Chelsea supporters taunted Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho with chants of “You’re not special anymore!” as his Stamford Bridge return yielded a humiliating 4-0 defeat on Sunday.
With seven major titles across two spells, Mourinho is Chelsea’s most successful ever manager, but his return to his old stomping ground ended in one of the most chastening results of his career.
Pedro Rodriguez opened the scoring after just 30 seconds and Chelsea did not look back, Gary Cahill, Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante completing an emphatic Premier League victory.
It was a fitting tribute to former Chelsea vice-chairman Matthew Harding, whose death in a helicopter crash 20 years ago was marked prior to kick-off with banners and a giant flag.
Antonio Conte’s side have now won three consecutive league games without conceding a goal and climbed to fourth place, just a point below leaders Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool.
Mourinho, in stark contrast, has already tasted defeat three times in the league with United, who trail City by six points ahead of Wednesday’s Manchester derby in the League Cup fourth round.
The team sheet told a tale of two captains: United’s, Wayne Rooney, was absent after reportedly injuring his thigh, while Chelsea’s, John Terry, remained on the bench following an ankle injury.
Mourinho was greeted warmly by Terry and former assistant Steve Holland prior to the game, sharing a warm embrace with the former, but Chelsea’s hospitality vanished within 30 seconds of kick-off.
Chris Smalling inexplicably allowed Marcos Alonso’s pass from Chelsea’s left to bounce past him and Pedro nipped in to round United goalkeeper David de Gea and roll the ball home.
Mourinho, sacked for the second time by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich last December, looked faintly shellshocked.