Chelsea‘s veteran midfielder Mikel Obi has explained in detail how Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte are different in their managerial ideas.
To confirm a fact that the management at Stamford Bridge were not only in disagreement with Mourinho’s managerial philosophy, Mikel says the team wasn’t fit enough under the Portuguese manager.
Image: Jose Mourinho
The former Chelsea coach and now Manchester United boss, achieved great success with The Blues though his last season at Stamford Bridge made a mockery of his earlier successes.
Mourinho exited for an interim manager Guus Hiddink, who championed Chelsea’s campaign to a disgraceful 10th place finish in the 2015/2016 English Premier League season.
Antonio Conte arrived last summer and was expected to savor any dignity left for the squad which was fast losing respect among rivals.
Image: Antonio Conte
The Nigerian reveals Chelsea’s Italian manager had to double their training sessions during the club’s pre-season tour. Players also had their diets changed in order to improve fitness levels.
“Yes, I think it played a part last season (not being fit enough),” Mikel told Goal. “One thing is for sure, the team is a lot fitter this season. A lot of players are going to be much, much fitter and that is only going to help the team.
“[Double sessions] That’s the way he wants to train, that’s his style, that’s his way that he thinks we can win and that he thinks can get Chelsea back to where they belong. Obviously, quite a lot was made last year that a lot of the players were not fit, so the club decided to go for someone to make sure we are fit.
“The players have responded very well to him, we are going with whatever the manager wants to do in training, everyone is putting in their best and we have to keep going his way.
“We have to make sure we keep doing whatever the manager wants to do and if we can improve the team that way then I think everybody is on board with that.”
Image shows Mikel Obi and teammate during a training session.
Mourinho admitted in August that his decision to give his champions an extended vacation period was a big mistake. And Mikel says the club learnt a lesson from that error, adding that they’re ready for another history.
“Well, I think we lost quite a lot of games in the previous pre-season,” he added. “I think in this year’s pre-season, we didn’t lose as many games as we lost in the previous season under Mourinho.
“I have never run as much, in any pre-season ever, as I ran and I think that is going to play a massive part. It is only going to help us through the season. I think when teams are getting tired, we are still going to be fit and that is only going to help and I think that is one of the major differences I can see.
“I don’t want to look at the games, but in the training and the philosophy is quite different and, I think, he knows what he wants and if we can do that I think we are going to be successful.”
The 29-year-old Nigerian played a key role under interim boss Guus Hiddink during Chelsea’s last season campaign.
However, Mikel is yet to taste Premier League action under Italian boss Antonio Conte though he believes his time will come if he keeps working hard.