John Terry explains how Manchester United players can impress Jose Mourinho

by Leo Nieboer

John Terry has explained that Manchester United players can impress Jose Mourinho by pushing past the pain barrier during both training sessions and games.

The 54-year-old publicly criticised Luke Shaw, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones over the season for failing to play through pain during times when numbers in the senior squad were short.

He was conversely full of praise for Eric Bailly, who managed to play the full 90 minutes against Celta Vigo earlier this month in spite of suffering an ankle injury against Swansea City a few days before.

And Terry, speaking to Chelsea’s official website, explained how his former boss has always placed emphasis on the importance of playing through pain.

“I remember in Jose Mourinho’s years he was desperate for me to play or train when I had a broken toe and a broken bone in my foot,” he said.

“I had to have two injections in my toe every day for a whole year, one before training and sometimes the doctor would have to come out and re-inject me because it wore off in training if it was a longer session than an hour.

“It was just a given for me. I played through the pain barrier numerous times. In the 2015 Premier League-winning season when I played every minute of every game, you just find a way.

“I would do it again tomorrow… it sounds crazy but you would give your life for the football club when they have given you so much over the years.”

Mourinho’s arrival at any club tends to separate the men from the boys, so to speak. It is, after all, no coincidence that Marouane Fellaini, who recently insisted he’d break his leg for the Portuguese, has been a regular feature this season whilst Shaw, adamant prior to victory over Swansea City back in November that he wasn’t physically and mentally prepared for the game, has largely watched on from the sidelines.

This ‘Fight Club’ culture is indispensable to Mourinho’s approach: technical prowess, or even natural talent, is simply not enough; a necessary pre-condition for thriving under the Portuguese is that you have to be prepared to operate at the same level even in the face of practically unbearable physical agony.

A ruthless approach, yes. Imagine Mourinho barking at you to get back up as your leg hangs limply to one side, broken and mangled. Then again, football at this level is not about having fun, and such an unyielding mindset explains why Mourinho, even to this day, remains a serial trophy winner.

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