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Jose Mourinho, former Chelsea manager and now directing Inter Milan, talks to commentator Jamie Redknapp about the differences he sees in the way the game is played in Italy and England
Mourinho: It's all about passion, talent and never mind the score: Jose Mourinho
First and foremost: Jose Mourinho with his Inter players at training; and all the time he is looking for passion Photo: AFP
Jamie Redknapp: You like English players. You worked with John Terry. I know you are very close to Frank Lampard. What do you think are the main differences between Italian footballers and English footballers, in terms of their mentality?
JM: [laughs] It is difficult to say because I don't have only Italian players. I have two or three Italian players. Our name says Internazionale - but I have players from 10-12 different countries.
Â I guess it is easier to be a manager in England. You have a different concept of who is the boss, what the boss means. Just by that principle, it is much easier.
Here [in Italy] you must be top, top, top in the way that you manage emotions. Because players are more free to express themselves, to express an opinion. Something I was doing with my people at Chelsea was to make them participate more in the whole process. I don't like to be the kind of leader who works alone. I want people to be involved in my projects.
At Chelsea I had to fight for that. And I took some time to make people join my project. After that, you have players in hand, you have players in the pocket. Everybody belongs to the same family. And everybody expresses themselves. Here people feel more free. It's a different way of life.
You were a top player Jamie, you know that in England the intensity of the game is higher than any other country. But at the same time - and I tell this to your cousin [Frank], because I speak with him often - here it is more difficult to play football. Every team is much, much better organised from the tactical point of view. I used to say that a top team in England is at the same level as a top team in Italy or even better. The last few years the Champions League results show that the top Italian teams were not at the level of the top English teams. But when you go to the championship reality, the small teams in Italy are better than the small teams in England.
It's much more difficult for a top team in Italy to win a game than in England because, from the tactical point of view, people are not worried about the quality of the show. People are just worried about the result. So, if a team comes for example, to Stamford Bridge, loses 1-0 and doesn't kick a ball towards the goal of Petr Cech, people will criticise. No quality, no ambition in that game.
If a team comes to the San Siro, loses 1-0, doesn't kick a ball to our goal and they park two buses, they are not criticised for that. Here you play just for the result. For the big teams to win, it's more difficult.
JR: What advice would you give to any young player that dreams of becoming a professional footballer?
JM: Passion is the key for everything. As an example: I don't know if my kid is going to be a football player or not. The only thing I know is that he sleeps with a ball. He takes the ball to bed, he takes the ball to school. Sometimes he forgets a book - but he never forgets the ball. Of course, he is a kid of nine years old. When you have kids of 15, 16, 17, that passion is still key. If you are not in love with the game, how can you choose this life for the next 10 or 15 years?
Passion is the thing I always want. If I see one of my players without the passion to train every day, I feel very sad because I think that passion is the key. After that, talent. Because if you have no talent, you have no chance. So when I look to a young player and I try to guess, to feel if he can reach the highest level. I go for quality and for passion. This is very important."
JR: From a manager's point of view - and my dad always said this to me - the most difficult part is telling a young player that they are not going to be good enough to make it at their club.
JM: I had that experience because, in my beginning, I was a sub-16, sub-14 coach in my home city. In the summer, before the season starts, you always have that period of trials, where you have 100 kids from which to choose 10 or 15 to make your squad for the year. And that is heartbreaking.
The school system should provide protection. Because one thing is football for all, sports for all. Another thing is the road to excellence, the road to competition. When the kid does not have the talent for that road to excellence, I think the school system must provide protection. Which is to give them conditions to participate. If a kid is not good enough for a club competition, for sure, he's good enough for a school competition. In countries where the school sports system is very well-organised - for example, the United States - this isn't a problem. I think the school system, the government, the country should provide protection for this kind of disappointment. And the disappointment in the kids, sometimes, is dramatic.
JR: Sometimes I just feel that kids who have been at a football club, where everything has been laid on a plate for them, don't realise how lucky they are.
JM: I have some boys [at Inter Milan] and, in your career, you had some boys in the same teams as you - that they don't know how lucky they are. This is one of the things that kills me: when I have a kid with talent, with the opportunity, and they don't understand it. Sometimes they only understand it when the career is over. When they become 30 or 35, it is then that they say: 'I made a mistake, I lost the chance'.
JR: What does Jose Mourinho look for in a young player?
JM: "It's a cocktail of qualities. It's difficult for me to say which one is the most important: ambition, passion, desire. Of course, technically they must be good. Intelligent to understand the tactical evolution of the game, the process that you are going to put them through. I think the best way to describe it is to say there is a cocktail. We go for the profile which is the perfect profile: he's fast, he's strong, he has agility, technically he's great, he has imagination; he has self-confidence; he's not afraid to risk some actions in the game; he understands football.
The product comes to you, not handed, but after one year or two years, you finish the product and you feel proud. For example, for me, Santon [Davide] is playing for the Italian national team at 18 years old. He came here at 16Â½ and was nobody. Your dad, with Frank Lampard; when he was at this level, playing for West Ham. He was nobody. These kind of situations are like cups, these are trophies, for us managers.
Jamie Redknapp was interviewing Jose Mourinho for Football's Next Star, which starts tonight at 8pm on Sky1 HD. The seven-part series follows Redknapp as he mentors a group of children hoping to win a contract at Inter Milan