Cesc Fabregas has claimed that Jose Mourinho has an “edge” over Arsene Wenger and Pep Guardiola when it comes to winning and is the best manager he has played for.
Chelsea clinched the Premier League title on Sunday, meaning Mourinho averages a trophy every 34 games in his managerial career and has won eight championships in four different countries.
This was the first time Fabregas has won the Premier League title, having lifted the FA Cup at Arsenal and won La Liga and the Copa del Rey at Barcelona.
Like Mourinho, Arsenal manager Wenger has won three Premier League titles. Guardiola secured three La Liga titles while he was in charge at Barca and has won the Bundesliga twice with Bayern Munich.
“He (Mourinho) just loves winning,” said Fabregas. “I’m not saying other managers I have played under don’t, but he has some edge that goes above anyone else I have ever been with.
“The mentality he shows in every single training session, or game, I now understand why he has won what he has won in his career. He’s the best manager and he has to get results and he always manages to do that.”
Asked whether Mourinho has a magic touch, Fabregas replied: “Yes, 100 per cent. He knows how to manage a team, he knows how to get the best out of you and that’s what you want from a manager.
“A manager that can motivate a player every three days, when you play 60 games a season, it is not easy. Trust me. Everyone thinks that we have a big squad, but we don’t, 22 players, and some of them are from the academy, and Under-21s. So it’s not easy. He actually is doing a fantastic job.”
In terms of his club career, Fabregas, who has won the World Cup and European Championship with Spain, rates this season’s Premier League success as one of his top three achievements – in which Arsenal do not feature.
“This (Chelsea’s title success) is in the top three for sure,” said Fabregas. “Winning the title with Barca, getting 100 points with Barca was amazing, I played 36 games then, I played 32 games here, champions, so obviously you feel important and that’s what you want as a player. You want to feel part of it and that’s what I’m doing at Chelsea.”
Fabregas was handed the responsibility of giving the dressing-room speech to the rest of the Chelsea squad ahead of the Crystal Palace game and could be in line to take over the club’s vice-captaincy if, as expected, goalkeeper Petr Cech leaves in the summer.
Having turned 28 on Monday, Fabregas is one of the more senior players in the Chelsea squad and believes the team can win plenty more silverware together.
“Before every game, a player gives a speech and the manager allows me to feel like a leader, to feel important to the team, and that is always good for a player to feel like you have the confidence of the manager,” said Fabergas.
“It was me who gave the speech before the Palace game. It was a special one, but I cannot say what I said. It worked, so, yes, I am happy.
“In terms of age, I’m getting more to the top of the group than to the middle. But I have always said since the beginning of the season that it is a very young, talented team. That as well was one of the reasons that made me sign for the club, because, potentially, this team can be one of the best in Europe.”
Eden Hazard crowned a brilliant personal season that saw him win the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year award by scoring the goal that secured the title for Chelsea against Palace.
“Eden’s had a fantastic season, I just want for him to do it again next year and to be even better,” said Fabregas. “He’s the main guy. In my mind, he is the guy that makes this team better than it is.
“Next year he has to prove himself in the Champions League as well because he is capable of that and I am sure he will give many big nights of glory to this club.”
Asked specifically if Hazard can be a special player, such as his close friend Lionel Messi, Fabregas added: “He can be one of those, for sure. He can be up there, for sure.”
Meanwhile, Chelsea captain John Terry insists he will not “embarrass” himself and will know when to hang his boots up before anybody else.
Terry has played every minute of every game of Chelsea’s Premier League title success, making a mockery of Rafa Benitez’s assessment that the defender could not play two games in a week.
“There will come a point when enough is enough, but I’ll know when that is and I’ll be the first to say ‘Listen, I can’t do this no more’, said 34-year-old Terry. “The last thing I want to do is go out there and get embarrassed every week. It will be for me to say and I’ll make sure I’m ahead of everyone else.”
During his time as Chelsea’s interim manager in the 2012/13 season, Benitez dropped Terry and suggested he could no long cope with the physical demands of playing two or three times a week.
“He said I couldn’t play two games a week, let alone three and I’ve played every minute of every Premier League game this season,” said Terry. “I don’t need to stand here and prove him wrong. My football’s done that for my whole career.
“That’s his opinion and as a player you have to respect that. But it’s nice to respond the way I have in the last two years. I’ve played every minute of every game this year and I hope to go on and play every minute of every game until the end. It will be even more special.
“Even at school, it was my mentality to prove people wrong. That’s my mentality. Even in life you have to bounce back and respond. At times I’ve had to do that. I’ve had to dig deep and I feel as if I’ve done that in my career.
“When people write you off, it does spur you on for sure. It’s not nice to read when you’ve been at the top for so long. I know there will be a point when that’s it.”