Glen Johnson’s revelations about Jose Mourinho while both were at Stamford Bridge flies in the face of the general opinion held of the manager. In England he’s revered as a blockbuster individual for the media, while players, for the most part, speak of the loyalty and commitment Mourinho has to his squads.
But Johnson isn’t an exception. It was only two months ago that Juan Mata packed up and left Chelsea for Manchester United due to what some believed to be unfair treatment from Mourinho. Kevin de Bruyne also returned to Germany on a permanent basis after failing to win over the Portuguese in west London.
And then there’s the chaos that broke out during Mourinho’s final season in charge at Real Madrid, with senior Spanish players at odds with the manager, backed by the press and fuelled by the benching of Iker Casillas.
But what Johnson has come out with is a little off target. He may be performing regularly under Brendan Rodgers when fit, but his claim that Rodgers is a better manager and better man manager than Mourinho doesn’t hold much water.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a nomadic striker who has clashed with a number of high-profile managers during his career, including Louis van Gaal, Fabio Capello and famously Pep Guardiola, had nothing but good things to say about Mourinho. The Swedish international didn’t hold fire when calling Guardiola a coward and various other profanities while he was in Spain, so you wouldn’t think he’d hold back from telling it how it is with Mourinho. Such is the nature of Ibrahimovic that you can take a good deal of faith in what he says.
Johnson is evidently fuelled by a forgettable time spent at Chelsea. Couldn’t we call into question Johnson’s quality at the time, or even now? Mourinho has seen a far greater number of world-class players in his time as manager than Brendan Rodgers, obviously. He’s very specific about what he wants from his players, and even during his first two season at Chelsea, he laid down a tactical template that he would go on to use at each of his following two clubs. If Johnson wasn’t up to the task, or simply wasn’t to the manager’s liking, it’s not really grounds for personal attacks in the form the Liverpool defender has constructed.
It’s something of an eye-opener, as most players outside of Spain have nothing but good things to say about Mourinho. Johnson’s motivation, however, doesn’t quite fit with the reality that he wasn’t good enough for Mourinho’s team back then.