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Jose Mourinho Passes on Knowledge to Dougie Anderson

 

DOUGIE Anderson was standing on the sidelines, watching as Jose Mourinho put his squad through another meticulous session at Chelsea's training ground. In the middle of it the coach hollered something in Portuguese to a ball boy who scuttled off. Moments later Billy McCulloch, a Scottish masseur on Chelsea's books, appeared.

 

"Jose had noticed I was on my own and didn't think that it was right that a guest of the club didn't have someone to speak to," says the SFA Development Officer, still incredulous. "Obviously, he knew I was Scottish so he sent for Billy. That's the measure of the man. There's none of the arrogance, that's just an act, a part he plays to deflect attention from his players and, you have to admit, he's good at it. In truth, though, he's a gent."

 

The ironic thing is that Anderson was so engrossed in the latest training session he had travelled to London to observe as part of his SFA 'A' Licence that company wasn't a necessity. But they do say it's the thought that counts and Mourinho seems to be a man who puts a lot of that into everything he does.

 

"Watching him, it's obvious he is top drawer, one of the best in the world," said Anderson, who has also observed the likes of Gerard Houllier and Kevin Keegan at work. "Throughout training he is going in amongst the players correcting people, stopping something if someone is maybe just two yards out of position, explaining to them and asking them what they think. The learn by discovery technique, his attention to detail and his preparation were all fascinating to watch. He gives 100% every day and absolutely nothing is left to chance."

 

Much has been made of the unrest between the Chelsea coach and owner, Roman Abramovich, but Anderson says that while dark clouds can gather as Mourinho gets involved in conversation with the likes of Peter Kenyon, they dispel as soon as the players appear or he exits on to the training ground.

 

A team plagued by defensive frailties since the injuries to Petr Cech and the talismanic John Terry, in Anderson the controversial Chelsea coach has a solid off the field defender who, having managed to get inside the normally-closed door training sessions, insists acting is not the former Champions League and Uefa Cup winning coach's only forte.

"I wrote to him when I first started the A licence in May and thought there was no chance because it is usually a closed shop and even the media struggle to get in to see training. But I got a letter back saying I could go down and watch a session."

 

That letter is now in a frame alongside a Chelsea shirt on the walls of his Galashiels office. The pinboard behind the computer is littered with snapshots of Anderson with several high-profile players and managers he has crossed paths with on coaching courses but it is the countless photographs with Mourinho which dominate. Even in celluloid he is an overpowering presence. But behind the facade there is a brilliance and a warmth, according to Anderson, who will present a session at Largs this week based on his trips to Chelsea.

 

"Originally I wanted to see a preparation for a game because I thought I would only get one hit but, because of the fixtures, the first time I went down was a Friday and although it was the day before a game, it was actually a relaxed day because they had also had a game midweek. So, although I was delighted to be there it wasn't quite the insight I had hoped for. But, with no prompting from me, Jose said 'look this hasn't been ideal for you, you haven't seen how I deliver a proper session so you are more than welcome to come back.'

 

"The next time I went down it was the Wednesday and Thursday before they played West Ham and because they hadn't had a midweek game I was able to see their normal preparation. Jose actually changed his system for that game, from the 4-3-3 he had been using all season to a 4-4-2 diamond and I saw how he went about that. It was fascinating."

 

As development officer for the Borders, Anderson is used to working with schoolchildren and promising youngsters in the region's development squad and marvelled at the quality of stars at Chelsea but also the way in which they too were captivated by Mourinho.

 

"He is the boss and even if you didn't know who he was, I think you would know that the minute you walk in. It's no nonsense, he has the total respect of the players because of what he has achieved at Porto and Chelsea and they all buy into it. Everyone at the club buys into it and what I felt the minute I walked in the door was a tremendous team spirit, from the receptionist to the chef.

 

"Everyone treats each other with respect. Everyone was driving towards success and it was different from other clubs I have visited and that's no disrespect to them. There was a real feeling of collectiveness and camaraderie but when training starts they are all totally switched on. Giving 110% in everything they do. The quality of session in terms of passing and movement, I have never seen anything quite like. The use of the ball, their first touch, the way they listen and take things on board, it was a pleasure to watch that level of player."

 

Beguiling for Anderson, a product of the SFA coaching system, was witnessing Largs teachings being utilised to great effect by former pupil Mourinho. "Everything is done with the ball. We have shown that you can reach fitness levels working with the ball and improving technique at the same time. Gone are the days when you need to do a five-mile run. If you want to do it then fine but players are normally motivated by the ball and in every session I saw in the five days I've been down at Chelsea, everything was with the ball and every exercise had a purpose.

 

"There are a lot of small-sided games, which is what we in Scotland are now encouraging, not just for youngsters but adults as well. A lot of 4v4 games and high intensity games, focusing on possession or switch of play. No doggies but everything was high intensity, just with the ball and, again, it was the attention to detail. Everything was precise.

 

"The measurements of the park had to be spot-on. Mourinho would notice if the markers were out by a foot and they would have to be moved. Even the session plans. We try to get lesser coaches to do them and to evaluate and log them but some won't. Jose, his assistant Steve Clarke and reserve team coach Brendan Rodgers do it religiously.

"He is a brilliant coach and manager but a lot of his ideas I have seen on SFA courses.

 

I've no doubt that the fact the original letter I sent was on headed SFA paper got me my in. To be honest I kept myself to myself but he is such a decent and well-mannered guy that he would make time to speak to me and discuss Scotland and the fact he did his Uefa B licence here. He spoke fondly of the course and how he had taken to the Scottish people and how much his wife loves coming to Scotland. I think he appreciates that the course has played a part somewhere along the line."

 

So much for the view of Mourinho as an arrogant know-it-all. "In my opinion the best are always open to suggestions. There are new flat markers we use for training and I took one down with me and showed him it. The next time I went down, they were using them. He's not afraid to take ideas on board and it's the small things he does that impress."

Success is always in the detail.

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Guest icemanblue

Impressive. Can't see the same amount of praise coming from someone visiting a Toon training session...

 

'Glenn then came out to begin practice. The players ignored him and went about their business. Two hours later, I found Glen weeping in the arms of Chairman Freddy Shepherd.'

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Guest Knightrider

SBR talks fondly about him in his book, about his methods and his training style, he used to be a spy for SBR, grassing on the players :lol:

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Impressive. Can't see the same amount of praise coming from someone visiting a Toon training session...

 

'Glenn then came out to begin practice. The players ignored him and went about their business. Two hours later, I found Glen weeping in the arms of Chairman Freddy Shepherd.'

 

sp.Glenn

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Guest icemanblue

Impressive. Can't see the same amount of praise coming from someone visiting a Toon training session...

 

'Glenn then came out to begin practice. The players ignored him and went about their business. Two hours later, I found Glen weeping in the arms of Chairman Freddy Shepherd.'

 

sp.Glenn

 

I got one right, gimme a break! The other was an honest typing error. I promise.  :blush:

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