It may be nine years since he took charge of Chelsea for the first time but Jose Mourinho never forgets.
While all the talk this summer has been about the new faces coming through the door at Stamford Bridge, Mourinho took time yesterday to pay tribute to his old guard of John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole, who will all start in the first game of the Portuguese’s new Chelsea era today in Bangkok, for their intensity in “training like animals”.
“When I see Terry, Cole, Lampard, the way they are working, it’s easy for me to demand the same from the other guys,” he said. “I can say, ‘Look at them: they don’t miss one minute; they are training like animals; they compete. So you, who are 18, 19, 21, don’t tell me you can’t do it’.”
Chelsea have been partaking in twice-daily training sessions in preparation for the forthcoming season and while insisting his side have “no priorities” in terms of competitions, it is clear Mourinho would like to win the club’s first Premier League title since 2010.
Mourinho, who in 2005 guided Chelsea to a first championship in 50 years, said: “A competition like the Premier League the best team wins. We want to be there and we’ll be fighting for that.”