Serge Aurier: Mourinho staff neglected the 'person behind the player'

Aurier played under Mourinho in 2019/20 and 2020/21

Aurier played under Mourinho in 2019/20 and 2020/21

SERGE AURIER says Jose Mourinho and his staff did not pay enough attention to “the person behind the player” during their time in charge of Tottenham.

The Ivory Coast defender signed for Spurs in August 2017 when Mauricio Pochettino was boss. The Argentine has previously spoken about the need for managers to have empathy and explained: "Nowadays the more human leader is the one that is successful. The iron fist is a thing of the past.”

However, Aurier said the approach was different under Pochettino's successor, who took the helm in November 2019. He pinpointed Mourinho’s assistant, Joao Sacramento, in particular.

"Football is different compared to 10 years ago,” Aurier told The Telegraph. “He (Mourinho) is still a great coach, but there are things that have evolved. Sometimes players need more love and attention. I'm not speaking for José, I'm speaking for his assistant.

“Joao is a tough guy and he didn't have a good relationship with the dressing room, that's why everything deteriorated. There was a lack of good communication. It was one of his first experiences in a first team and he lacked calm with the players. He needed to be more concerned about the person behind the player.

“Sometimes when you don't play a lot of shit goes through your head, and you need someone to calm you down and help you, to give you good vibes, not to send you negative messages."

Mourinho was sacked in April 2021, along with Sacramento. The duo are now working together at Roma. Aurier insisted he still admired and respected the legendary Portuguese manager, however.

“I love it because Mourinho listens to you, and then he tells you what he thinks. Sometimes you hate him and you want to kill him, but then you love him because his character is that of a born winner and I identify with him a lot. I have nothing against him.”

The 29-year-old moved to Spanish side Villarreal on a free transfer in October 2021. Tonight the Spanish side face Liverpool in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final - and Aurier said he had enjoyed his time with them.

“I feel loved and respected here,” he said. “It's not easy to change your life and adapt quickly, but Villarreal is the ideal place to do it. The way the team plays, unlike Tottenham, is always based on having the ball and that has helped me to integrate better.”

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