Liverpool defender Glen Johnson believes his current manager Brendan Rodgers is a better man-manager than Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho.
Johnson, who left Stamford Bridge for Portsmouth in the summer of 2007 before moving on to Anfield two years later, claims he lost faith in the Portuguese after being dropped ahead of a big Champions League game against Barcelona.
“It was difficult for me under Jose at Chelsea because there was a moment when he said I deserved to play on merit,” the England international recalls. “He said if I played well in the next game I would play the week after. I got man of the match so he couldn’t drop me.
“Then in the next game he said the same thing and I got man of the match again. Then we had another game and after that Barcelona. I remember speaking to my agent and saying, ‘He won’t play me in this game because if I play well then he has to play me against Barcelona’, and I knew that wasn’t going to happen.
“He didn’t play me in that game and from that moment I just lost it and thought, ‘Well, how am I meant to respect you now? It’s just finished’.
“Brendan wouldn’t do that. He’s shown that if you’re good enough you’re old enough and you’ll play in the big games if you deserve to. So in terms of man-management, Brendan is definitely better.”
While Johnson’s time at Chelsea — or specifically, his time there under Mourinho — is the only period of a 12-year top-flight career about which he harbours regrets, it did afford him the chance to work with Rodgers, whose star quality, Johnson says, was already obvious.
“Mourinho is one of the best in the world and I would never say he’s not because of what happened between us. But Brendan is different to Jose, he has his own mentality and is definitely one of the best.” Johnson added.
“Some managers like the thought of playing the way Brendan does but haven’t got the confidence or knowhow to pull it off. Others would probably have panicked and changed their philosophy just to try and win. But Brendan was mentally strong enough and knew what he was trying to implement was right and that once we grabbed hold of it we would be a success.”