JOSE Mourinho allowed his eccentric Scottish masseur to deliver the team talk that led to Chelsea’s win at Manchester City on Monday, and Sean Dyche admits that he too has used similar methods during Burnley’s charge into promotion contention.
Dyche may be some way behind Mourinho when it comes to honours won.
In fact the Second Division title won while playing for tomorrow’s opponents Millwall remains his most significant trophy.
But the Clarets boss is ambitious to add to that in the near future and is an admirer of many of Mourinho’s methods.
He may not have gone as far as to let the masseur do the pre-match team talk, but he does see the benefit of mixing up motivational techniques from time to time.
“I remember from Mourinho’s first time at Chelsea that were stories of some of the players giving speeches,” Dyche recalled.
“Scott Parker famously gave the best one, I believe. It’s Mourinho giving a different feel to things.
“We do similar but different here.
“It’s not in the dressing room but we do similar things from the moment before a game.
“It’s just different ways of possibly breaking down egos, or possibly different voices giving different information.”
Dyche has always had an eye for innovation. As soon as he arrived as boss he gave his players a questionnaire to fill in, although he was reluctant to reveal details of exactly what the questions entailed.
Similarly, now he jovially refuses to divulge exactly how Burnley’s Mourinho-esque speeches work.
“That’s secret stuff, really super secret stuff like secret squirrel, he’s the only secret person I can possibly trust with that information!” he laughed.
“You can print that if you want – team talk done by secret squirrel, says Dyche!”
On Chelsea’s use of Billy McCulloch, nicknamed Bill Blood, to do the team talk on Monday, Dyche added: “I presume Mourinho was showing that the staff care about it as much the players and the manager.
“I know the masseur there is a bit of a character so maybe that played its part, in a way relaxing the players.
“Even though they’re big players they still get nervous.
“He decided to use the masseur to liven the mood.
“The players will know what they’re doing under Mourinho, I’m sure of that.
“It might have just been a little rally call. It seemed like it worked.”
Dyche similarly has a backroom staff who have provided important support during a successful campaign so far.
Ross Wallace – making his return from injury – is fulsome in his praise for head of sports science Mark Howard, who joined the Clarets 11 months ago and was previously involved in Sam Allardyce’s success story at Bolton.
“Mark Howard has been superb and the physio staff have been outstanding with me as well,” Wallace said.
“I’ve just come out of three or four weeks with Mark, just doing running and loads of leg strengthening.
“It’s important for me to do loads of weights and keep my legs nice and strong for the rest of my career.
“I don’t know what it is with Mark, he’s got the experience with the Premier League teams, he’s been with Sam Allardyce doing the ProZone stuff and sports science things.
“The backroom staff have been superb for us. We’ve got me coming back and Ashley (Barnes) coming in now, but before that it was important that we kept everybody fresh for games. We’ve managed to do that and that’s a credit.
“The manager has meetings with the likes of Mark Howard and the physios and sees how everybody is feeling in the morning, and alters training. There is a lot of stuff that goes in behind training to keep the players fresh.
“The most important thing is the games, you want players fresh so they can run hard and work hard in games.
“People have commented that we’re a really fit bunch. As soon as it goes into the second half of the game, we sort of take over games.
“That’s where fitness and all the hard work in pre-season kicks in.”