Speaking before the match with Liverpool to Chelsea website, Mourinho talked again about Steven Gerrard, after praising him already in his press conference, revealing he was one of the champions and the rivals he admired and respected the most, having tried to sign him for every team he managed.
Gerrard will play for the last time with a Liverpool shirt tomorrow at Stamford Bridge, before heading off to Los Angeles to play the MLS with LA Galaxy.
Lampard and him were for years the pivots of England national team, and many people were talking about the best way to combine their style of play.
Mourinho wanted to share his opinion about this:
“They were the two best number 8s in Europe from 2004 to 2012. When you have them, with my vision, you don’t play with a number 10. You play with a number six and give the freedom to the number 8s because they will score more goals than a number 10. Frank Lampard would score 30 goals from midfield and Steven Gerrard would score 25.’
The Chelsea boss then spoke about Leo Messi, that last Wednesday provided another impressive performance, with two stunning goals, in the Champions League semifinal against Bayern Munich. The world of football is another time – literally- at his feet:
“Almost every year I’m there, in the quarter-finals, semi-final or final, this was the first time in many years I wasn’t there. It’s very normal not to be there once in a while but watching Messi you don’t miss being there because you enjoy it so much, you don’t think about not being there, you think about what he did”
“I always planned when I played against him. Every time I spent hours studying and trying to [find ways to] stop him. Many times we were successful, other times we weren’t”
“For Inter, against Barcelona, we stopped him in both matches. I think the last way to do it is man to man, because he’s better than everyone. When you go man to man, you go with similar power. With him it’s an impossible job”
“I played against him so many times. He played for Barcelona against Porto when I was there and he was just a kid. After that I played against him with Chelsea, Inter and at Real Madrid I played against him dozens and dozens of times”
“Every time I played against him I would think about ways in which we could collectively give him a difficult match, that’s the best thing you can do against him”