Nathan Ake has said Jose Mourinho left him “broken” as a player after the Portuguese manager dropped him to the second team when the two were at Chelsea.
Ake arrived at Stamford Bridge aged 16 in 2011 and made significant strides toward the senior squad in the 2012-2013 season wherein he featured six times under then interim manager Rafael Benitez. He capped off the campaign with a Europa League medal while he was also named Chelsea’s Young Player of the Year.
It looked like the young Dutch defender was ready to break into the Blues’ senior squad the following season yet the arrival of Jose Mourinho in his second spell at the west London club did not bode very well for Ake, who only managed to make a solitary appearance that season under the Portuguese.
That signaled the gradual decline of Ake’s development at the club. After five years under the tutelage of the Stamford Bridge outfit, with loan moves in between, he joined Bournemouth for what was then a record £20 million fee for the south coast club.
In a recent interview, Ake, who has now established himself as a steady performer in the Premier League, looks back on his time at Chelsea and described his contrasting experiences under Benitez and Mourinho.
“I went to the first team at Chelsea and played under Rafa Benitez and I always thought, ‘why is everyone saying setbacks are coming because everything is going up, up, up?’ The season after Benitez left I thought, ‘this is going to be my season’.
“Then Jose Mourinho came and, without training, I got dropped into the second team. That was one of the toughest things for me, mentally. I was quite broken. Everything was going great, I played a few games, I was young player of the year and then I was in the reserves again.”