Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech has heaped praise on his former manager Jose Mourinho for the winning mentality he brought to the Chelsea dressing room.
The 54-year-old arrived at Stamford Bridge in 2004, famously announcing himself as the “Special One”, before claiming two Premier League titles on the bounce.
He has made an ebullient start to his latest Premier League campaign, this time with Manchester United, claiming three straight wins to claim top spot ahead of the international break.
And Cech, whose Arsenal side currently lie in 16th, was quick to point out the valuable influence Mourinho had on his career.
“When he [Mourinho] arrived at Chelsea from Porto, he brought the main thing: he came from a club where it was not acceptable to him to finish second in the championship,” he said.
“He brought the same spirit to Chelsea. He thinks only about victory, whatever the price.
“He hates draws. If we returned to the dressing room with a draw, it was known that he would not be satisfied. On the other hand, he also wanted be able to keep a 1-0 or beat a team 5-0 if possible. No matter how, Mourinho wants the result.”
Cech is praising Mourinho here, but in doing so he is simultaneously pointing out what the current Arsenal set-up lacks. That brutal, unswerving insistence on only first spot being acceptable is nowhere to be seen at the Emirates, sacrificed in the interest of maintaining a particular playing style that, while often attractive, has failed to deliver silverware time and time again.
But that isn’t the concern of United supporters. The man at the helm at Old Trafford has been here many times before, and knows better than most how to preserve a winning mentality throughout a long, gruelling campaign.