Former Chelsea and German World Cup winner Andre Schurrle revealed that he struggled psychologically under Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho at Chelsea.
Schurrle secured a £13 million move to Chelsea in 2013. It was an attractive proposition as the west London club had won the Champions League the year prior and Mourinho would be the incoming manager.
Playing under the Chelsea manager and having Frank Lampard as his teammate “was the absolute dream” he said. “My mum couldn’t believe it, she kept the matchday programme.”
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The excitement was a short-lived though as he left Chelsea at the end of the 2013/14 season, taking a Premier League medal home with him in the title-winning year.
Mourinho’s player management style clearly didn’t sit right with Schurrle. He got minimal time on the pitch, which eroded his confidence.
"He’s (Mourinho) a brutal guy," he said in a YouTube interview with German presenter Joko Ein Gespräch.
"I always thought to myself: What does he do anyway? Why does he treat me like this? Why does he do this to people?
“In retrospect, I realise what he wanted and what resources he was working with. At the time, I couldn't really deal with the things he wanted from me because of all the harshness and the psychological pressure.
Back then, it was extremely difficult. I would often drive home after conversations with him and just thought I couldn't do it anymore. What could I do? He was building up such extreme pressure.
Schurrle became conscious of the fact that he was out of favour in Mourinho’s starting eleven and that affected the player mentally.
He said: “It was often the case that I played from the start and then he'd replace me at half-time. Then, in the next game, I wasn't in the squad and I was in the stands. I couldn't understand that at the time and I lost my self-esteem. My ego was hurt.
“Then I started thinking about what must be going through his mind. Sometimes during training, I had the feeling that he was only looking at me, even if that probably wasn't the case.”
The player surprised many people when he announced his retirement from football at the age of 29. After being released by Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund in the summer it was time to call it a day in football.
His career consisted of a record 57 caps for Germany and nearly 400 appearances in football. He notably provided the assist for Mario Gotze's World Cup-winning goal for Germany in the 113th minute in 2014.