Regardless of what some Tottenham fans may think right now, Jose Mourinho has had one of the biggest impacts on football in modern times.
As John Terry, the captain who won so much playing under him at Chelsea explains, he opened so many minds.
Jose Mourinho came, he saw and conquered English football and left a lasting mark, especially at Chelsea where he won three Premier Leagues, one FA Cup and three League Cups
“He changed the way I thought about football,” Terry explained, adding he has been his favourite manager to work under.
Frank Lampard, another reliable Chelsea man of the Mourinho era, has also highlighted the techniques he used to get the most out of players.
The midfielder tells the story of standing starkers in the shower when Mourinho, who had just been appointed Chelsea’s new boss in 2004, walked in and looked him straight in the eye.
“‘All right, boss?’ I asked, wondering what I had done to invite an audience. ‘You are the best player in the world,’ he said without blinking.”
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Under Mourinho, current Chelsea manager Frank Lampard became one of the most important players and one of the world’s best midfielders
Lampard didn’t quite know how to take the compliment, as he explained in his autobiography.
“I was slightly confused as well as completely naked. Talk about feeling vulnerable. ‘You,’ he said more forcefully, ‘are the best player in the world,’” but added he had to prove it by winning trophies.
“I knew that I wasn’t the best player in the world, but I also knew what he meant. I felt a bit embarrassed. I wanted to get out of the shower and out of the conversation as quickly as I could. He had elevated me to a new level. I felt a massive surge in confidence. I was walking on air for the rest of that day.”
If you weren’t’ aware of Mourinho before he joined Chelsea, you definitely did afterwards.
He was that young upstart who ran the length of the Old Trafford pitch to celebrate a Porto goal in front of Fergie.
And as far as an introduction to English football went, Mourinho’s is not likely to be forgotten any time soon.
Chelsea were close to greatness by the time he arrived, having been successful in cup competitions in the previous seasons.
They just needed someone to bring them to that next level. Here he was – the man who guided Porto to Champions League glory.
Sitting in a press conference following his arrival at Stamford Bridge in 2004, he told the nation: “We have top players and, sorry if I’m arrogant, we have a top manager. Please don’t call me arrogant, but I’m European champion and I think I’m a special one.”
Clearly he was something a bit different. He beat Manchester United in his first game and by May had delivered Chelsea a first league title for 50 years.
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Lampard and Terry were mainstays of Mourinho’s Chelsea and the captain says training was revolutionary under him
He’d made them formidable. “He was the first one to come in and revolutionise things at Chelsea,” Terry said.
“Mourinho was quite ahead of the other managers,” Deco, who played in his all-conquering Porto side, added.
“He brought a mentality to the Portuguese players that didn’t exist, which was believing that they could win important things.
“And on top of that, his training sessions, the vision he had, the game analysis and the opponent analysis. So yes, it was very good to have Mourinho in the beginning of his career – he had so much to teach, and we also learned a lot.”
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Mourinho was on the ground floor when the house that is Barcelona was being built, yet his style of play is not what you’d expect to see from Lionel Messi and co. but it has brought with it tremendous results
Terry agrees with his former teammate and pointed to a simple, yet completely different pre-season training exercise.
“The first thing he said was to get the balls out. And for our generation, it was unheard of to get footballs out in the first pre-season session.
“He said you never see a pianist running around a piano, you see a pianist work on the piano. But we probably covered more distance with the ball than we would have done without it! Psychologically he had us.”
And it lasted. It can be argued the winning mentality at Chelsea now is a direct result of Mourinho.
They eventually won the coveted Champions League trophy and continue to challenge with the best in Europe.
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Mourinho is a winner and changes players mindsets to believe they can beat anyone in the world and turns them into winners
He left his mark there, he left his mark in Italy where he guided Inter to the treble, which included a second Champions League win.
He left his mark at Real Madrid, at Chelsea again and at Man United where, despite plenty of criticism, he won the Europa League and the League Cup.
Even if he was at Barcelona when the groundwork for the greatest football team ever was being laid, he played the game his own way. And it has worked.
With 22 trophies, including league titles in four different countries, there is no doubt Mourinho is one of football’s game changers.
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