Jose Mourinho reveals player who had teammates in hysterics with BRILLIANT impressions of him
Portuguese managerial great Jose Mourinho has spoken on the importance of creating a positive dressing room atmosphere at teams, even revealing one player who used to do impersonations at his expense.
Mourinho, 54, has managed a host of the world’s top clubs during his trophy-laden career, including Chelsea, Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Manchester United.
And speaking to RT in his role as a pundit, the Portuguese lifted the lid on his approach to managing the dressing room and finding the right balance between professionalism and lighter-hearted moments.
“This is a very important and serious business, but when we are in our free time, we all have a laugh, a joke,” Mourinho said.
“When you are training, you are in two hours where you need a focus, you need to try to replicate what you do in training in a match, so training for me is a match.
“But then you have the pre-training, the after-training, you have the meals, the meetings, you travel, hotels, of course, there is space for that [fun], you need that.”
Mourinho said that despite the demands placed on players amid the all-encompassing nature of the modern game, there were still plenty of “funny characters” in football.
“I don’t remember one team I had without these funny characters,” he said.
“The point is to find the right balance between professionalism, responsibility, ambition, and then with a good atmosphere.
“They [the players] spend a lot of time together, the traveling, the hotel time.
“If there is not time for fun, for the jokers, it will be much more difficult for them.”
Mourinho’s time at Manchester United came to end in December amid a disappointing start to the season and rumblings of strained relations with players, including French midfield star Paul Pogba.
The Portuguese said that while a manager should clearly assert his role as “the boss,” there should be scope for players to criticize him.
“The dressing room is what I used to call a sacred place, where the manager goes, and when the manager goes, the profile of the dressing room changes a little bit, because the boss is there.
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“If they don’t look at you as the boss, things are not going to work.
“There are ways of leadership, of course, if you go to the theoretical point of view, the leadership at the top of the group or the middle of the group … much more leadership now is in the middle of the group, but the boss is the boss.”
“But when the boss is not in that dressing room, that is a sacred place for them [the players] where they can do what they want, speak what they want.
“They can even criticize the manager if they think they have to.
“And when I say ‘dressing room’, I mean any room in the hotel, where they can be after dinner, where the manager has to understand that they need that,” he added.
Mourinho even revealed one player he has worked with who used to leave teammates in hysterics with his impressions of the Portuguese manager.
“One story, I just met my Inter [Milan] guys in the [exhibition] match that was played at Tottenham, my guys from 2009-10.
“Lots of stories were coming, and one came where they knew between them that Sulley Muntari, of course without me, was doing imitation, and he was really good. But he never did it in front of me.
“One day, when we won the Italian cup final against Roma, they thought, ‘now Sulley, you have to show him what you have been doing for months and months.’
“So imagine a player doing the imitation of the manager. Of course everybody laughed a lot.
“When then relation is good, you spend your time much better.”
Ultimately, though, for a man seen as being as results-driven as any other in the game, Mourinho said there is one thing that can bring a positive atmosphere to a club.
“There is one thing which helps a lot the happiness, it’s the results, because the nature is that you want to win.”