LONDON: When Jose Mourinho returned to Chelsea last summer from Real Madrid he declared that he was not so much the Special One as the Happy One: happy to be back in the Premier League, happy to be back working for Roman Abramovich, happy above all to be back at Chelsea.

Over the last few months, however, the smile has faded and the words have become sharper and more aggressive.

Mourinho denounced Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger as “a specialist in failure”; he derided Manchester City’s Manuel Pellegrini as merely charged with running a rich man’s toy; he ran on to the pitch to argue with a referee (and was fined £8,000 by the FA); and he started repeating his old Madrid trick of leaving press conferences to his assistant (for Aitor Karanka read Steve Holland).

On Saturday his mood blackened further. A stormy 2:1 home loss to struggling Sunderland weakened, signicantly, Chelsea’s title hopes.

Defeat, to a late and debatable penalty converted Chelsea cast-off Fabio Borini, also ended Mourinho’s 77-game unbeaten home league record at Chelsea. He responded by avoiding the press again and issuing a statement heavy with angry sarcasm about the “fantastic” performance of referee Mike Dean.

Temper time

Madrid is now on the menu again for him: this time, however, against Atletico, he is the outsider. The near-certainty is that Mourinho will unleash the aggressive edge of his split personality.

Not that he is likely to poke Atletico assistant German Burgos in the eye, as he once did – notoriously – to Barcelona’s Tito Vilanova. For one thing, Burgos has a fearsome temper of his own and is significantly larger than Mourinho.

However Mourinho knows that one of his own tasks is to attract so much attention as to reduce the focus on the weaknesses in his team. Even though Chelsea are chasing Liverpool for the Premier League title this is not Mourinho’s ideal team.

One factor is the suspension which rules rightback Brane Ivanovic out of the first leg; a second is the inability to field anchor man Nemanja Matic in midfield through ineligibility; and a third is the inability of Chelsea’s strikers to find the road to goal with any consistency.

Fernando Torres (nine), Samuel Eto’o (12) and Demba Ba (seven) total fewer goals in all competitions this season than Atletico’s ‘lone’ Diego Costa (34).

Lisbon allure

Atletico, hopes Mourinho, may not notice. After all, Ba came off the substitutes’ bench to score the late tie decider against Paris Saint-Germain at Stamford Bridge in the quarter-finals. That surely spoke of strength in depth rather than underlying vulnerability?

Mourinho’s temper is likely to be further provoked by the knowledge of what victory Atletico would offer. He would go back to his native Portugal for the final in Lisbon; and not only in Lisbon but in the home of Benfica whom he coached for a mere three turbulent months in late 2000.

That is not all. Victory over Atletico will leave Mourinho one match away from making European Champions history as the only man to win the greatest club prize with three different clubs after Porto in 2004 and Internazionale in 2010.

That might make amends for the title slip-up. Eto’o put Chelsea ahead put Sunderland equalised within six minutes. Connor Wickham followed up his midweek double against Manchester United by scoring the first home league goal Chelsea had conceded in 570 minutes.

Borini – on loan to Sunderland from Liverpool – did his ‘home’ club a massive favour by converting the late penalty after Cesar Azpilicueta was judged to have fouled Jozy Altidore.