Mourinho's long history of falling out with players
From calling Paul Pogba a ‘virus’ to making Ricardo Quaresma cry, Jose Mourinho has a long history of falling out with players… and now Roma’s stars are getting a taste after he blasted their ‘psychological complex’
- Jose Mourinho slammed his Roma squad after seeing them lose 4-3 to Juventus
- This isn’t the first time Mourinho has blasted players publicly as a manager
- Paul Pogba, Tanguy Ndombele and Eden Hazard are just some to suffer his wrath
- Ricardo Quaresma was reduced to tears under Mourinho while at Inter Milan
Another club, another public shaming. The Jose Mourinho playbook is in full swing at Roma after the ‘Special One’ took another swipe at his players.
On Sunday night, Mourinho saw his Roma side squander a 3-1 lead at home with 20 minutes left against Juventus to lose 4-3 in Serie A.
Speaking post-match, the Portuguese was scathing of his squad stating that there is a ‘psychological complex’ and some that are ‘too weak’.
This isn’t the first time the 58-year-old has been vocal in criticising his side. After losing 6-1 against Bodo/Glimt in the Europa Conference League in October, Mourinho didn’t hold back about the starting XI he used, dismissively stating: ‘Their first team is a much better team than our second team.’
As detailed by Sportsmail on Monday, problems are beginning to mount at the Stadio Olimpico.
Those who have followed Mourinho’s career know him feuding with his players is nothing new as Sportsmail looks at his previous fallouts and what happened.
Jose Mourinho blasted his Roma players as being ‘too weak’ after losing 4-3 against Juventus
PAUL POGBA (MANCHESTER UNITED)
Where better place to start than here? A world-class superstar known for his big personality and hot and cold displays, coached by a man who loves total control and will not hesitate to drop players for weeks on end.
It was never going to end well, was it? The initial signs were promising, though, with Pogba arriving at United for a then world-record fee and flourishing. But after that, everything collapsed, including his relationship with Mourinho.
Reports claimed the duo were not longer on speaking terms in March 2018, and after that came Mourinho’s infamous ‘virus’ jibe. Pogba was also stripped of the vice-captaincy and endured a public argument with him in training.
Mourinho is alleged to have told Pogba in front of his team-mates: ‘You don’t play. You don’t respect players and supporters. And you kill the mentality of the good honest people around you.
‘You are like a person with a flu, with a virus in a closed room – you pass that virus to the others.’
How did it end?
Not well for Mourinho. Pogba, on his day, is both a destroyer in midfield and a playmaker blessed with feet quick enough to help him glide through the heart of a team and tee up his team-mates with chances.
His inconsistency frustrated his manager, however, and Pogba found himself on the bench during Mourinho’s final games in charge. Tellingly, the former Juventus man was an unused substitute for the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool.
That, of course, was Mourinho’s last match at the helm at United. Since then, Pogba was both entertained and confused under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and it is looking increasingly likely that he will leave the club on a free transfer in the summer.
Paul Pogba was reportedly called a ‘virus’ by Mourinho and was dropped before his sacking
EDEN HAZARD (CHELSEA)
Another top-class talent Mourinho struggled to get a handle on was Eden Hazard during his Chelsea days, although it worth pointing out he also inspired the forward on to the best football of his career for their Premier League title triumph.
A magician even on the worst of days, then, Hazard starred at Stamford Bridge for several seasons before joining Real Madrid.
Unfortunately for him, Mourinho wants each of his players to muck in when defending, a requirement Hazard would often avoid during matches. Not even his individual qualities at the other end spared him from scathing criticism.
Mourinho was left frustrated after Hazard failed to track back in Chelsea’s Champions League knockout by Atletico Madrid in 2014, a movement which allowed the LaLiga side to equalise.
After the game, the mercurial winger suggested that his side were set up to counter-attack and not take the initiative, comments which were interpreted as a swipe at the tactics from the Special One.
‘When the comments come from a player like Eden it’s normal because he’s not the kind of player to sacrifice himself for the team,’ Mourinho said, responding to a question on the wording from Hazard.
‘Normally you get these kind of comments from players like him, from players that can’t resolve a problem like we had in the first goal. Eden is the kind of player that is not so mentally ready to look back to his left back and to leave his life for him.’
How did it end?
Mourinho’s first season at Chelsea in his second spell was an underwhelming one, but the next year, they went on to win the Premier League.
Hazard won the FWA Footballer of the Year and PFA Players’ Player of the Year awards under him.
In his third season, Mourinho was sacked, leaving his side just above the drop zone.
A major reason behind his axing was his players appearing to down tools, with Hazard and a large number of his team-mates guilty of this.
Despite his supreme talent, Eden Hazard’s refusal to track back had been trashed by Mourinho
RICARDO QUARESMA (INTER MILAN)
Ricardo Quaresma was Mourinho’s most expensive signing during his first transfer window as Inter Milan manager – costing the club £15million from Porto.
In fact, he was the Special One’s first transfer at the Italian giants – highlighting Mourinho’s keenness to sign him.
However, that relationship soon turned sour. Quaresma’s talent wasn’t in question but his application was – with Mourinho not shy to announce that publicly.
Speaking after a 1-0 over Anorthosis Famagusta in the Champions League group stages in October 2008, Mourinho intimated that he wanted more from his winger – having started him on the bench.
‘Quaresma? He likes kicking the ball with the outside of his foot, but if you ask me about him in a few months’ time we’ll be talking about a different Quaresma,’ he said.
However, by turn of 2009, Mourinho clearly hadn’t got what he wanted from his Portuguese compatriot and shipped him out on loan to Chelsea until the end of the season during the winter transfer window.
While in west London, Quaresma didn’t hold back in the difference between the two clubs, saying: ‘When I was at Inter, I wasn’t feeling very confident. I wasn’t playing well and wasn’t happy, I already feel more confident here at Chelsea. It has brought the joy back for me, which I didn’t have at Inter.’
Ricardo Quaresma was Mourinho’s first signing at Inter but the pair didn’t see eye-to-eye
What happened next?
That joy was short-lived though for Quaresma as he returned to Inter Milan at the end of that season. He was given the the Bidone d’oro (golden bin) award for the worst footballer in the Italian top division.
After one season, Inter tried to offload him in the summer of 2009 but failed to do so. The San Siro outfit won a historic Treble that following campaign but Quaresma had a bit-part role in their success – making just 13 appearances in all competitions.
In the summer of 2010 he and Mourinho both left Inter – with the latter joining Real, while he moved to Turkish giants Besiktas.
And reflecting on his time at Inter, Quaresma has since not held back stating he used to ‘cry’ before having to go training – such was his desire to leave.
‘My biggest regret was joining Inter,’ he told Portuguese newspaper Publico.
‘My happiness and self-confidence were taken away from me. At one point I wasn’t even called up any more. I felt on the margins of the squad and woke up crying when I had to attend training sessions.
‘I still haven’t understood some things that happened with him [Mourinho]. As soon as I arrived in Milan, it was made clear to me that I was only signed because Mourinho wanted me.
‘Then, suddenly, I stopped playing. It’s true I wasn’t at my physical peak and watching the games back on television I didn’t even recognise myself, but if a coach requests you and then doesn’t help in your time of need…
‘Mou said on television that I let myself get intimidated by the Inter fans, but I was never afraid of them. I’m not even scared of the supporters here in Turkey, where there is even more media pressure than in Italy.
‘The truth is that I spent a very delicate phase of my life in Italy. It would’ve been better if I had closed my eyes and only woken up now.’
Quaresma says his ‘biggest regret was joining Inter’ after an ill-fated two seasons in Italy
TANGUY NDOMBELE (TOTTENHAM)
The one visitor Tanguy Ndombele would not have been expecting while resting at his north London apartment in April 2020 was Jose Mourinho. His manager, who arrived unannounced, called down his midfielder for an impromptu fitness session.
Out in the open, with the first lockdown in the UK underway, the situation was bizarre – and also broke the coronavirus restrictions put in place by the government. Mourinho deemed it necessary, however, due to his frustrations with Ndombele.
Pointing the finger at the player after Spurs’ draw at Burnley, and having hooked him off at half-time, Mourinho said: ‘In the first half we didn’t have a midfield.
‘I know adapting to the Premier League is difficult but he has had enough time and a player of his potential has to give us more than he is giving us.’
How did it end?
Ndombele was handed just 64 minutes of top-flight action after the league got back underway in Project Restart.
He then picked up an injury, ruling him out of Spurs’ final three fixtures. Mourinho’s mood lightened towards him, but he was sacked.
Intriguingly, Ndombele has been linked with a surprise reunion with the Special One at Roma, with his time at Tottenham seemingly up.
Tanguy Ndombele was often savaged by Mourinho, who hauled him out for impromptu training
PEPE (REAL MADRID)
It is difficult to forget Pepe. Another battle-scared defender who relishes a challenge, he was one of Jose Mourinho’s finest generals. It came as a surprise, then, to hear his manager belittle him, whether it was intentional or not.
Over the course of the decade between 2007 and 2017, Pepe turned himself into a formidable stalwart at Real Madrid. Eventually, however, his playing time decreased thanks to the emergence of newfound prodigy Raphael Varane.
Varane, now at Manchester United, won over Mourinho almost instantly. He was dropped into the team often, forcing Pepe to watch on from the sidelines. And when outlining the dilemma facing the veteran, Mourinho didn’t hold back.
‘Pepe has a problem. And his name is Raphael Varane,’ Mourinho said. ‘That’s the whole story. It isn’t easy for a man aged 31 with a lot of experience behind him to be blown out of the water by a kid of 19.
‘It’s very simple. The problem is very simple. Pepe’s life has changed.’
Mourinho had angered Pepe by insisting that his main regret from his three-year tenure at the Bernabeu was not signing Diego Lopez, who became his first-choice goalkeeper, at the end of his first season in charge.
This comment was described as ‘not the most adequate’ by the defender, who also went on to label Casillas as an ‘institution in this club and in Spain.’
How did it end?
Mourinho, despite the success he brought to the Bernabeu, found himself departing at the end of the 2012-13 season.
His hand may have been forced after several public clashes with senior members of his team, including the wily Pepe.
Pepe’s frustration with Mourinho saw his manager respond by outlining what ‘his problem’ was
LUKE SHAW (MANCHESTER UNITED)
Jose Mourinho and Luke Shaw shared a bitter relationship during the former’s time in charge at Manchester United. The left back was constantly criticised by his manager in the media for his supposed lack of a ‘football brain’.
His retorts clearly stung Shaw, who endured a horror dip in form and happiness. Before Mourinho was sacked when his spell fell apart, it looked certain that the much-maligned defender would be first out of the door.
‘I think he has to change his football brain,’ Mourinho once said, after being asked about a performance from Shaw. ‘I was telling him just now, he was doing things in the second half because he was reacting to my voice.
‘If he was playing on the other side, for sure he would not do it because I was not there to think for him.’
How did it end?
The constant barrages of nasty words left Shaw a shell of his former, flying self, and it wasn’t until Mourinho was sacked that he began to live up to his potential.
Under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the left back was reborn, and he swiped back at his former boss on a number of occasions. The bitterness remains, clearly.
Luke Shaw has admitted to having felt low after several public ear-bashes from boss Mourinho
DAVID DE GEA (MANCHESTER UNITED)
If there is any player largely exempt from criticism at Manchester United this season, it is David de Gea. Time after time, their goalkeeper has bailed them out. His sensational displays at the start of the season saved Ole Gunnar Solskjaer time and again before the Norwegian’s inevitable sacking in November.
It has not all been plain sailing, though, with a few rough patches placing the spotlight firmly on him. Under Jose Mourinho, De Gea was often at his best, but even that wasn’t enough to stop the coach from making a bizarre, jokey comparison.
A Champions League clash against Young Boys saw De Gea pull off a truly stunning reflex save, handing United victory, but Mourinho played down the praise directed at his stopper – and instead comically insisted he could have played in goal instead.
‘I think David’s performance [against Young Boys], you have to say for 92 minutes, to be David there or myself would be the same,’ he said. ‘I can kick as well as him and zero saves, zero shots, to be David or myself would be the same.’
How did it end?
It wasn’t all misery during Mourinho’s tenure at United.
They finished second in the league, spurred on by weekly heroics from De Gea, and also won three trophies.
Since then, the stopper is empty-handed, but has burst back into top form.
Infamously, Mourinho joked he could have replaced David de Gea in goal against Young Boys
RICARDO CARVALHO (CHELSEA)
One of the few occasions where Jose Mourinho has stepped over the line was his public jibe at defender Ricardo Carvalho at Chelsea. In just one sharp line, he criticised his player’s intellect, and asked whether he was mentally stable.
Carvalho was a regular performer during Mourinho’s first tenure at the club, but aired his frustration after not being selected for the first match of the 2005/06 season. In typical fashion, his manager took aim at him relentlessly.
Mourinho said: ‘He seems to have problems understanding things, maybe he should have an IQ test, or go to a mental hospital or something.’
How did it end?
Harsh words, indeed. However, they quickly had the desired effect. Carvalho, always the consummate professional, responded with true class.
He worked his way back into Mourinho’s team, and played under him at Real Madrid.
Mourinho said Ricardo Carvalho ‘should have an IQ test, or to go a mental hospital’ at Chelsea
HENRIKH MKHITARYAN (MANCHESTER UNITED)
Ask anyone, and they will tell you that Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s career at Manchester United was one of underwhelming performances and frustration. Part of a lavish summer of spending by Mourinho, the forward never found his feet.
A cheeky scorpion kick and a goal in the Europa League final against Ajax ensured that his time with United wasn’t all doom and gloom, but once his showings fell through the floor, there was no way back for him under Mourinho.
Instead of offering encouragement to a player desperately in need of some, Mourinho expressed his annoyance with the string of below-par games from Mkhitaryan. ‘I was not happy with his last performances,’ he said.
‘It’s not one or two, I am talking about three, four or five. He started well this season but his performance levels, goalscoring, assists, high pressing, bringing the team with him as No 10, were decreasing step by step.’
How did it end?
Well, in perhaps the worst swap deal in history.
It was an arrangement both clubs were left to rue, although United were worse off as a result of Alexis Sanchez’s exorbitant wages.
Neither him nor Mkhitaryan enjoyed their next spells.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan was in need of a lift at United, but Mourinho chastised him openly instead
JOE COLE (CHELSEA)
Mourinho announcing he was the ‘Special One’ as a fresh-faced tactician riding on the wave of his stellar Champions League success at Porto endeared him to Chelsea supporters forever, and there was a time when he was untouchable.
His first era there saw his team play clinical, brilliant football, and they sauntered to the Premier League title in style. A man crucial to that accolade was Joe Cole, who netted eight goals, but perhaps flew under the radar slightly.
Of course, just scoring isn’t enough for a demanding Mourinho – as Cole found out to his detriment after finding the net in October 2004.
‘When he [Cole] scored the goal the game finished for him,’ Mourinho said in a sly jibe. ‘After that I needed 11 players for my defensive organisation and I had just 10.’
How did it end?
It wasn’t until Mourinho arrived in London that Cole’s career took off at Chelsea.
In response, he paid back his coach in spades, becoming a key member for both club and country. A success story for the Roma boss, then.
Mourinho insisted he was left with ‘just 10’ players when defending due to Joe Cole’s work-rate
PHIL JONES (MANCHESTER UNITED)
Manchester United headed into their Carabao Cup tie against Derby County in September 2018 already in need of a boost, with several of their players struggling with confidence. They lost on penalties, though, leading to a glum Mourinho.
It was a horribly disjoined display, in truth, and Derby, who were managed by Frank Lampard at the time, picked up a memorable triumph when Phil Jones – adorned in a pair of garish pink boots – stepped up and saw his effort saved by Scott Carson.
Fifteen consecutive penalties were scored before Jones was denied, and Mourinho openly admitted in his post-match interviews that he knew his side were ‘in trouble’ when the likes of Jones and Eric Bailly were up next to take theirs.
‘We practise penalties and we see it in training and when we get past the sixth penalty I know we’re in trouble with Bailly and Jones,’ Mourinho said.
How did it end?
Mourinho was infamously sacked after parts of the dressing room turned against him, but defender Jones remains at United.
He has recently fought back from a string of crippling injuries, and will provide much-needed cover this season.
Mourinho admitted he believed Phil Jones would miss his penalty against Derby back in 2018
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