LONDON • Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho came under fire again on Thursday when he was accused of damaging his own players with his management style.
Filipe Luis, the former Chelsea left-back, who was signed from Atletico Madrid 18 months ago, claimed that Mourinho's outspoken comments in the media had a detrimental effect on the squad.
Mourinho has been critical of several Chelsea players as his side have struggled this season, with Eden Hazard, Nemanja Matic and Ruben Loftus-Cheek in particular being singled out for harsh treatment, a strategy that Luis believes is undermining their confidence.
The Brazilian even accused the Portuguese of occasional absurd comments, without being specific.
Luis spent just one season at Chelsea after his £18 million (S$38.9 million) move before returning to Atletico in the summer, starting only nine Premier League matches and making five appearances in the Champions League. But his intervention should not immediately be dismissed as bitterness from a player who failed to make the grade.
Mourinho has frequently employed distraction techniques after a defeat, criticising referees, opponents or even his own players.
But Luis believes that Mourinho's approach is damaging his players, particularly youngsters such as 19-year-old Loftus-Cheek.
"Some players benefit from criticism but for others they don't," said the Brazil international.
"Sometimes he's right and sometimes he's not. Sometimes people think what he says is absurd and sometimes they agree with him. It's the way he is and the way he works - I see it as normal."
Luis said that he is proud of his achievements in winning the Premier League and League Cup despite limited playing time at Chelsea, and claimed that he was not given enough game time to prove himself.
The 30-year-old saw Mourinho's decision to overlook him from the first match of last season against Burnley as crucial, and he did not start a Premier League match until the end of October.
"I didn't have the chance to play in the first match of the league season and the opportunity to play in the first game is key for players at a new club," he said. "That made everything more difficult. But I still consider my time with Chelsea as personal triumph."
Mourinho faced a further accusation from Frank Leboeuf, the former Chelsea defender, that he has lost the support of his players.
"One gets the impression he has lost the dressing room," said the Frenchman. "He has lost its leaders. That means, as usual, he has not been able to progress in the third year."
THE TIMES, LONDON