Mourinho says ‘fantastic relationship’ enables him to criticise players

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho says his strong bond with his players means he is completely comfortable criticising them in public.

Mourinho has been quick to question some of his star names – notably Eden Hazard – in recent months.

But the Portuguese said the relationship is better for being open and honest – and compared it to the bond he had with his squad in his first stint as boss from 2004.

“It is part of my job to find the best strategy to get the best out of my players,” Mourinho said.

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“I love to praise players publicly and I don’t love to criticise, but sometimes by strategy or by frustration with a bad performance or result I do it.

“The most important thing is the personal relationship. When you have that you can criticise. A manager, coach, friend or wife criticises you for your good.

“I have a fantastic relationship with them. It reminds me of the relationship I had at Chelsea with the first group of guys.”

Mourinho was particularly harsh on his players after last season’s away loss against Saturday’s opponents Crystal Palace – one of five defeats against teams outside the Premier League’s top eight.

He praised the defence but questioned the commitment and fight of some of his attacking players after the 1-0 reverse.

“We lost last season because they were better than us in every aspect of the game,” Mourinho said. “It was one of these games where I deserved to lose.

“We have more personality to impose our game now. We have to try to play our game and not their game because in their game, they are better than us.

“We are a good team and we know that, but we know we have a long way to go and a long way to improve.

“We are in the most difficult competition in the world which is the Premier League. Here any result can happen at any stadium.

“I am not in hell when things are not going well and I am not in paradise when things are going well.”

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