Xavi Hernandez has revealed how the story of Jose Mourinho being just a "translator" for Sir Bobby Robson was a myth, explaining he was very much involved in the coaching side of things during a four-year spell between 1996 and 2000.
Xavi was just a young hopeful in the Barcelona B set-up when Mourinho was at the club, and the Portuguese would regularly take control of training sessions. It seems he managed to make an impression on Xavi, who described him as an "excellent" tactician.
More interestingly, the legendary midfielder, who moved to Qatari side Al-Sadd in the summer, admits he was surprised to see Mourinho's develop a reputation for playing defensive football, suggesting the Special One was an advocate of Barcelona's total football during his spell at the Nou Camp.
SIGN UP NOW
Want to become a GMS writer? Sign up now and submit a 250 word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay4
He told ESPN: "He was excellent in his three years at Barca. They said he was a translator. Rubbish. He was the assistant coach, someone who understood the philosophy of Barca and who shared many of the same characteristics of Van Gaal.
"He was very respected by the players. He trained us sometimes alone at Barca B and he was excellent. I'm surprised that he became known for another type of football – more defensive – because he wasn't like that with us."
Set in his ways
Any football fan worth his salt knows Mourinho is the go-to guy when it comes to 'parking the bus', and few would accept that the Special One ever thought any different.
In fact, it is his regressive and restrictive way of playing football that is believed to be at the heart of the problem within the Chelsea dressing. Several of their creative players have tried to convince Mourinho to give them more freedom, but he is set in his ways.
As Diego Torres wrote in the unofficial biography of Mourinho's life, the Chelsea manager lives his life by seven sinful rules.
- The game is won by the team who commit fewer errors.
- Football favours whoever provokes more errors in the opposition.
- Away from home, instead of trying to be superior to the opposition, it’s better to encourage their mistakes.
- Whoever has the ball is more likely to make a mistake.
- Whoever renounces possession reduces the possibility of making a mistake.
- Whoever has the ball has fear.
- Whoever does not have it is thereby stronger.
And here are those philosophies in picture format