Rio de Janeiro, March 21 (IANS) Jose Mourinho maintains the respect of Chelsea’s players despite his December sacking from the coach’s position of the current English champions, according to midfielder Willian.
There have been reports that Mourinho’s exit coincided with dissenting voices within Chelsea’s dressing room amid the club’s worst start to a season since 1978, reports Xinhua.
But Willian said he saw no evidence of ill-feeling towards the manager and praised the Portuguese for improving him as a player.
“Mourinho is one of the best managers in the world, shown by his record and the titles he has won,” the 27-year-old said on Sunday.
“He demands a lot. But I can’t criticise him for anything. He always believed in me and helped me to improve. I never saw any tension between him or the players. There are times when things don’t go well. In many games, we played well but the ball would often not go to the net, whereas it did for the opposition.”
Willian has arguably been Chelsea’s best player this season and is now one of the first players picked by coach Dunga in Brazil’s national team.
He is set to be given a right midfield role in Brazil’s World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay in Recife on Friday and Paraguay in Asuncion four days later.
Despite Brazil’s harrowing 1-7 home defeat to Germany in the 2014 World Cup and their quarter-final exit at last year’s Copa America, Willian said better days for the team are not far away.
And he dismissed talk of a dearth of talent in a country once famed for its production line of international stars.
“Brazil doesn’t have a bad generation. We have good players, we just need to win titles,” Willian said.
“There is always pressure to perform when playing for Brazil. The game against Germany will go down in history. But there has always been that pressure.”
“Our generation is good. You only need to look at Brazilian players who are making a difference at some of the biggest clubs in the world. What occurred in the World Cup is unlikely to happen again. The image of Brazilian players in Europe hasn’t been affected.”
“Clubs continue to want to sign Brazilian players. Just look at what Douglas Costa is doing at Bayern Munich or Philippe Coutinho at Liverpool or Neymar at Barcelona. That gives instant recognition to the national team.”