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Ex-Chelsea star was so wild in training that Jose Mourinho wanted players in shinpads

Jose Mourinho was forced to consider making his Chelsea players wear shinpads in training following the arrival of Michael Essien from Lyon in 2005 – and his star players were up for it.

Two full seasons of success for the legendary Portuguese boss were enjoyed at Stamford Bridge during his first stint. He won back-to-back Premier League titles, 2004/05 and 2005/06.

Mourinho made four signings to his first-team, including Shaun Wright Phillips (Manchester City) and the aforementioned Essien.

Wright-Phillips now speaks out about the intense training sessions and how Mourinho was forced into considering safety measures.



Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho directs Chelsea players in pre-season training on the club's pre-season tour of the USA on July 22, 2005 in the New York State, USA.
Jose Mourinho was forced to consider making his Chelsea players wear shinpads in training

Speaking to Bonus Finder, Wright-Phillips said: “The tempo was completely different when I moved to Chelsea. There was a real step up in quality as well.

“It only got worse when Michael Essien joined because Mourinho was at the point where he was thinking about getting the players to train with shin pads on.

“There was so many tackles flying in and training was really competitive so I don’t think we would have blamed him if Mourinho made that decision.”

Mourinho was fired in 2007. Essien, who had been playing under Mourinho on loan at Real Madrid, stayed with the club until 2014.

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Michael Essien in action during the Chelsea training sessionon November 21, 2006 in Bremen, Germany.Chelsea will play against Werder Bremen in the UEFA Champions League at the Weser Stadium on November 22, 2006 in Bremen, Germany.
Michael Essien received 27 yellow cards and two red card in 168 Premier League appearances for Chelsea

He said of the midfielder back in 2018: “Tell you stories? I can tell you more than stories – feelings. That’s the feeling, he is more than a player for me.

“He was probably the only one who took me to his home, to the real home. He was taken to his home, the same street where he played soccer as a child.

“He made me fall in love with Ghana, with Accra where he lived, because then I had a better understanding of his mentality.



Chelsea's Deco and Michael Essien in action during training at the Guangdong Olympic Stadium on July 21, 2008 in Guangzhou, China
Chelsea’s training sessions would get very competitive under Jose Mourinho

“I understand why as a player he was ready for everything, he was ready to die for the fellow players, for the club, for the manager, why he was ready to play like he did for me at Real Madrid with a knee that was not a knee anymore.

“It was a destroyed knee but with that personality, that desire and that mentality he suffered, always he suffered, but always with a smile. Michael smiles a lot.

“I loved so many of my players but I think Michael would be on the podium for sure.”

Ex-Chelsea star was so wild in training that Jose Mourinho wanted players in shinpads
Anurag Reddy
I'm a 29-year-old travel enthusiast, travel and nature photographer, Computer Science graduate, and Mass Communication student. I have seen different shades of life through traveling and lived different lives through reading. With every word I write, I travel within, and I understand myself better. Writing helps me discover myself, and that paved roads for me to choose writing as a profession.
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