It was Jose Mourinho who signed up John Mikel Obi for Chelsea, and the Nigerian international went on to spend over a decade at the club, winning massive trophies including the Champions League in 2012, where he was one of the key players.
Mikel started out as an attacking midfielder early in his career, but Mourinho saw him differently and changed him to a defensive midfielder.
Mikel was a key player for Mourinho especially in his first stint at the club, when he broke through as a promising teenager. At the time, Mikel who was fought for by Manchester United, was a notorious teen who suffered tough love from the ex Chelsea boss.
Mikel has now revealed how Mourinho’s tough love made him a better player.
“The Mourinho way of making you wake up is not easy,” Mikel John Obi told The Athletic, looking back at the time when he played under Jose at Chelsea.
“He will make you sweat, he will punish you in different ways. He doesn’t fine you a lot. He will show you with his actions. He will make you pay at the training ground. He will isolate you, he will put you out of the team, the squad. He will take you out of training.
“It is because he cares about you so much and really wants you to be that player because he knows you have that quality inside of you. Otherwise, he wouldn’t care. If he does things to you it’s because he really believes in you.
“I took it in the right way and I worked and I worked on myself. And then I became the player that he wanted me to be. When I see it happening to other players, I know exactly what he’s doing. He wants a reaction.
“He will do it again and again until he gets the reaction he wants. You just have to take it positively. The moment you take it in a bad way and he can see you’ve done that, it will get worse and worse.
“But if he gives you a little jab and you respond positively, he will be there to help you during those difficult times. I wish players would understand what he’s trying to do. It does work.”