Legendary former Inter midfielder Dejan Stankovic feels that playing under former Nerazzurri coach Jose Mourinho was a special experience and brought out the best in players.
Speaking to Milan-based newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport in an interview published in today’s print edition, the Serbian opened up about playing under the Portuguese coach.
Inter experienced one of their most successful and memorable periods in the two seasons with Mourinho in charge, as the Portuguese tactician guided the team to the Serie A title and then to the European treble in his second campaign in charge.
Stankovic was an integral part of the team that won the Scudetto, the Coppa Italia, and the Champions League in the 2009-10 season under the current Roma boss, and he credits the coach with instilling the belief that pushed the team on to that extraordinary accomplishment.
“That’s Jose,” he said, “with him you always believe. You give him your trust and he gives it back.”
He continued of working under the Portuguese coach that “I thought I’d reached the top of what I could give, instead he put me in a position to give 23% more.”
“He always knows what to ask,” Stankovic explained, “he knows which buttons to press to get the reaction he needs from you, helping you out when needed.”
Asked whether Mourinho is a coach who can only work well in short spells in clubs as his reputation suggests, Stankovic responded that “It depends on the situation. Of course, Jose has a core of 14-15 players that he always uses and they have to be ready for anything.”
“This can be exhausting,” he went on, “but the fact that you trust in yourself is something that gives you energy.”
Stankovic also spoke about the difference in playing in the Belgrade, Rome, and Milan derbies having experienced all three as a player, stating that “The Belgrade derby is the hottest, the Rome derby the most emotional, and the Milan derby is the most spectacular.”