What Smalling, Pedro, Santon and Mkhitaryan Said About Mourinho

After being sacked by Tottenham, Jose Mourinho is set to take over as Roma manager next season and will find some familiar faces.

Mourinho has previously worked with Chris Smalling, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Davide Santon and Pedro, all of whom currently play for Serie A.

We took a look at what the four players said about Mourinho and what the manager said about them.

Mourinho on Mkhitaryan

– “I was not satisfied with his last performances,” Mourinho said after benching Mkhitaryan in November 2017. “I’m not talking about one or two, I’m talking about three, four or five. He started the season very well and after that, step by step, he disappeared.

“His performance levels in terms of goals and assists, pressing, recovering the ball from the top of the field, bringing the team with him as a No.10, were decreasing.

“It was enough [to drop him] because the others worked for a chance. Everyone is working for a chance. It’s that simple.”

– “I believe Mkhi is gonna be even better than he was with us»Mourinho said after the exchange agreement between Mkhitaryan and Alexis Sanchez in January 2018.

“With a year and a half in England, adapted, knows, Arsenal are playing as they think they are, I think it’s a good move for everyone, that’s why I’m also happy for Mkhi.

“Could he perform better with us, could I get more out of his talent, maybe, he could give a little more too to adapt to us, maybe but I don’t think of regrets he is in our history, such a good feeling for everyone and a very specific transfer between rivals in a great country which I have to say has to happen more times.

Mkhitaryan on Mourinho

– “At that time he was one of the most successful coaches in the world,” Mkhitaryan told The Athletic in 2021.

“I think he was the coach with the most trophies. So it was a different experience. It was very hard but I also learned a lot. I learned to defend, to help the team.

“It wasn’t just about scoring goals and providing assists. It was more of a winning team, so it didn’t matter who scored we had to win together.

“No matter who passed the pass, we always have to be happy that we won the game.”

– “[My relationship] with Mourinho was the most complicated of my career; he’s a winner by nature, ”Mkhitaryan told Yevgeny Savin in 2020.

“He wants you to win and do what he asks you to do, it’s hard for anyone. There were differences and conflicts, but they didn’t have a big impact on the hard work we did and the three trophies we won.

– “Arsenal have always played attacking football,” Mkhitaryan said in 2018. “Under Jose, the [United] the team played a little differently. But I don’t blame anyone, I don’t criticize anyone, it’s just a different philosophy.

“I can just say I’m having more fun here than I was in Manchester.”

READ: PL flop? No, Henrikh Mkhitaryan is actually one of the best players in Europe

Mourinho on Smalling

– “I mean (some of the players) have been influenced by cultural issues, influenced by a situation that has been going on for a few years,” Mourinho said after Smalling missed a game against Swansea City in 2016 due to injury.

“There is a difference between the brave, who want to be there at all costs, and those for whom a little pain can make a difference. Of course, it’s not just the players, it’s the people around the players. “

– “It’s about the philosophy and the mentality around them,” Mourinho said in 2017 after being frustrated by the lEngthy Smalling and Phil Jones recoveries. “Careful. Careful. Careful. Just a cautious approach.

“It’s a profile, it’s the philosophy of the work. Only that.”

Smalling on Mourinho

– “You can gain from that in that the manager wants you to be on that pitch,” Smalling told Sky Sports News in 2017. “He wants you to represent him and be that fighter and that warrior to him. .

“Obviously with a knee injury there are certain protocols that need to be followed. With the medical staff and with the coaches, we push all the time.

“As players, we don’t want to be sitting on the sideline or watching the games in the directors box. It’s not funny. We pushed as much as we could and I’m happy to be back.

“We speak very closely with the manager and we have a very good relationship. Throughout my injury we’ve been talking about the process and when I’ll be back, so it’s good that the manager wants you because at the end of the day he made the decision whether or not to play.

– “No, it’s just professional,” Smalling said in 2017 after being asked if Mourinho had apologized to him. “We are all professionals and no player wants to not play. It was just (him being) professional – keep rehab then get out as fast as you can.

“I think it was for everyone. We had a lot of injuries at that point and he was frustrated that a lot of players weren’t available. He knew the situation in terms of liaising with the medical staff and he was just frustrated, as were us players who wanted to be on the pitch.

Mourinho on Pedro

– “We have one of the best offensive players in the world, a player with a lot of experience and with something that I really like a lot: the desire to leave a giant club, one of the best clubs in the world. world, a club that normally when you’re there you don’t want to leave, ”Mourinho said after Chelsea signed Pedro in 2015.

“For a player like him, loved in this club and who loves the club, wanting to leave because he is looking for something more for his career… it is a clear sign of ambition.

“He wants to play every game. He won everything playing with Messi, Iniesta, all those stars. But he wants more and I’m really happy with that kind of attitude. He comes to play and try to win, and try to enjoy, not to have a vacation.

– “He’s a very good player,” Mourinho said after Pedro’s debut at Chelsea. “There is always a question mark because how many top players come to England and don’t play immediately?

“People wonder if he’s the right player, can he adapt? We have examples in our club and there are a lot of them in other clubs, it is very pleasant for him to perform as he did.

Pedro on Mourinho

– “My transfer to Chelsea was done in a few days. It all started with a call from Cesc (Fabregas), ”said Pedro after joining Chelsea.

“Mourinho then called me and it helped me make a decision. Mourinho made me feel important and gave me confidence.

“The past is there and there are people who will not forgive what happened (between Mourinho and Barcelona), but the athletes have a different way of valuing things.

“The truth is that we have an image of him which, when we know him, changes a lot. It is not what it seems.

“I like the way Mourinho works. I’m feeling good. He has a positive and winning mentality. I am delighted because I love nothing better than to win. “

– “He’s very different face to face, ”Pedro told Marca in 2015.“ He treats you like family. He values ​​and respects his players and demands a lot from them.

READ: What they said: The 14 players who will work for Mourinho and Guardiola

Mourinho on Santon

“Santon is a phenomenon, and after seeing him against Roma upside down, I knew he was capable of playing against any team, even against the European champions,»Mourinho told Sky Sport Italia in 2009.

“He just needed a coach who could trust him. I think he can become the new one [Paulo] Maldini, [Javier] Zanetti or [Giacinto] Facchetti for Inter over the next 10 to 15 years. “

Santon on Mourinho

– “Jose Mourinho had a big influence on my career at Inter Milan,” Santon said in 2012. “It was Mourinho who made me go from striker to defender. I was only 18 and I had never played this role before.

“I have now agreed to play either side of the last four. When Mourinho first changed me I played left-back, but when I went to play for the Italian national team I played right-back. But I’m happy on either side.

“Mourinho had confidence in me to put myself in this position and in Inter’s first team. I owe him a lot for pointing me in the right direction.

“It was a great experience working with Jose Mourinho and I will always thank him for what he did. I had a great time at Inter playing in the Champions League and winning the Milan derby against AC when David Beckham was my opponent and I graduated from the full Italian national team .

– “I was so young that Jose Mourinho treated me like a son, “Santon said in 2017.” At a press conference he called me ‘the baby’ and from there it all went down. came by and everyone called me that.

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