In an interview with the Guardian, Jose Mourinho revealed how he's made it a priority to clear up John Terry's growing self-doubt. The now 32-year-old defender has been consistent fodder for explosive tabloid stories, he's been stripped of the England captaincy twice (most recently after being cleared of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand in court, but banned and fined for it by the FA), and he was frequently benched by interim Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez last season.
But with the return of Mourinho at Chelsea, Terry has had his playing time and form restored. "He's recovering his self-esteem," Mourinho told the Guardian. "In the last few years he was not playing a lot, he had problems on the pitch, he had problems outside the pitch, he had suspensions for different reasons, he had injuries, he had managers who didn't trust him enough. And it looked like, at a certain moment, his career was going in the wrong direction. Even I was questioning, from far away, what was happening to this guy: physical problems, psychological problems, what is going on? I'm happy he's proving he's still a top player."
The following is a transcript of Mourinho's attempt to give John Terry the psychological boost he needed.
Mourinho: John, let's talk.
Terry: Yeah, boss. What's up?
Mourinho: I will get right to the point. I can tell that something is wrong for you. I know you have had difficult times. I have had difficult times, too. You had to deal with Rafa Benitez being jealous of me and I had to deal with Iker Casillas being disruptive cry baby. So I know your pain. But please — tell me what is wrong.
Terry: I don't know. I- I guess I'm just not feeling very confident anymore.
Mourinho: But why? You are clearly still great player. You are captain of Chelsea. You win trophies. What do you have to not be confident about?
Terry: I just...I just feel like people don't hate me as much as they used to. Like I'm old news. They've moved on to hating Luis Suarez and Jack Wilshere and I don't know who else. Younger guys who play more than I have been. I know it sounds silly — like an ego thing because every kid wants to grow up and be a genuinely despised footballer — but it means a lot to me. It helps drive me. And now I just feel unhated and worthless and I don't know what to do anymore.
Mourinho: Let me tell you something, John. I hate you. I hate you very much.
Terry: You're just saying that.
Mourinho: No. It is true. I hate you very, very much. Every single day of my life I think about how much I hate you. You are, without a doubt, the most unlikable person I have ever met. And I have met Steven Seagal.
Mourinho: Yes, John. Really. Worse than Steven Seagal.
Terry: Do you...hate me more than Luis Suarez?
Mourinho: Luis Suarez is a sleepy kitten that sneezes compared to you.
Terry: Do you think the papers will keep writing unflattering stories about me?
Mourinho: Of course they will. You're John Terry. You give people hepatitis for fun.
Terry: (smiles) That's the worst thing anyone's ever said about me.
Mourinho: You're welcome. Now I want you to play like the John Terry who people only refer to through sarcastic nicknames and jokes about adultery or taking credit for the success of others.
Terry: I can do that!
[Terry runs off, dives head first through a plate glass window.]
Mourinho: He'll never know that Pep Guardiola is a thousand times more insufferable than he could ever be.