Carlton Cole says he was convinced that Chelsea manager José Mourinho was a ‘genius’ after a bruising pre-training meeting where The Special One told him some unwelcome home truths.
Carlton said he struggled to get a game after Chelsea made a number of big-name signings
Former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho once gave a player the full hairdryer treatment after a 4-0 defeat – despite not even playing.
Carlton Cole, who spent much of his Chelsea career out on loan, had returned to the team despite being, by his own admission, outclassed by a wave of big-name new signings.
He recalled: “I was thinking Drogba, Crespo Gudjohnsen, I ain’t getting in front of all them boys.”
But even Chelsea’s array of big guns faltered on one disastrous away fixture at Liverpool.
Manager Mourinho was distinctly unimpressed at his team’s 4-0 thumping
Cole told Jack Maate’s Happy Hour podcast how the players met up for a gloomy post-mortem on the match.
“We had a meeting,” he said. “They’d just got pummelled four-nil up at Anfield – I wasn’t in the squad by the way – and we had to train the next day, on a Sunday. We had a Champions League game coming up…
“So everyone was in on a Sunday, just trying to either do warm-down or getting ready for the Champions League game on the Tuesday.”
Carlton ended up playing better than he’d ever done before
Before every training session, “The Special One” would hold a briefing for the players, explaining who’d be involved and what would be expected of them.
After the thorough thrashing the team had received at Anfield, Cole expected there would be some harsh words for someone.
He was feeling, if anything, slightly relieved that he hadn’t been picked to play that day.
But he got a nasty surprise. “I’ve sat down,” he recalled, “and I’m thinking ‘Here we go … someone’s going to get the hair dryer treatment’.
“But it was all about me!”
Carlton says the harsh words transformed his game
For a full five minutes, Mourinho laid into Cole about his hard-partying lifestyle in front of the entire Chelsea squad.
“He was going to me ‘Listen, Carlton, you’re never gonna make it’,” he continued.
“’You’re not serious, all you care about is going out, you’d be lucky to be working in Tesco’s’.
“I was only 21 at the time, I was thinking ‘That’s a big drop.”
Cole was furious but accepted that he had to just listen to the criticism and not argue back.
And bizarrely, Mourinho’s harsh words had a profound effect on him.
“I’ll tell you what,” he said, “I went out to train I had the best training session of my life.
“I was like prime Ibrahimovic – just smashing balls, using my body, I was on top form.”
He bested formidable French defender William Gallas and was left marvelling at Mourinho’s ability to fire him up.
“I was thinking ‘This guy’s a genius!’” Cole added.
Author: Andrew Collins