Former Chelsea star Shaun Wright-Phillips has revealed how José Mourinho was close to making the team train with shin pads because of how aggressive Michael Essien was.
Speaking to Bonus Finder, the ex-Manchester City man, who enjoyed three successful seasons at Stamford Bridge, admitted that training was extremely intense under 'The Special One', especially when the Ghanaian arrived in 2005.
"The tempo was completely different when I moved to Chelsea," he said. "There was a real step up in quality as well.
It only got worse when Michael Essien joined because Mourinho was at the point where he was thinking about getting the players to train with shin pads on. There was so many tackles flying in and training was really competitive so I don't think we would have blamed him if Mourinho made that decision."
Wright-Phillips won the Premier League, the FA Cup and the Community Shield whilst in the capital and made 36 appearances for England too. Things only began to turn sour for the 39 year old when former Brazil manager Luiz Felipe Scolari arrived at the club in 2008. However, on reflection, Wright-Phillips looks back fondly at his time in a darker shade of blue.
"To get the chance to play with players like that and win trophies with that team was a dream come true for me," he continued. "It helped me to improve as a player.
It was a period that was an amazing time. The fans were superb, Roman Abramovich was amazing and Mourinho... I thought he was a fantastic manager and a great man in general."
After leaving Chelsea in the summer of 2008, Wright-Phillips returned to Manchester City, where he spent a further three seasons. His career concluded with spells at QPR and in the MLS with New York Red Bulls and Phoenix Rising FC respectively.