Jose Mourinho admits winning is still more important to him than being popular – and that goes for his team as well as himself.
The Portuguese takes his Blues side to Manchester City tonight (Monday) for one of the season's most seismic moments of a fascinating Premier League season.
And whatever tactics he employs, you can be sure it will not be based on courting popularity with neutrals, any more than it was on West Ham's mind when they visited Stamford Bridge last week.
There was much talk, pre-season, of a more serene Mourinho returning to Chelsea. A man at ease with himself, who had shed a win-at-all-costs mentality. But the Blues' boss has not changed so much.
“No. I don’t want to be popular. I want to win more than ever,” he said on the eve of the game.
“It doesn’t matter how many times I did it. More than ever I want to win it.
“I’m enjoying this process. This process will play a hand in winning. I’m enjoying this. If my relation with the media is fine, referees is fine and if I have no reasons to be fighting with other managers and other people, I don’t know why should I look for that.”
In tandem with his insistence that seeking popularity I not on his radar, Mourinho says he does not care if Man City draw less criticism for their spending than Chelsea once did.
“In my time, we were accused of buying the title because our owner was Mr Abramovich and he’d just arrived in the country. Maybe now people see City in a different way?
“But I don’t care about it. I don’t envy the fact that they have this kind of protection. It’s the way it is – no problem for me.
“Times change. Many things that people were looking at as wrong 20 years ago, 50 years ago, now it’s very normal.
“Maybe 10 years ago a huge investment in the club was something that people hated and in this moment is something that people accept in a different way.”