Thibaut Courtois returned from a third successive loan spell with Atletico Madrid to claim the number one spot at Chelsea in the summer, and he has excelled for the Blues, telling the London Evening Standard that head coach Jose Mourinho is the reason.
Although Petr Cech has been called on occasionally to allow Courtois to rest, there is no doubt that the 22-year-old Belgian international is the first-choice stopper for Mourinho, and he will likely retain that role for the next decade. He is already considered one of the best goalkeepers in the world, and with his young age, he is expected to keep developing for a number of years.
Arriving at Stamford Bridge with Cech still considered one of the best Premier League stoppers, Courtois did enough to impress Mourinho prior to the start of the season to ensure that he was given a starting role, and, although there have been a few mistakes throughout the season, he has done enough to reward that faith.
However, Courtois has claimed that is has been Mourinho’s coaching that has got the best out of him, telling the Standard that the Portuguese coach knows exactly how to bring the ‘keeper to the top of his game - by leaving him alone.
The former Genk player said: “I think he’s a very good trainer. He has many trophies. He’s a good motivator.
“He doesn’t have to say a lot to get the best out of me. I love to play football, so when I step out on the pitch, I try to do the best I can for the team. At half-time he always says things the way they are — and in a good way — so everybody is sharp for the second half.”
For Courtois, he has had the benefit of working under two coaches with extremely similar management styles in Mourinho and Atletico boss Diego Simeone. The latter is a carbon copy of the Mourinho who first moved to Chelsea in 2004, and, whilst the Blues boss has developed in the subsequent years, he continues many of the traits that Courtois would have experienced under the former Argentine international in La Liga.