Wesley Sneijder has exploded the myth that Jose Mourinho is a ­control freak who never trusts his players.

The Dutchman has lifted the lid on how Mourinho guided Inter Milan to a ­historic Treble of Champions League, Serie A and Coppa Italia a decade ago.

And he insists the secret behind the success of ­ Tottenham ’s boss is that he grants his players so much freedom off the pitch that they are driven to win games for him on it.

The 36-year-old, writing in his new autobiography Sneijder, said: “Mourinho made his own laws – and the players loved it.

“He knew how to handle us so well. He said, ‘I give you guys more freedom than you are used to and, in ­return, I get a better team’.

“During games he ­demanded everything from us. But away from the pitch he gave us a lot of space. Drinking wine, fags… I am sure he knew that we were doing this stuff.”

Sneijder, who last year brought the curtain down on a glittering career that saw him win titles in ­Holland, Spain, Italy and Turkey, added: “We were even free in our choice of what to wear.

“We had a sponsor for all our suits, but Mourinho said we did not have to wear the suits if we didn’t want to.

“He said, ‘You are football players, not fashion ­puppets’. Only three things were important: train hard, keep focus and have fun.

“So we all wore our ­tracksuits or jeans. ­Everyone was wearing different ­coloured polo shirts.

Wesley Sneijder
Wesley Sneijder

“It was so funny – but ­no one at Inter had the guts to tackle Mourinho about this.”

Mourinho was ­rebuilding his own ­reputation when he took over at Inter after being axed by Chelsea – just as he is at Spurs after ­getting fired by ­ Manchester United last ­season. He won the Serie A title in his first campaign and then led Inter to the Treble.

But he was no soft touch – and Sneijder recalled how he taught ­controversial striker Mario Balotelli (below) a lesson in humility.

“Mourinho ­protected us always – but you don’t mess him about,” said Sneijder.

“Mario Balotelli tried it. He was young and thought he knew it all. And when ­Mourinho was not using him a lot, Mario walked in my hotel room one night when I was with a few other players. It was 10.30pm and he said, ‘I am leaving the camp, the ­manager is not taking me seriously. I want more ­playing time’.

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“Mourinho later told us Mario was only ­welcome back again if he apologised to the entire squad and to him, the manager.

“Mario did exactly that and they came back with their arms around each ­other’s shoulders. It was all good again – at least that’s what Balotelli thought.

“During the Champions League Final, Mourinho told Balotelli to do a warm-up for 45 minutes, then let Marco Materazzi warm up for five minutes. Materazzi came on, ­Balotelli didn’t. ­Mourinho has his own laws.” Sneijder added: “He did the most unexpected things. Maicon got a red card and was suspended for two games. Mourinho pulled him over the next day in training, called him a silly boy and then told him to go to see his family in Brazil.

“He did the same to me. I was alone in Milan and my girl was in Amsterdam. When he heard this, he said I should jump on the plane and see her for a few days.

“Jose told me to be back on Friday and when I told him we had a game on ­Saturday, he said, ‘Exactly – and you are going to play out of your skin for me’.

“What a brilliant boss. Mourinho and I were one.”