Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho’s most important decision in his new tenure came before he was even appointed, the Portuguese boss has revealed.
Mourinho, who is beginning his second stint at Stamford Bridge having previously been in charge from 2004 to 2007, said he convinced veteran midfielder Frank Lampard to stay in the Premier League despite the Englishman’s intentions to head elsewhere.
Lampard was out of favour at the club and was not offered a new contract by the club he has made over 400 appearances for since 2001.
But Mourinho, during his final season at Real Madrid, was in contact with Lampard, given their friendship from their time together at Chelsea.
And the two-time Champions League winning tactician told Lampard, 35, not to head to the MLS, as he had been touted to do.
“At that time (last season) I was not in contact with the club,” Mourinho told Sky Sports.
“I was only in contact with him as a friend because we kept contact all over these years.
“I was telling him, ‘the way I know you, don’t go to American soccer. You are a player who needs to compete every week at the highest level, you are a player that needs to be in real competition’.
“If you go to the States, it’s a fantastic country, football is coming up and you would be very important there but if you go there you will not enjoy your life and you have years to enjoy your life as a player.
“So my opinion was not to go but try and stay at Chelsea.
“‘If Chelsea doesn’t want you then try and stay in the Premier League because you belong to high level competition.’
“He was telling me in the Premier League he doesn’t want to play in any other club.”
Mourinho also said he has no intentions of bolstering his squad further, having already signed Andre Schurrle and Marco van Ginkel in the off-season.
“I’m so happy with the people I have here that I’m not thinking in other players,” he said.