Early Doors

Mourinho: Players would be queueing in front of the mirror before a game

Early Doors

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Mourinho as Real Madrid coach last season, and on the latest Esquire cover

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has offered some intriguing insight into the world of the modern footballer in a fascinating interview with a popular magazine.

Mourinho is almost a full decade removed from the achievement that truly highlighted him as one of the world’s top football managers – lifting the 2004 Champions League trophy with unfancied Porto a season after they had claimed the UEFA Cup.

At the time, he was quite young for a first-team boss at 41. Now, in his early 50s, Mourinho appears to represent your typical father-figure manager moreso than the cool, brash new kid on the block from 10 years prior.

As Esquire put it, “Mourinho’s distinctive slate-grey overcoat was made by Armani. These days, he’s often found prowling the touchline in club-issue training gear or a thigh-length puffa. Even a snood. And his hair is more salt than pepper.”

And in an exclusive sitdown with the style and culture publication, Mourinho admitted that he is very much removed from the ways of young hipster players and fans nowadays – but feels as a manager he must always adapt to accept such trends.

“Lots of times at Real Madrid, the players would be queuing in front of the mirror before the game while the referee waited for them in the tunnel,” he told the magazine.

“But that’s how society is now. Young people care a lot about this: they are twenty-something and I am 51 and if I want to work with kids I have to understand their world.

“How can I stop my players on the bus doing, er, what do you call?… Twitters and these things? How can I stop them if my daughter and my son do the same?

“So, I have to adapt to the moment.”

Mourinho went on to acknowledge the key role the ever-growing financial aspect within the sport has on upstart players.

“I’m a manager since 2000, so I’m in my second generation of players,” Mourinho said.

“What I feel is that before, players were trying to make money during their career, be rich at the end of their career.

“But in this moment, the people who surround them try to make them rich before they start their career,” he added with a spot of laughter.

“They try to make them rich when they sign their first contract, when they didn’t play one single match in the Premier League, when they don’t know what it is to play in the Champions League.

“This puts the clubs in difficult conditions sometimes.”

Regardless, Mourinho’s prerogative remains unmoved as he seeks further accolades for an already-decorated resume.

“You have to find the right boy: the boy who wants to succeed, has pride and passion for the game,” he explained.

“His dream is not one more million or one less million, his dream is to play at the highest level, to win titles, because if you do these things you’ll be rich the same at the end of your career.

“So we are working hard to give the best orientation to young players, to follow examples of guys from the past – the Lampards, the Terrys – who were always fanatical for victories.”

Indeed, despite having an all-new sea of worldwide talent at his disposal when returning to Stamford Bridge last summer, Mourinho cites the ‘Indian summer’ Terry and Lampard are currently enjoying under their old general as the key to Chelsea’s current three-pronged charge for Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League glory.

“Terry and Lampard are very, very important,” stated Mourinho. “It was very important for me to recover them.”

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