Barcelona legend Xavi admits he is ‘surprised’ by Jose Mourinho’s taste for defensive football at Chelsea.
The Spanish playmaker left Luis Enrique’s side on a free transfer last summer after 24 successful years at the Nou Camp.
Xavi, who now plies his trade for Qatari outfit Al Sadd, was coached by a young Mourinho during Louis van Gaal’s Barcelona reign when he was an assistant coach and claims the Portuguese tactician had a never different attitude to the game during that time.
While some have claimed that Mourinho was little more than a translator at Barcelona, Xavi is adamant that the Special One was an integral part of the Barcelona coaching staff and embraced their attacking mentality.
Speaking to ESPN, Xavi said: “[Mourinho] was excellent in his three years at Barca.
“They said he was a translator. Rubbish. He was the assistant coach, someone who understood the philosophy of Barca and who shared many of the same characteristics of [Louis] Van Gaal.
“He was very respected by the players. He trained us sometimes alone at Barca B and he was excellent.
“I’m surprised that he became known for another type of football, more defensive, because he wasn’t like that with us.”
Whether Mourinho decides to abandon his defensive philosophy remains to be seen, with Chelsea enduring their worst ever start to a Premier League campaign.
The current champions have already lost seven matches this season, and are 15 points behind front-runners Manchester City and Arsenal.