Michael Essien has defended coach Jose Mourinho as Real Madrid endure a difficult season with form struggles and rumoured player revolts.
After claiming the La Liga title in 2012, Mourinho's team now sit 13 points behind rivals Barcelona on the table.
There have also been reported fallouts with his players, including goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas.
"I think he (Jose Mourinho) is more close to his players, he's a manager but at the same time he is a teacher and a father," Essien said.
"He talks to everyone as a man and I think that makes the difference because not a lot of managers do that.
"Most managers just deal with the formation but he does everything."
With victories over Barcelona in the league and Manchester United in the Champions League, Madrid's season has suddenly taken a positive turn.
"They were great victories, but they were different," defender Ricardo Carvalho said.
"One was in the Champions League (against Manchester United) the other one was in the league (against Barcelona) but both were very important for us."
Mourinho's men will look to keep up their winning form when they return from the international break to face Real Zaragoza next Saturday.