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Former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is known to show tough love to his players, and Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma has looked back at a particular incident when the Portuguese tagged him as rubbish after a game.
It was Mourinho who signed Zouma for Chelsea when he was still a teenager, and the Frenchman impressed under Mourinho before a bad injury against Manchester United in 2016 hampered his career with the Blues.
“I cannot remember which match we were playing, we were losing 3-1, away from home,” Zouma told RMC Sport.
“The following day, he [Mourinho] catches up with me, he takes me to his office, and he asks me if I am ok. I said yes, he asked me if I was sure.
“I said yes again, he replied ‘Because you were rubbish this weekend.’ Like that, direct. It shocked me, but it made me want to immediately respond on the pitch.
“I remember that it hurt me, that it affected me. But I really wanted to show him that I could react.”
Mourinho brought a 19-year-old Zouma to Stamford Bridge from Saint-Etienne in 2014, and Zouma has denied the claims that Mourinho refuses to play youngsters.
“He is someone who loves victory. He uses all the tools possible to achieve it,” Zouma said.
“I came here at 19 and he played me. I was able to have my chances, I played my matches.
“I don’t know what other people think, we all have different opinions, but from my side, I don’t really agree [with the notion that Mourinho does not give young players a chance].”