'My influence was zero' – Mourinho pays tribute to retiring Cech

The former Chelsea manager concedes his role in Cech’s success was minimal, though he did note he gave him his big chance

Despite giving Petr Cech his debut at Chelsea in 2004, Jose Mourinho has refused to take credit for the retiring keeper’s stellar career.

The current Arsenal shot stopper revealed this week he’ll hang up the gloves at the end of the season having made his name with the Blues across over 300 appearances.

Mourinho was the man that gave Cech his first shot in the Premier League, but despite his willingness to take a gamble on the young keeper, the Portuguese manager was humble when asked about his influence on Cech’s career. 

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“When I arrived in Chelsea, he was a kid, only 20 years old,” Mourinho told beIN Sports.

“The goalkeeper was Carlo Cudicini – the season before he was elected the player of the season – and the first game of the season was Chelsea against Manchester United and I decided to leave out our player of the season before, and play a kid that nobody would know how to even say his name because Petr Cech was quite difficult to say.

“After that everything was about him. My influence was zero.

“Fantastic professional and goalkeeper with an incredible potential.”

After helping Cech take off in the Premier League, Mourinho would return to Stamford Bridge in 2013 and ultimately decided to replace Cech between the sticks.

“Then I got him in a period again when I came back Chelsea I decided to give the goal to a young Courtois, to tell Petr, ‘Petr, now you are going to be the number two’,” Mourinho said.

“So I was with him at two different moments of his career. In that moment he became a fantastic number two so his character is amazing.”

While Cech will end his playing career at the Emirates, the Blues are ready to offer their former goalkeeper a role with the club at the end of the season.

Having helped Cech become a household name at Chelsea, Mourinho was also responsible for Didier Drogba’s successful move to Stamford Bridge.

The former Manchester United manager revealed the challenge he faced trying to convince the Blues owner Roman Abramovich to sign the then unknown striker. 

“He had already played for Guingamp, Marseille, Le Mans, so when I took him to Chelsea I remember clearly Abramovich was asking me, ‘Who? Who do you want as a striker?’,” Mourinho said. 

“With all the big names in Europe at that time I said Drogba. ‘Who is he? Where’s he playing?’ (I said) ‘Mr Abramovich – pay. Pay, and don’t speak.’

“And Didier was an iconic player for Chelsea, for the Premier League.” 

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