If anyone has yet to be convinced that Jose Mourinho is English football's gust of fresh air, a manager with a difference, they should take aboard the incoming Chelsea manager's way with the English language: for instance, how he describes his training methods as "specificity in the methodology".
Scott Parker, one of those vying for a place in Mourinho's midfield, is rather more basic in his summation of those methods. "Brilliant," is what Parker calls them. A week into training for the coming season, the 41-year-old from Portugal has won over any waverers at Chelsea, or at least those of them who are back in harness following Euro 2004.
Mourinho confessed frustration at not having his entire squad available for the crucial build-up to a new season with a new man in charge. "I need time to work with them," he said, "and what I am doing now is preparing players and not a team, because I don't have them all back. So I am working in general terms, trying to get the ones who are with me in good condition. For sure, it will be difficult for them because everything will be different. Not better or worse, just different. When they don't have to run one single lap, yet get to the end of the training session more tired than in the past, they will start to understand the specificity in the methodology."
For anyone on the staff inclined to scratch their head, Parker explains: "There is nothing Einstein about it, just ball work, a lot of ball control. He's given us notebooks detailing training techniques. " The ex-Charlton man is already convinced. "I have come to Chelsea to fight for a place in the team. I think central midfield is my best position, but if the manager wants me to play out wide, then that's where I'll play." As Mourinho says: "Good players adapt easily, but we have a long way to go."
So has he, after turning his back on Porto immediately following their capture of the European Champions' League. He seemed genuinely puzzled, though, about concerns over what stress might do to him. "If I lose a lot of matches and we don't reach our objectives, then maybe I won't finish my contract. But a heart attack? I don't think so.
"If I had wanted a quiet life I would have stayed in Portugal. There I could lose 10 matches, not win the European Cup again, yet people would still trust me and think I am the best. First God, then after God, me. When I decided to move it was because I was looking for a new challenge for me and my career. I understand that there will be a lot of pressure. If I fail I have to go home. But I don't believe this. I believe that at the end of my contract they will be interested in giving me a new one. I left Portugal because I had achieved things nobody expected of me. Winning consecutive European competitions made my name big and gave me access to some of the best clubs in Europe. I could choose between them and I wanted to go for it while I am still young. I don't want to move when I am 60 and at the end of my career. At 60 I hope to be in my house on the Algarve, enjoying 40-degree heat every day with my kids."
Having confirmed that he is not inter-ested in buying Wayne Rooney, he was asked about the rumours of David Beckham joining Chelsea. "I don't talk about specific players," said Mourinho, "but I am interested in a good midfield player, either a normal-aged one, 100 per cent ready, or a young one with big potential to come into my hands and develop."
Among Chelsea's attackers, he has already been impressed with Eidur Gudjohnsen, one of the few first-teamers available for training last week. "Day after day he is doing better, improving a lot. So I am really happy with Eidur." He is also happy with the new signing Mateja Kezman. "He is here for two reasons. He can be a target man or a wide man on the right. Kezman scores goals, creates and even defends well. He is a good personality. We got some inside information about his private and social life from people who know him well. He is a young boy, married, two kids, doesn't create problems off the pitch. I spent a good afternoon talking to him about tactics."
Perhaps surprisingly, Mourinho feels the third man in the striking set-up could be Hernan Crespo, the Argentinian popularly believed to be on his way out of Stamford Bridge. Having conceded he was upset by Crespo's failure to turn up for training on the first day, the manager insists he has accepted the player's explanation, saying: "He has not been fined. Not yet.
"We have a few days, me, the club and Hernan, to decide what is going to happen with him. I was open with him when we spoke. I told him about the style of football I want to play, about Kezman, about my empathy with Eidur. I didn't mention Didier Drogba, I just told him we were preparing a few names if he decides not to stay. I told him if he didn't stay it was not a drama for me because I have solutions.
"Hernan's motivation was high at training, so we are happy with his attitude. I told him, if he decided to stay, not to come to me one week later and say he wanted to leave because he didn't like the weather. It was the same type of conversation with Adrian Mutu. He told me he wants to stay and play for me and for Chelsea, but he is not a target man, although he is a fantastic player."
Which brought Mourinho back to Drogba. "He is one of the best strikers in Europe and since I started talking to him I feel he needs a better club in a better league to show how good he is. He could become a good option if in the next few days we decide about Crespo." All this and the season is a month off yet. The stress, smiled Mourinho, hasn't started. "The worst is still to come," he prophesied. "When I lose a match."Reuse content