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Recently retired former captain of the Super Eagles of Nigeria, Mikel Obi, has opened up on how scared he was playing under Jose Mourinho during his time at Chelsea many years ago.
Africa Daily News, New York reports that Mikel, who only retired from football at 35 in September, had won virtually every major honour possible in his 11-year spell at Stamford Bridge after he was signed by Portuguese Mourinho in 2016.
The Nigerian playmaker is easily one of Chelsea’s biggest unsung heroes, said Mourinho’s methods of getting his message across to players in the dressing room was scary to him.
The former Tianjin TEDA and Trabzonspor man recounted how the Portuguese coach tore Mohamed Salah to shreds at half time, when the Egyptian was largely anonymous in a game.
“I was scared of Jose Mourinho,” Mikel told Mail Sports.
“I was definitely scared of him. I mean, this guy, the things he did to players, but it’s just a way of him passing his message across, trying to get the best out of the players.
“I remember what Jose Mourinho did to Mohamed Salah, the guy was crying in the dressing room in the second half. I think he was having a bad game. And then obviously Mourinho came in and ripped into him, massively ripped into him.
“Salah was in tears. And then what happened? Mourinho didn’t let him back onto the pitch for the second half. He took him off. He ripped into him and then got him off.”
He added that Belgian playmaker, Eden Hazard, was one of the laziest players he played with at Chelsea.
“The worst, the laziest footballer I’ve ever seen in my life. But then come the weekend, Eden Hazard produces – he was the man of the match. And he comes in with the trophy and he’s like, ‘come on guys, see?’
“I actually think when you look at Eden Hazard now, he’s lost a lot of weight. But when he was at Chelsea, the night before a game, after dinner, he sits there for like 20 minutes after, he’s eating rice pudding… he likes his food!
“But then Eden Hazard goes to bed, wakes up in the morning and on a Saturday, 3pm, he’s there. We just let him do whatever he wants.”
He also recounted how players knew their manager would be sacked under Roman Abramovich.