Jose Mourinho’s apparently gung-ho approach to man-management has claimed quite a few victims over the years. One of them is ex-Chelsea star Andre Schurrle who has said that the Portuguese tactician almost broke him down. The German was a rising star at Bayern Leverkusen when he made the move to Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2013.
Incidentally, it was Mourinho who brought Schurrle to Chelsea when the Portuguese began his second stint with the Blues. Mourinho had already enjoyed a very fruitful spell with the London side between 2004 and 2007, following which he had also enjoyed success at Inter Milan and Real Madrid before returning to Stamford Bridge.
However, controversies have always been the Portuguese manager’s constant companion. In this regard, Schurrle has given an insight on how Mourinho almost broke him down during the German player's stay at Chelsea.
I lost my self-esteem with Jose Mourinho at Chelsea: Andre Schurrle
During a season-and-a-half long spell at Chelsea, Andre Schurrle racked up 65 appearances and found the back of the net 14 times. But the player opted for a return to the Bundesliga at the beginning of 2015 and joined Wolfsburg, citing a desire for regular game-time as the reason for his decision to leave Chelsea.
In a recent interview, the 2014 FIFA World Cup winner recalled how he struggled to come to terms with Jose Mourinho’s style of management at Stamford Bridge.
"He’s a brutal guy. I always thought: What does he do? How does he treat me? What does he do with people," said Schurrle.
Schurrle now understands what the Portuguese wanted from him. But the player has revealed that it was very difficult for him to cope with the pressure while he was at Chelsea.
"In retrospect, I notice what he wanted and with what means he worked. But at the time, I couldn’t really cope with the things he wanted from me, with this harshness and this psychological pressure. Back then, it was sometimes extremely difficult," said Schurrle.
Schurrle continued in this regard:
"I often drove home when I had a conversation with him and just thought I can’t anymore. What should I do? Because he was building up such extreme pressure."
Mourinho has been known to grind his players by pushing them to the limits of their abilities. While that has worked in his favour for much of his managerial career, especially during his first spell at Chelsea and then at Inter Milan, it has also come back to haunt him during his other stints with Real Madrid and Manchester United.
Schurrle was one of the players who experienced Mourinho's grinding first hand at Chelsea, something that apparently broke the German player's ego.
"It was often the case that I played from the start, and he replaced me at half-time. And in the next game, I wasn’t in the squad and was in the stands. I couldn’t understand that at the time, and I also lost self-esteem. because the ego is hurt. Then you worry about what he might think. I sometimes had the feeling during training that he was only looking at me. But it probably wasn’t even the case," said Schurrle.
After two seasons with Wolfsburg and as many with Borussia Dortmund, Andre Schurrle returned to the Premier League, albeit on loan, with Fulham in the 2018-19 season.
However, the player spent last season on loan with Russian Premier League side Spartak Moscow before surprisingly deciding to hang up his boots in June this year, at the age of only 29.
One does wonder, though, whether things would have been different had Schurrle found his footing at Chelsea and was able to adapt to the unique demands that Mourinho places on his players.Published 24 Oct 2020, 19:13 IST