José Mourinho changed the face of Chelsea with his arrival in the 2004/05 season, leading the club into a golden era of success. Blues legend Frank Lampard has given his say on the ‘devastation’ he and fellow players, such as John Terry, felt when the Special One left the club to join Inter in 2008/09.
A guest on his former teammate John Obi Mikel’s ‘The Obi One Podcast,’ Lampard delved into the time he spent with Mourinho in London for three years, citing the Portuguese as the coach he grew the most under.
“Without a doubt Mourinho. I was about 25 years old, I was in a delicate moment, he arrived and brought confidence. Obviously he is very good tactically, but for me it was important because he created a system and a structure tailor-made for me. I didn’t have to go that far, he would give me the details, but that was it. The main thing he did was to make me take a step forward. I was a very humble boy, I was at Chelsea, I had no aspirations. Or rather, I had them, but I didn’t think I could reach a Champions League level. And José came along almost saying “well, you should.”
“During that time he took my career from doing well to another level. And I perceived this, I felt it. As a coach, you understand that it’s personal things, not tactical things, that make you a better footballer. There are footballers who need a stick, others a cuddle. I didn’t need either of those things, probably just to be supported and he gave me exactly this.” (via VoceGiallorossa)
Mourinho left Chelsea in September 2007, after leading the Blues for 185 games, conquering the Premier League twice during his tenure. Obi Mikel revealed the tears in the dressing room.
“There’s a story behind his farewell. There was one person completely in tears the first time José left (laughs referring to Lampard). But the coach was also in tears,” before Lampard added: “Yes, he cried too and I wasn’t the only one. I was usually sitting next to Terry, when he greeted and hugged us, we were both emotional. José’s intelligence, the natural instinct to involve us both on an emotional level and on a gaming level.”
“With José, it was an incredible journey, two years in which we won the title, the first two went very well, in the third something broke. The situation became very toxic quickly, I think there were a couple of new players and there were issues that he didn’t agree with their arrivals. There was this negativity that spread. It wasn’t a surprise, a lot happened quickly at the start of the season, but as a player, from a personal point of view, I was devastated and disappointed.”
Mourinho won the Premier League twice during his first spell, alongside with the FA Cup and FA Community Shield. However, it has his exploits with the Nerazzurri that elevated him to the status of a managerial icon.
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