His (Jose Mourinho) skill at handling genius became apparent during his first spell at Chelsea, where he struck up a series of friendships that anchored an array of world-class talent. He arrived at Stamford Bridge aged only 41: a comparatively small age difference from his players. “In terms of mentality, I’m not much older than them – I think I have the ability to put myself at their level. I think it is important to understand. The more you understand them the more you can lead them – there is leadership and leadership, as you know.
I never liked the leadership where the boys say, ‘He’s my leader, I have to respect him.’ I prefer them to say, ‘I respect him and he’s my leader.’ It is a completely different thing. They can say, ‘I do that because he tells me to do that and I have to.’ I prefer them to say, ‘I believe in him so much, and trust him so much that everything he says I want to do!’ I prefer much more this kind of empathy.”
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