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I lost all respect for Mourinho - Johnson

ESPN staff
March 5, 2014 « Johnson: Give me a new contract | Chartbeat test »
Glen Johnson was the first signing of Chelsea's Roman Abramovich era © PA Photos
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Glen Johnson claims he lost respect for Jose Mourinho because the Chelsea manager broke a promise to him.

Johnson, now 29, became the first signing of the Roman Abramovich era at Stamford Bridge when he moved from West Ham for £6 million in July 2003, but found times hard when the Russian billionaire sacked Claudio Ranieri and brought in Mourinho.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Johnson revealed: "It was difficult for me under Jose at Chelsea because there was a moment when he said I deserved to play on merit.

"He said if I played well in the next game I would play the week after. I got man of the match so he couldn't drop me.

"Then in the next game he said the same thing and I got man of the match again. Then we had another game and after that Barcelona. I remember speaking to my agent and saying, 'He won't play me in this game because if I play well then he has to play me against Barcelona' - and I knew that wasn't going to happen.

"He didn't play me in that game and from that moment I just lost it and thought, 'Well, how am I meant to respect you now? It's just finished'."

The fall-out resulted in Johnson being shipped out on loan to Portsmouth for a season before making the move permanent in 2009.

He made an £18m move to Liverpool two years later and wants a new deal to stay at the club when his contract runs out in the summer, not least because the defender enjoys the approach of manager Brendan Rodgers, a former Chelsea coach, claiming it is better than Mourinho's.

Johnson said: "Mourinho is one of the best in the world and I would never say he's not because of what happened between us. But Brendan is different to Jose, he has his own mentality and is definitely one of the best.

"Brendan wouldn't do [what Mourinho did]. He's shown that if you're good enough you're old enough and you'll play in the big games if you deserve to. So in terms of man-management, Brendan is definitely better."

"Some managers like the thought of playing the way Brendan does but haven't got the confidence or knowhow to pull it off.

"Others would probably have panicked and changed their philosophy just to try and win. But Brendan was mentally strong enough and knew we would be a success."

Johnson can see similarities between the current Liverpool team and the Chelsea side he was part of that won two Premier League titles under Mourinho.

"We believe we can win every game and I remember having that feeling at Chelsea," he said. "The first year we won the title [in 2005] we could be losing 2-0 and still think we would win, and we usually would. That was confidence at its peak and we are moving towards that at Liverpool.

"You have to believe you can win the league and until there are not enough points available we'll keep thinking we can. We've got 10 cup finals, really, because we can't afford to lose games or drop many points because Manchester City and Chelsea won't.

"City are favourites because they could field a second team that would be competitive, and you can't compete with that. So we will need a bit of luck but we are definitely good enough.

"Our goal at the start of the season was to finish in the top four and that is still our minimum aim. Finishing third, second or winning the title is a bonus but we are in a good position."

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