Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake has admitted he was left broken playing under Jose Mourinho at Chelsea.
The Dutchman joined Chelsea in 2011 but was another young player who failed to break the mould at Stamford Bridge despite showing promise.
How did Mourinho break Nathan Ake? Five key things to know…
- Nathan Ake joined Chelsea as a 16-year-old and was an exciting prospect linking up with their academy.
- The Dutch defender was handed his first-team debut by Rafael Benitez in December 2012, coming on as a late substitute.
- Ake would go on to make another five appearances before the season was up, giving him hopes of breaking through the following year.
- But Mourinho’s arrival saw Ake drop back to the reserves, with the defender revealing the decision left him “broken”.
- Ake made just six appearances during Mourinho’s two-and-a-half years at the Chelsea, being sent on loan twice.
Ake made just 17 appearances in five years for the Chelsea first team, six of which came in the 2012/13 season under Rafael Benitez as an 18-year-old.
It was hoped the promising young defender would build on this upon Jose Mourinho’s return, especially with John Terry looking like slowing down under Benitez.
But Mourinho’s arrival saw Ake dropped back down to the reserves almost immediately, something the Dutchman admits he took hard.
Ake told the Telegraph: “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.
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“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.”
Ake was sent on his first loan away from Chelsea in 2015, to Reading, before spells at Watford and Bournemouth.
His performances at the latter in the 2016/17 season lead Chelsea to recall him for their Premier League and FA Cup journeys. A dominant performance at centre-back in Chelsea’s 4-2 FA Cup semi-final win over Tottenham was one of just five games the Dutchman played before signing for Bournemouth permanently.
Ake’s growth at Bournemouth
At the time of his permanent departure from Chelsea in 2017, Ake was quick to brush off criticism from then Blues’ boss Antonio Conte.
The Italian called out Chelsea’s youngsters for their lack of patience in waiting for a first-team opportunity, to which Ake retorted: “It is a short career, but I’m 22 now and I feel like I have had a good experience playing games and you just want to continue doing that.
“I understand what he said but I think we also know that Chelsea is a big club and for myself it was going to be difficult to come in and play straight away.
“The decision to come here was to be able to play more games which is important for me and that is why I came here.”
Since then, Ake is yet to miss a Premier League match for the Cherries, with 67 appearances spread across the two campaigns so far – the only ever-present for Bournemouth during that time.
Ake has also made more clearances than any other Bournemouth player with 414, while also making a club-high 95 tackles. Meanwhile, only Steve Cook has made more interceptions and blocked more shots than Ake among the Cherries squad.