Former Super Eagles captain, John Obi Mikel, has disclosed that Tottenham Hotspur manager, Jose Mourinho, helped him to become the player he is today during their time together at Chelsea.
The 33-year-old said Mourinho didn’t just help him football-wise, but the former Manchester United manager was one of the people who helped him grow up at Stamford Bridge.
Mikel, who currently plays for Stoke City in the Championship, played under Mourinho in the Portuguese’s two separate spells at Chelsea.
The Nigerian midfielder made 119 appearances under Mourinho, who is known for his strict management approach.
“He [Jose Mourinho] didn’t just help me football-wise. He was one of the guys who helped me grow up,” Mikel told The Athletic.
“Coming to Chelsea, I acted like it would be the same as playing for Nigeria Under-17s. He quickly made me realise this was not the under-17s! There is no messing about anymore. I had to wake up.”
Mikel added, “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.”
“Obviously, Mourinho was the one who changed things, but I wouldn’t say he ruined my career or whatever! I still played as a No 10 for the national side. Mourinho is a manager I will always look up to.
“Of all the managers I had, he was the toughest. I knew that if I could survive him, I could survive pretty much anyone! He made me who I am today. I will always be thankful to him.”