Steven Gerrard has made me a better manager: Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho calls Steven Gerrard a "dear enemy" and said he is saddened that this would be the last time he'll face the Liverpool captain
Newly crowned Premier League Champions, Chelsea, host Liverpool on Sunday, 10th May. Manager Jose Mourinho, in his pre-match press conference, revealed his admiration for Steven Gerrard and said that he is the manager he is because of the Reds captain.
He said that opponents like Gerrard make him think and hence make him a better manager.
“It is with opponents like him that I am the manager that I am, because I learn with my players and I learn with my best opponents,” Mourinho admitted.
“I learn with my players' problems, my players' doubts, my players' qualities and I learn with my best opponent, with the problems they give me – the way they make me think, the way they make me analyze them and studying the best way to play against them.”
“To try to stop Gerrard has been very, very difficult”
He called the mercurial midfielder his “dear enemy” and admitted that stopping the former England captain has been “very, very difficult”.
“Steven Gerrard is for sure one of my favourite enemies – an enemy with all the good feeling I can express with that word in football,” said the Chelsea manager.
“For sure, in England he is my dear enemy. For sure, he is the one that made me a better manager. To stop him or try and stop him has been very, very difficult.”
Mourinho tried to sign Gerrard at three different clubs
Mourinho revealed that he tried to separate Gerrard from his boyhood club with three different clubs – namely, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid. He said that Gerrard has had an amazing career and admired his loyalty to Liverpool.
“I tried to bring him to Chelsea, I tried to bring him to Inter (Milan), I tried to bring him to Real Madrid, but he was always a dear enemy,” Mourinho accepted.
“I want to honour him and I hope Stamford Bridge has the same feeling as I have, which is we need people like him as our opponents.
When asked if he regretted not managing Gerrard, the self-proclaimed special one said, “No, no. I am very happy that he didn't (leave).
“In the end I think he had an amazing career and (such) an amazing feeling with his people that he refused to play for other big clubs – he refused to play in other big leagues to play only for Liverpool.
“It's too late to sign him. He can't play against Liverpool. He's done an amazing career with his people. I think this is a feeling that stays forever.”
Gerrard and Lampard were the best two No. 8s in Europe: Mourinho
Gerrard came close to joining Chelsea back in 2005, but stayed with Liverpool. If Gerrard would have signed for Chelsea, he would have been paired with another Englishman Frank Lampard.
Mourinho revealed how he would have played the duo together if he ever had the opportunity to manage them. He claimed that the two together would score more goals than a striker and a No. 10.
“I always thought that both (Gerrard and Lampard) were the best two No. 8s in Europe,” he said.
“In my opinion and my vision with them you don't play a number 10, you play with one number six and give the freedom to the two number eights because they score more goals than any number 10. So Lampard with 30 goals a season from midfield and Gerrard with 25, they score more goals together than a No. 10 and the striker.”
In the end, he admitted he was saddened that he’ll be facing Gerrard for the last time and proclaimed his wish of playing against a team managed by the Liverpool captain.
“I am very sad this is the last time I will face him.
“Who knows, (maybe) I will play against Steven as a Liverpool manager one day,” Mourinho concluded.