Jose Mourinho will always owe a huge debt of gratitude to his stalwarts at Chelsea – the likes of John Terry, Frank Lampard, Petr Cech, Didier Drogba and Ashley Cole – for helping him win back-to-back Premier League titles in 2005 and 2006.
It works both ways, though, and the aforementioned Chelsea legends should be equally as grateful to Mourinho for their winners’ medals.
They all have fond memories of working under Mourinho – it was a time when the Portuguese coach wasn’t permanently miserable – and haven’t had many, if any, bad words to say about him over the years.
Other Chelsea players – those who played under Mourinho at Stamford Bridge during his second spell – probably don’t speak quite so favourably about him off the record.
Mourinho won another title at Chelsea during his second spell in May 2015 before being sacked seven months later following a disastrous start to the 2015-16 campaign.
He alienated members of the squad by publicly criticising them and left owner Roman Abramovich with little option but to fire him.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Terry said: “At every club he has had big characters and I’m not sure he has that at Manchester United at the moment. At Chelsea, he did.
“He embarrassed me after one pre-season, after we had won a league title.
“He stopped the training session, came in, threw down his pad. ‘If you keep giving the ball away, I will go and buy someone for £50million’.
“I am thinking, ‘I played every game for you last season! And now you’re trying to humiliate me!’ I didn’t understand why he was doing that, but my instinct was to run and give everything; flying into tackles, winning the ball.”
Terry’s pride certainly would have been hurt in that moment. Just imagine: you’re the club captain, the dressing room’s leader, and you’re embarrassed by your manager like that in training.
The defender, however, believes Mourinho did it deliberately to spark a reaction.
“We made eye contact and he grinned. He knew exactly what he was doing — to get the best out of all of us,” Terry added. “I have seen him do the same to Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Ashley Cole, Michael Ballack. Big personalities in the dressing room.
“Does he have the same now at United? You have to stand up and turn up at training every day and show him that you want to win at all costs. If you’ve got that, he’s 100 per cent on your side.
“I do think he’ll bring success to United, but it needs patience. My top three for this season will be decided between City, Liverpool and Chelsea. That leaves United and Spurs fighting for fourth.”
Whether Mourinho would use the same tactics to spark a reaction from members of United’s current squad in training is unclear – although you certainly wouldn’t put it past him.