John Terry: “Mourinho knew how to press my buttons. He knew exactly what he was doing”
Aston Villa defender and Chelsea great John Terry has opened up on the methods used by his former boss, calling Jose Mourinho the best manager he’s ever worked with (sorry Brucie) in an interview with The Coaches’ Voice.
The lads would look at me as if to say: ‘What are you doing? No one else is doing it'
Terry was even moved to put pen to paper when Mourinho arrived at Chelsea in 2004, so incredible was the impact.
“After a few training sessions, I went and got a notepad and started jotting stuff down,” explains Terry.
“Things he said in team meetings, things he said before a game, or to the press. Sometimes I’d come in after a training session and write down everything we’d just done. The lads would look at me as if to say: ‘What are you doing? No one else is doing it.’ But I was intrigued.”
Mourinho’s exacting standards including hiring ball boys to recreate a matchday experience in training and going berserk at the defenders when one side lost 3-0 in a five-a-side game.
Yet Portuguese manager was equally calculating with his mind games off the pitch, imitating a tactic that Gordon Strachan once claimed Alex Ferguson used – that of giving little time to players on the injury list.
“There was a couple of times I was injured, not available for a couple of games coming up,” says Terry. “Jose would come in, he wouldn’t even speak to me in the treatment room. He’d go around and speak to everybody, and walk out of the room and leave me.
“I swear, as captain of the football club, I was there thinking: ‘Why has he not spoken to me?’ I said to the physio: ‘I’m training tomorrow. I can’t have the manager not speaking to me.’ He knew exactly what he was doing.
“He knew how to press my buttons, but he also knew when to give me a cuddle, when to tell me I was the best, when to tell the press that me, Frank, Didier, Petr, Ashley were the best players in the world. Were we the best in the world? Probably not. But he made you feel like you were.”
More from John Terry at www.coachesvoice.com, launched Monday, January 8