Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers has praised Jose Mourinho’s contribution to his development as a coach, after describing his philosophy as a manager who values tactical discipline.
The Swans boss was approached by Mourinho with the offer of becoming youth team manager at Chelsea, and later became reserve team chief at the Stamford Bridge club, before leaving to manage Reading and Watford before his move to Swansea last year.
“Jose was a fantastic influence for me,” Rodgers told Yahoo.
“When you get the chance to work with such managers it gives you a chance to learn from the best and develop. The more experience you have the better, and I have been very fortunate to be able to work with lots of very good managers, world-class managers.
“When you move into management, you're working alone - you can't look to imitate or be anyone else, and you have to carry your own ideas with you. I have then hopefully been intelligent enough to take on board the good and the bad, and work it into my own identity.”
Asked about the Portuguese’s influence on his tactical philosophy and Swansea’s current 4-3-3, he replied: “I do stay in touch with him. But it wasn't just at Chelsea that I came round to that way of thinking.
“From 20 years of age I studied in Spain and travelled throughout Europe, to understand the structure and the formation of 4-3-3. Going to Chelsea allowed me to explore and experiment with how far you can take that system with really good players.
“I like my teams to be attractive and creative, but also with good tactical discipline, and that is really the core of all our work each and every day.
“In terms of coaching I like my players to be technically strong and understand the game tactically, but I also think it's vital to maximise the extent to which every player can play the game, and it's also very important to understand the human needs element of players.”
Rodgers also credited Diego Maradona as his boyhood hero: “His power, his strength and his technical ability with one foot was incredible. He wasn't just a good player, he was a great player. I really admired him and thought he was a wonderful player.”
The Swans boss however spread the honours for the finest players he ever coached, commenting: “I suppose you could separate it into different categories.
“Players like Frank Lampard and John Terry have a great training mentality and are great contributors to the team.
“I suppose in terms of sheer quality in training on a daily basis, I would have to say Deco. When he came from Barcelona to Chelsea he was an incredible trainer, he could really master the ball and just had this genuine quality. He was outstanding in terms of football ability.”
Asked about his side’s lessons learned so far this season in encounters with England’s biggest sides, he responded: “It certainly reinforced the quality of the players at that level - you can get punished for just one mistake.
"No matter how long the game has gone on and how well you're doing, you can get punished for just one mistake and have the possibility of conceding a goal.
“We have had an excellent start, sat in mid-table in 10th position after seven games, and that's having played Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea. It's given us confidence that we can go and compete, which is very important.”
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