Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

This Man Taught Jose How to Rule; Professor Manuel Sergio, Now 82, Is the Amazing Mentor of Jose Mourinho. He Reveals Why He Believes the Chelsea Boss Is a True Genius. Exclusive Report

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

This Man Taught Jose How to Rule; Professor Manuel Sergio, Now 82, Is the Amazing Mentor of Jose Mourinho. He Reveals Why He Believes the Chelsea Boss Is a True Genius. Exclusive Report

Article excerpt

Byline: MATT HUGHES

IF Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger are seeking the secret of Jose Mourinho's phenomenally successful first season in England, then they should speak to an octogenarian philosophy professor from Lisbon.

For all the assistance Bobby Robson and Louis van Gaal gave the young Mourinho at Barcelona, Professor Manuel Sergio is his true mentor.

Mourinho first encountered the professor while studying a sports science degree at the Technical University of Lisbon in 1984 and, after his father Felix, Sergio has been the biggest influence on his career.

It was during Sergio's philosophy lectures that Mourinho formed the radical coaching blueprint that is the basis of Chelsea's training sessions today, taking his teacher's ideas on the importance of a global approach to physical training and the primacy of human relations and adapting them to the football field.

Having stayed in touch with Sergio after graduation they became good friends and Mourinho is not slow to acknowledge the professor's contribution to his career.

He said: "I always refer to a teacher of mine, from a subject not really connected, but that always pushed me to a determined way of thinking: Professor Manuel Sergio.

"He would always say that a coach who only sees football is weak, but it will never be so if it becomes a specialist in human science. I cling to that and play with people's emotions, acting according to my interests."

As the author of 27 books and a former member of Portugal's National Assembly it is strange that Sergio should spend much of his retirement talking about a young football coach, not that he seems to mind.

In the gardens of a swish Lisbon hotel, the 82-year-old detailed his influence over the young Mourinho and revealed that many of the Chelsea manager's methods come from his own 1986 thesis, The Science Of Human Movement. Sergio said: "I didn't teach Jose everything he knows but gave him some ideas.

"He grabbed some of my fundamental principles and put them into practice. He looked at my ideas and developed them in his own way.

"He's a man that listens, but when he's made his decision he's a lonely man.

"Jose is renowned in Portugal for his new coaching methods of movement, many of which I created. Jose doesn't work in an old-fashioned way and always trains with the ball. He centralises everything on the ball, training every aspect at the same time rather than specialising.

"This was written down in my thesis, The Science Of Human Movement. The essence is that we must concentrate on the global aspects of physical training."

Sergio believes that what sets Mourinho apart from his rivals is the strength of his relationship with his players.

The importance of human relationships was another lesson he learned at university, with Sergio echoing that great West Indian philosopher CLR James on cricket by asking 'What do they know of football who only football know?'

He said: "Mourinho's a genius. He does for training what Pele and Diego Maradona did for playing, it's the same thing. He's the ultimate postmodern soccer coach.

"He knows how to lead men and has first-class knowledge. Above all he's a specialist in human relations.

"The difference between Mourinho and other coaches is that he gives more importance to human relations than all the rest. I told him that he could know everything about physics and football, but if you know nothing about human relations you will be like all the other coaches."

Having first encountered Mourinho 21 years ago, Sergio recalls a hardworking young man, with a rare combination of natural gifts and a determination to succeed. …

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