And not just on the training pitch, but away from it too. On the mental side.
On reflection, there was a couple of times I was injured, not available for a couple of games coming up. Jose would come in, he wouldn’t even speak to me in the treatment room. He’d go around and speak to everybody, and walk out of the room and leave me.
I swear, as captain of the football club, I was there thinking: “Why has he not spoken to me?” I said to the physio: “I’m training tomorrow. I can’t have the manager not speaking to me.”
He knew exactly what he was doing. He knew how to press my buttons, but he also knew when to give me a cuddle, when to tell me I was the best, when to tell the press that me, Frank, Didier, Petr, Ashley were the best players in the world. I promise you, as a player, you went out there thinking you were the best.
That had an impact on our performances, and that was down to Jose. Were we the best in the world? Probably not. But he made you feel like you were.
“Jose would come in to the treatment room and not even speak to me. He knew exactly what he was doing, how to press my buttons”
He strived for the best every single day. Hated losing.
I remember specifically a game in training, just a normal five-a-side game that happens every day in football. We lost 3-0, and he went berserk. Defenders conceding three goals and you walk in as though it’s normal? You can’t accept that.
I promise you, for the rest of the season the games in training were 1-0, 2-1, always tight. That was him, always pressing us, always pushing us to be the very best.