'I would leave that pitch in a coffin for him' - John Terry's reveals his enduring affection for Jose Mourinho
John Terry has offered up a fascinating insight into life under Jose Mourinho’s management and dismissed suggestions he fell out with the Portuguese tactician prior to his two exits from the club.
Terry lifted Chelsea’s first two Premier League titles following Mourinho’s arrival at the Stamford Bridge club in 2004, with a third arriving in 2015 after his return as Blues boss.
Even though Mourinho was sacked a few months after that third title triumph, Terry insisted the coach who started the Chelsea success story is the finest coach he has worked under as he offered up an insight in his unique management style as a guest on Sky’s Monday Night Football.
“The best manager and coach I worked with was Mourinho,” declared Terry. “He was the first one to come in and revolutionise things at Chelsea.
“You would come in at 8am and he would be the one setting the cones out. He was out there in the pouring rain, getting his session ready.
“He would have four grids of the pitch and we would move from that one to that one and between each one there were drinks. We would train for an hour and we would move from there, to there to there.
“He brought three young kids in as ball-boys and every time the ball went out of play, another one came back in instantly. If there was a bad pass or a bad role from one of his staff, he went berserk and it was embarrassing for them. His standards were so high. From the players, his medical team, he was on everything.
“His attention to detail was incredible and he changed the way I thought about football. The first session when he came in and at the end of it, the lads thought, wow that was a session.
“Mentally and psychologically, he had us from day one. We bought in to whatever he was going to deliver that day and he was the same when he came back. Having his presence there was enough. He had his eyes on everyone and when he speaks no one messes about or plays with a ball. You listen to him, he was the boss.
“I would give everything for him. I would leave that pitch in a coffin for him and every player felt the same.”
Mourinho substituted Terry at half-time in a game a Manchester City at the start of the 2015/16 season, but the Chelsea legend insists he never questioned that decision and continued to back the coach now in charge of Manchester United until he was sacked in December 2015, despite reports of a fall-out between the duo in Mourinho's final weeks at the club.
“The big managers and when I look in world football, he is probably the biggest, they make the big decisions,” he added as he was asked about the decision to substitute him in the Man City game.
“I didn’t ask why he made that decision. I went to training the next day and just got on with it. There was never a problem.”
“I’m still in great contact with him now. Even when I joined Aston Villa, he was the first one to text me and congratulate me and said he would be a Villa fan.
“That is what he does. When he came back, Rafa (Benitez) hadn’t been playing me, but he was texting me that summer telling me to work hard, I was his main man.
“I was out for dinner with my wife and kids and had a glass of wine. He called me and after that conversation when I went back to the table I said no more wine. I wanted to train three times a day because he knew how to press my buttons and get the best out of everyone.
“You would be at home and out injured and he’d send you a text to tell you how important I was. He did it with the senior players at Chelsea, not just me and then we ran that dressing room for him.”