure when he officially returned to Chelsea at the outset of July, but it turns out he had us all fooled. All that stuff about being 'the Happy One' rather than 'the Special One' with a slightly hangdog look was all one big smokescreen. Only two games into the new season, Chelsea may be toiling for true form, but he is back in the old routine.
Mourinho is not interested in being chummy. He says what he thinks. Lambert let Mourinho know what he felt about a few key decisions during the match. Mourinho responded afterwards.
"They gave us a very difficult match," said Mourinho. "I'm not saying they play a lot because they don't play a lot. But with what they do, they create difficulties for the opponents."
The last time these two came together in such a febrile atmosphere was when Lambert - a Champions League-winning midfielder with Borussia Dortmund - represented Martin O'Neill's Celtic against Mourinho's Porto in the UEFA Cup final in Seville a decade ago. It was the first time Mourinho registered on the conscience of the British public after a throbbing sort of match that Porto won 3-2 after extra-time.
Little did we know back then what was to come. Or that 10 years later, Lambert would be in the firing line as a manager, sampling brickbats O'Neill, Sir Alex Ferguson, Pep Guardiola and Arsene Wenger have found commonplace amid the seasonal churn.
"My view is that Paul (Lambert) reminds me of me when I was his age," said Mourinho. "(When) he is on the bench, he complains about every decision. That is exactly how I was 10 years ago. He needs time, like I needed time, to have some more maturity and complain with some decisions. He is a young manager, and very intelligent, because he plays very well adapted to the qualities of these players. I wish him well. I like him."
The only problem with Mourinho's sentiments is they are not strictly true. Lambert was not complaining unduly. He was correct about the two decisions that cost his side dearly, two major calls that the referee Kevin Friend botched.
"We have been done by two big decisions that were wrong," he said.
Branislav Ivanovic was booked after catching Christian Benteke with an elbow on his head around the 69th minute. He was fortunate to remain on the park, but added insult to injury when he adorned the net with a header moments later from a Frank Lampard free-kick to condemn Villa to a defeat that was hardly merited.
John Terry was clearly guilty of handling a Gabriel Agbonlahor header in the penalty area in injury time, no different from Daniel Agger's offence in Liverpool's match with Stoke City on Saturday that encouraged the award of a penalty. But again the referee was more of a friend to Mourinho, who saw matters differently.
"This is English football, so I think a yellow card is enough in a situation where two players (Ivanovic and Benteke), who for 90 minutes, had a fantastic physical duel," said Mourinho.
"He (Lambert) says it is a penalty? I say it is a free-kick against Aston Villa as there is a player who pushes John (Terry)."
Mourinho's side face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Monday night. That should be another fascinating duel with another Scot in David Moyes, but it is at times like last night that probably illustrate why Sir Bobby Charlton almost suffered spontaneous human combustion about the prospect of Mourinho running United.
"He’s no shrinking violet," commented Lambert.
Chelsea intend to continue their pursuit of Wayne Rooney only after Monday’s match due to "ethical" reasons. If Jose Mourinho manages to sign Rooney before the end of the transfer window, the coach will remain the centre of attention. Just because he is.
Mourinho is one of the few coaches to have been voted better looking than his players. There is no doubting his enchantment. Grown men in the British media are obsessed with him because he can relied upon to provide as much entertainment as his players.
His duel with Lambert was as engrossing as the match. There will be surely more where that comes from.
"I have my notebook and voice, but Paul looks like he wants to be coach, manager and referee,” he said.
Barcelona vice-president Carles Vilarrubi had warned about such episodes. "It is not good for English football. Chelsea maybe think they had a good time from him in the past, but you will see the real Mourinho now.”
We did see it. And this onlooker wants Mour. Most of us do. He will enliven a dismal British winter with his personality. It is glorious news. Whether or not you like him as a character, he has a touch of the theatre about him.
Welcome back to the front line, Jose. English football may have been lost without Mourinho, but he never really went away.