Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has suggested former coach Jose Mourinho lacked the ability to communicate with his players and declared that interim boss Guus Hiddink has improved matters since taking the reins at Stamford Bridge.
The player told BBC Sport (h/t Goal's SW Lim) that the mood has markedly improved at Stamford Bridge since the self-proclaimed Special One departed, saying:
Yes, the mood is better, I think that's what [Hiddink] has brought into the football club.
He's so calm and so relaxed, just the way he communicates with the players – and maybe that's what the players felt they didn’t get from the previous manager [Mourinho].
Sometimes with players – not just because they're not playing – you need to communicate with them, speak to them, and don't just ignore them because players like to be communicated to.
Mikel's words will sting Mourinho, who always prided himself on having good relations with his players during Chelsea's most successful campaigns under the iconic coach.
The Blues recaptured the Premier League title last term, with Mourinho managing his side to a runaway success. However, the team imploded this season as Chelsea flirted with the relegation zone.
Chelsea are up to seventh in the Premier League form guide, undefeated in their last six, and the starting XI certainly appear more happy on the pitch than in the first half of the campaign.
Mourinho will undoubtedly get the chance to prove himself at one of the elite clubs in Europe soon when he scores a new job, but his final months at Chelsea will leave a bitter taste in his mouth.
Mikel's comments give a clear insight into the thoughts of the champions' squad this season, as Mourinho's administration crumbled and fell.