Former Nigeria midfielder, John Obi Mikel, has admitted that Tottenham Hotspur manager, Jose Mourinho, helped him to become the player he is today during their stint together at Chelsea.
Mikel Obi, 33, said Mourinho didn’t just help him football-wise, but helped him grow up at Stamford Bridge.
The ex-Super Eagles captain who currently plays for Stoke City in the Championship, played under Mourinho in the Portuguese’s two separate spells at Chelsea.
The Nigerian midfielder made 119 appearances under Mourinho, who is known for his strict management approach.
“He [Jose Mourinho] didn’t just help me football-wise. He was one of the guys who helped me grow up,” Mikel told The Athletic.
“Coming to Chelsea, I acted like it would be the same as playing for Nigeria Under-17s. He quickly made me realise this was not the under-17s! There is no messing about anymore. I had to wake up.”
Mikel added, “It is because he cares about you so much and really wants you to be that player because he knows you have that quality inside of you.
“Otherwise, he wouldn’t care. If he does things to you, it’s because he really believes in you. I took it in the right way, and I worked, and I worked on myself. And then I became the player that he wanted me to be.”
“Obviously, Mourinho was the one who changed things, but I wouldn’t say he ruined my career or whatever! I still played as a No 10 for the national side. Mourinho is a manager I will always look up to.
“Of all the managers I had, he was the toughest. I knew that if I could survive him, I could survive pretty much anyone! He made me who I am today. I will always be thankful to him.”