The Special One, as he is fondly called, is known for his tough love towards his players, and it has backfired sometimes, but a former Nigerian international is a big fan of his approach
Ex-Super Eagles captain John Mikel Obi has credited Mourinho for his successful career despite the Portuguese strong disciplinary methods.
Mikel played under Mourinho in the Portuguese two separate spells at Chelsea. The 33-year-old made 119 appearances under the Special One, and he revealed his time with the Tottenham manager made him the player he is today.
Mourinho is known for his strict management approach, and it has led to a fall out with some of the players he has coached.
Mikel is a player that has been on the receiving end of Mourinho’s tough love, but the ex-Trabzonspor man revealed it helped him become a better man.
“He didn’t just help me football-wise, he was one of the guys who helped me grow up,” Mikel told The Athletic.
“Coming to Chelsea, I acted like it would be the same as playing for Nigeria Under-17s. He quickly made me realise this was not the under-17s! There is no messing about anymore. I had to wake up.
The Mourinho way of making you wake up is not easy. He will make you sweat, he will punish you in different ways.
He doesn’t fine you a lot. He will show you with his actions. He will make you pay at the training ground. He will isolate you, he will put you out of the team, the squad. He will take you out of training.
Mikel added that Mourinho gives his players the tough lough treatment because he cares so much and wants to get the best out of them,
“It is because he cares about you so much and really wants you to be that player because he knows you have that quality inside of you.
“Otherwise, he wouldn’t care. If he does things to you it’s because he really believes in you. I took it in the right way, and I worked, and I worked on myself. And then I became the player that he wanted me to be.”
Mikel started his career in an advanced role (attacking midfielder) and hoped he would continue in that position when he joined Chelsea.
But he was converted to a defensive midfielder by Mourinho, and it irked a lot of Nigerian fans. Nonetheless, Mikel is not angry at Mourinho for changing his role, saying it made him the player he is today.
“Obviously Mourinho was the one who changed things but I wouldn’t say he ruined my career or whatever! I still played as a No 10 for the national side. Mourinho is a manager I will always look up to.
“Of all the managers I had, he was the toughest. I knew that if I could survive him I could survive pretty much anyone! He made me who I am today. I will always be thankful to him.”