I was in pole position to learn – Brendan Rodgers hails Jose Mourinho influence

Xenia Sports – London

Brendan Rodgers has revealed the influence Jose Mourinho had on him at the start of his coaching career.

The Leicester boss was an academy coach when Mourinho was Chelsea manager in the mid-2000s.

The Northern Irishman then embarked on his own managerial career and almost guided Liverpool to the title before enjoying huge success at Celtic.

Rodgers moved to Leicester in 2019 and has built the 2016 champions into contenders once more.

The Foxes face Mourinho’s Tottenham on Sunday lying in fourth place, just one point behind their hosts.

On their time together at Chelsea, Rodgers recalled: “He was brilliant. It was a great opportunity for me to go to a club where the manager was a European champion.

“He was charismatic and very open in his communication with me, sharing his ideas.

“I was in pole position for learning, seeing someone who could work closely with players while still having their respect.”

Mourinho has stamped his mark on Spurs, turning them into a counter-attacking team rather than the swashbuckling side they were under his predecessor Mauricio Pochettino.

It has certainly proved effective with Tottenham looking primed to enjoy a concerted title challenge this season.

“He has top-class players who have clearly bought into the way he is working,” added Rodgers.

“Tottenham are renowned for playing a stylistic type of football, but I’m sure the supporters will be happy with the results.

“To ask players who are really talented to sometimes control the game without the ball is a challenge.

“Most top players want to have the ball. So that’s a skill in itself, to coach and manage players that there is a different way and teach them that by playing another way it’s possible to get a result.

“At Tottenham that is what you see. They have bought into it.’

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