Former Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho called N’Golo Kante ‘phenomenal’ as he watched and took notes on the Carabao Cup final between Chelsea and Manchester City at the weekend.
The Portuguese is clearly a fan of the France international, which makes sense given his known work rate and defensive discipline in midfield.
Mourinho praised Kante and lifted the lid on a number of other issues in his first interview with a British paper since leaving Manchester United in December.
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Speaking with the Telegraph on Sunday, Mourinho discussed what he wants at his next club, stressing the importance for a lack of conflict more than anything else.
This could be a nod to his troubled time at Old Trafford, though he did not make much reference to Man Utd in any of the interview.
“I don’t want an internal conflict,” he said.
“I want internal empathy. And then your conflict is on Sunday on the pitch when you play against somebody who wants to steal your three points. That’s the moment of the conflict.
“I want to work in a club that understands there is a structure in place. I don’t want to work in a structure of no coincidence [unity] in the thinking. People sometimes say ‘this manager doesn’t like to work with a football director’; ‘this manager doesn’t like to work with chief scout’; ‘this manager doesn’t like to work with an owner’; ‘this manager doesn’t like to work with president’. During my career I have been working in every possible circumstance. The most successful situations are not because of the structure but because of the empathy in the structure.
“People who work well together. People who share the same kind of ideas. This is the fundamental thing. You now have a generation of players who are not just players but the whole package. You have the player, the family, the agent, the entourage, the director of communication. You sometimes have the individual’s medical people and in an extreme situation you even have what they call their ‘personal fitness guys’. When you have a player you have all these distractions. And if there is no empathy in the structure of the club you get into so many contradictions that it is really, really difficult to work.”
The piece also quotes the former Red Devils, Chelsea and Real Madrid boss as revealing he’s rejected some big offers as he seemingly waits for the right one to come along.