• Premier League

Jose's incredible mind games claim

ESPN staff
March 5, 2014
Jose Mourinho has also praised the influence and importance of both Frank Lampard and John Terry at Chelsea © PA Photos

Jose Mourinho may well call them something else but the Chelsea manager has made the incredible claim that he doesn't play "mind games".

The Portuguese, who has had infamous Premier League spats with Arsene Wenger and Rafael Benitez, insisted "in football, the only game I know is the 90-minutes game".

However, Mourinho also admitted, in an interview with Esquire that he tries to influence people as a part of with his pre-match preparations.

'What do you call ... Twitters and these things?'

  • Jose Mourinho has been happy with his Chelsea return but football hasn't always put a smile on his face.
  • He revealed that changes in society have made him adapt his style of management to deal with vanity and social media.
  • "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," Mourinho told Esquire.
  • "But that's how society is now. Young people care a lot about this: they are twentysomething 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."

"It's not mind games; I don't try to do that," he said. "The period before the game can be important to influence opinions, characters, personalities, feelings and, of course, I use that to touch my players, to touch opponents, to touch supporters. But for me, the only game in football is the 90-minutes game."

Mourinho returned to Chelsea last summer following a six-year spell away from the club, where he won back-to-back Premier League titles in his first two seasons in England.

Both spells at Stamford Bridge have seen Mourinho clash with rival managers and in recently branding Wenger a "specialist in failure", he has reopened his long-standing feud with the Arsenal manager.

In addition to renewing rivalries, Mourinho has also revived the fortunes of John Terry, in particular, and Frank Lampard, who were key lieutenants in the Chelsea team he guided to success first time around.

He believes the attitudes of the England duo set an example to younger players, those who can often be side-tracked in their careers by money.

"Terry and Lampard are very, very important," Mourinho said. "It was very important for me to recover them.

"We are working hard to give the best orientation to young players, to follow examples of guys from the past - the [Frank] Lampards, the [John] Terrys - who were always fanatical for victories.

"You have to find the boy who wants to succeed, has pride and passion for the game. His dream is not one more 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."

Mourinho has a similar attitude to management and suggested the financial rewards in football are "too much" when compared with the rest of society.

"I cannot compare my job with the doctor who is doing heart surgery," he said. "That's why I sometimes feel that we earn too much money compared to people who do much more than us to benefit humanity."

Mourinho may feel able to take a broader view because Chelsea sit four points clear at the top of the Premier League and are still in with a chance of progressing to the final stages of the Champions League.

However, he attributes his mood to confidence. "When I decide to come back, there is some risk of things going wrong, but I'm not afraid. I trust myself, I think I can do it again," Mourinho said.

"I'm not afraid to lose my job and when you're not afraid, you don't feel any pressures. You are not too worried, you can express yourself in a different way. It makes you better, I think."

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