Former England full-back Wayne Bridge has talked about his relationship with Roman Abramovich at Chelsea and how Jose Mourinho conducted himself behind the scenes.
from Southampton in the summer of 2003 which coincided with
’s takeover of the club. He made 142 appearances during which he was able to win the Premier League, FA Cup, and Carabao Cup.
Bridge said that Abramovich always did his best to keep in touch with the players and he wanted to be “one of the lads”.
“Roman loves Chelsea. He enjoyed being in the dressing room with us players.
"He would have loved to have been one of the lads. When he didn't have time because of other obligations and we hadn't seen him in a long time, we were always worried about him.
"He is very nice and down to earth despite all his money. In public, Roman likes to pretend he doesn't speak English but he is actually good to talk to.
"When the players were on vacation back then and he happened to be in the area, he always contacted us. Once I was in the south of France at the same time as him so he invited me in to eat with him."
Bridge also talked about how the Russian disapproved of his transfer to Manchester City in 2009 as he was one of the first big-name signings to arrive at the Etihad Stadium after Abu Dhabi United Group bought them.
“We met shortly after the transfer. He joked that I only moved to City because of the money!”
The ex-England international spent three of his six years at Stamford Bridge under
, who was able to deliver the club’s first two Premier League titles, three League Cups, and one FA Cup between 2003 and 2007.
He revealed that although Mourinho was able to give rousing team talks to motivate the squad, he often handed that responsibility over to his players - something Thomas Tuchel is rumored to have done before their Champions League final victory against Manchester City.
“He could give very motivating team talks, but did not do that so often," Bridge said. "Instead, Mourinho implemented a new system at Chelsea: he nominated players for team talks.
"That's a great idea in my opinion. It was my turn before a game against Manchester United, shortly after I broke my leg. I was on crutches and tried to push the team.
"Since then, other coaches have also adopted this system. I heard that before Chelsea's Champions League final victory over City, it was not Tuchel but the masseur Billy McCulloch who gave the final speech.”
He also talked about the Portuguese’s eventual dismissal and revealed that although some players were tired of his personality, there were also many who were upset when his departure was confirmed.
“The relationship wasn't broken, but some players couldn't cope with his character anymore," he added. "The day he was released was nevertheless very emotional and some players cried. We felt we had let him down.”