Michael Essien
Michael Essien

Ghana legend, Michael Essien, has named Jose Mourinho as the best coach he has ever worked under during his playing career.

Essien played for the first time under the Portuguese manager at Chelsea after he was signed for a club record of 24 million pounds from Olympique Lyon in 2004.

The dynamic midfielder established himself as one of the best players in the Premier League, winning the Premier League in his first season.

Essien, despite having worked with a host of top coaches during a glittering career in the game, finished by talking in glowing terms about former boss Jose Mourinho.

Essien with Jose Mourinho
Essien with Jose Mourinho

“He [Mourinho] would be the first one for me [in terms of managers I have worked under],” he told talkSports.

“He’s a still a great manager. I worked under him and we had a very good relationship, and I had a very good relationship with Ancelotti as well. Those two are very good managers.

“They’ve all played a part in my career and development. It’s great to look back and reflect on what aspects they taught me and I will take that on board [in my coaching career].”

The Ghanaian midfielder reunited with Mourinho at Real Madrid during the 2012/2013 where Essien played a year deal with the La Liga club.


Meanwhile, Essien has opened up on his coaching adventure, saying it is difficult to coach than to play football.

The former Ghana international joined the first team coaching staff of Danish side Nordsjælland in 2020 after his deal with Sabail in Azerbaijan came to an end.

With a few months into his coaching adventure, Essien believes sitting on the technical bench is a difficult task than playing on the field.

“I’ve just started to do my coaching badges and I got a great opportunity to come here. I’m very happy to be here and it’s all about a new transition in my career because I have a lot to give to the young ones.

“I’m enjoying my new role now. It’s very different to be a coach than to be a player. I’ve always been a player, so learning the coaching aspect of the game is very good and it gives me an open mind in terms of the game. I’m learning and enjoying it as well.

“My options are open. The most important thing is to learn the aspects of the game, get the badges and keep my options open and see what happens.”

Essien as a player had an illustrious career playing for Lyon and Chelsea where he won the French Ligue 1 and the Premier League. The midfield dynamo at Chelsea also won the UEFA Champions.

Aside Chelsea, he had loan spells at Real Madrid and AC Milan.

He also featured prominently for the Black Stars and represented the West African nation in two FIFA World Cups – 2006 and 2014.