Frank Lampard has lauded the man-management credentials of former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho ahead of an expected second coming of the Special One this summer.
Midfielder Lampard was part of Mourinho's successful side between July 2004 and September 2007, when the Portuguese left in acrimony before achieving success at Inter Milan and Real Madrid, who he is expected to leave imminently.
Asked what makes Mourinho so successful, Lampard told TalkSPORT: "It's a presence and an aura and a way with people. He galvanises people. His own self-confidence reflects back on his teams. He did that to me personally."
Lampard went on: "Tactically he's fantastic. He's very astute. As a team he sets you up brilliantly. But what he does is he gets the best out of players and gets this togetherness that I'd never known until he came to the club and I haven't seen it again since then.
"He might rub people up the wrong way. (But) as a manager, he's brilliant with his team, tactically, he's brilliant with individuals and I think he's brilliant with the press. I know it creates a storm, but he does protect his players."
Put to him that a reunion will end in tears after the messy divorce six years ago, Lampard insisted he was sorry to see Mourinho leave first time round.
"I wasn't fed up with it," said Lampard, the club's record goalscorer who signed a one-year contract extension last week. "He made me believe I was better than I was at the time. I thought I was a decent player, but he said to me 'listen, you can really get to the top' and he made me believe it. I tried to take it on and do it.
"I've had really good managers and different managers at times. It's the ones that get the best out of you, individually.
"We're all human beings and if a manager doesn't talk to you and tell you what they want or whether they're happy with you... we've all got confidence that is up and down.
"Mourinho was the best. For me he was. He brought my confidence to a level it had never been."