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Mourinho hails team talk from Scots masseur

Maybe it is because there are no Scottish players in the Chelsea first team.

WINNER: Branislav Ivanovic celebrates after scoring the only goal.
WINNER: Branislav Ivanovic celebrates after scoring the only goal.

If there were then the Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho might have recognised that whatever the Chelsea masseur was speaking before his team's impressive victory over Manchester City it probably was not Scottish.

After Chelsea's 1-0 win at the Etihad Stadium, Mourinho said his tactical nous was not behind the win. Rather it was down to the inspirational - if incomprehensible - words of Scot Billy McCulloch.

"I didn't speak," said Mourinho. "It was Billy the masseur that spoke to the team. He was screaming so much in Scottish I didn't understand him, but the players were clapping. It was Billy's team talk."

The only thing is McCulloch, who was born in Springburn, Glasgow, grew up in the south of England and sounds about as Scottish as Frank Lampard, as anyone who has seen and heard McCulloch's videos on YouTube would know.

But McCulloch, who has worked for both the Scotland and England national squads in the past, is hugely popular among the Chelsea players for his terrible jokes - and they are terrible: "What do you get if you cross a football team with a flower seller? Nottingham Florist" - and his equally terrible impersonations.

He is also meant to be good at massages too. Chelsea's John Terry has said Billy is a "genius with his hands".

Recalling his time with the Scottish national squad, an SFA spokesman said of McCulloch yesterday: "The best way to describe Billy is 'an irrepressible character'. He is as mad as a hatter but great at his job."

McCulloch, who began his career with Bath City in the Dr Martens League, is renowned for keeping players' spirits up. Now and again, though, the joke is on him.

When he joined the Scottish squad for the first time, when Walter Smith was manager, he returned to Chelsea and told Mourinho, then in his first stint in charge of the club, things had gone well.

But, as McCulloch later revealed, "Jose said 'That's not what I heard. I just got a fax from the SFA saying you were terrible - running around at 4am with no clothes on and waking up all the players ... They don't want you back. Here's the fax to prove it.'"

Mourinho waited two days before telling the masseur it was a joke.

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