Mourinho puts the pressure on
Published 04/12/2013 | 06:26
Jose Mourinho has no qualms about heaping pressure onto his own players to turn his Chelsea side into Barclays Premier League champions once again.
The 50-year-old Portuguese won two titles during his first spell in charge at Stamford Bridge and returned last summer following a six-year gap.
The Blues are currently second in the table, four points adrift of leaders Arsenal, and Mourinho will not hesitate asking more from players he feels can handle being pushed mentally to benefit themselves and the team.
"I like to put pressure on them," Mourinho said.
"But you have to analyse the players you are working with. I always give Didier [Drogba] as an example - when I put real pressure on him, the animal was always coming from the dark.
"[Zlatan] Ibrahimovic at Inter, exactly the same. When I put real pressure on him, I knew that the answer was coming. It depends on the players' profiles. Some react in a very good way. Some don't."
With so many personalities within a squad, Mourinho concedes it is unlikely all players will react positively to such pressures and prefer to be handled with kid gloves.
"I have also players who have told me not to criticise them in front of the other guys because 'it's not good for my self-esteem'," he added.
"I've had everything. You accumulate experiences in your career and everything becomes like deja vu. Nothing is new. Human qualities come through: you know some react well under pressure, and others you give them confidence and wait until the best performances arrive."
Chelsea's backbone, the likes of John Terry and Frank Lampard, are players who have been at the club under Mourinho during both of his spells and are an English duo who the former Real Madrid boss has the utmost confidence in.
But Mourinho has a young squad this time around and he feels more is to come in terms of mental toughness from his highly-rated prospects.
"Some players I know them very, very well. Others I'm getting to know now," he said.
"Some, because of their age, I think their personalities are not still an end product. They can still transform their personality.
"When it comes to the young players, I have a job to do. I have to try and influence their way of feeling football, of feeling their jobs. I think they can help them. This is a job to do not in a few months. Hopefully I can get the best out of all of them.
"It is a good part of our job, these human factors. Football management is not just about 4-4-2, 4-3-3, high block, low block. We have a human side of the job, too, and probably this is more important."
Despite Mourinho not worrying about adding pressure to his own players, it appears as though he is trying to shift any expectations from Stamford Bridge and on to Manchester City.
Although he anticipates a six-way fight for the title, with Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool also involved, it is City who Mourinho feels need to make the most of what he labelled as a 'unique' squad.
"They don't have old players or very young players," Mourinho said of Man City's squad.
"You see all of them, players with big maturity and experience. [Sergio] Aguero, [Edin] Dzeko, [Alvaro] Negredo, even [Stevan] Jovetic - these are the four strikers.
"Go through the positions and you see Yaya Toure, Fernandinho - nobody more than 30, all of them. Nobody below 23. The squad is absolutely amazing.
"They have solutions and solutions and solutions. If you ask me which team has more ammunition, I have to try and be honest. I have to apologise to the other four in case they're not happy with what I say, but City are the team with more ammunition."
With such strong views on the ability at the disposal of his counterpart Manuel Pellegrini at the Etihad Stadium, Mourinho will be pleased to see his Chelsea side currently one place and two points ahead of City.