Carlo Ancelotti claims any problems in the Real Madrid dressing room immediately evaporated following Jose Mourinho’s departure from the club, with the Santiago Bernabeu now a significantly happier place in the absence of the Portuguese.
Mourinho’s last season with Real Madrid was a tumultuous one as numerous fractures opened up behind the scenes, with the manager most notably enduring a bitter relationship with captain and club icon Iker Casillas.
Dressing room problems
His time in Spain ended with a mutual agreement to terminate his contract, with Mourinho then, of course, returning for a second spell in charge at Chelsea, something that had seemed inevitable for several months.
Ancelotti, himself a former Chelsea manager, left his position with Paris Saint-Germain in order to assume the vacant position with Real Madrid and, once he had arrived, found a dressing room that had been united after Mourinho’s exit.
Madrid have since gone on to win the Champions League, something Mourinho and many before him were unable to do with Los Blancos, but Ancelotti takes no credit for the 'serenity' among his players.
“Before I arrived I was aware that there were lots of problems in the dressing room – problems between some players and Mourinho,” Ancelotti told So Foot.
“Everything that happened in private would end up in the papers the next day. But when I took charge, everything had returned to calm. I didn’t inherit any tensions.
“Was I responsible for returning peace to the dressing room? No, no. When I arrived there was already a lot of serenity.
“Ever since I arrived, there hasn’t been one fight in the dressing room. I have never had an unmotivated player or any confrontations with players who haven’t played as much as they’d want to.”
Mourinho’s reputation as a supreme man-manager and motivator took a serious battering during his time in Madrid, having seemingly lost a large portion of the dressing room, most significantly the influential Spanish contingent.
He was unafraid to be publicly critical of his players, something that understandably was difficult to digest for some, and it is a trait he has carried back to Chelsea since his return, albeit with less genuine malice than in Madrid.
Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku, who have both since been sold, are two players to have been on the end of public tongue lashings from Mourinho, who has established himself as a far more prickly character than his first stint in the Premier League.