Mikel Obi, a former captain of the Super Eagles, has discussed his fear of playing for Chelsea under renowned coach Jose Mourinho.
The Portuguese manager recruited Mikel in 2016, and he retired from playing at the age of 35 in September.
He claimed that he found Mourinho’s strategies for communicating with the players in the locker room to be frightful.
The former Trabzonspor and Stoke City player recalled how Mohamed Salah received harsh criticism from the Portuguese manager as a result of his performance in a match.
“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.
“We always had a meeting with Roman. Once the team was not doing well, he came in and had a chat with us. Then he sits down, he has this guy, his friend, who sits with him – he’s the interpreter. And then he starts shouting and screaming in Russian!
“And then the guy interprets what he said in English, and he starts screaming and then goes, ‘You know what, you guys go back now and play football and start winning.’
“If we’re not winning, the next time Roman comes in, he flies in with his helicopter and comes to the training ground and that’s it, we know the manager’s gone. Once he flies in with his helicopter, the manager is gone.”
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