Jose Mourinho was distinctly unimpressed after being asked to clarify his comments about Toby Alderweireld and how the Tottenham players had reacted to his criticism of them. When asked on Friday about how his players have responded to his comments, Mourinho, who was late for a weekly staff match at Hotspur Way, was not impressed.
Jose Mourinho said “I’m not going to answer your question because for the whole week, everybody spoke about it, everybody took for granted what they were writing, what they were saying, so I don’t feel comfortable to come five or six days later to make comments about something people write and speak like if they know everything. I don’t think I want to go in that direction. I prefer to play or to let you play your game, I mean the media in general, I let you play the game we’ve had during the week and I just want to play our game at 1pm. I don’t want to play that game.”
Toby Alderweireld and Serge Aurier had missed the previous match at Aston Villa due to illness before heading off on international duty the next morning. Mourinho then claimed on Sunday that he had left the two players out again of his matchday squad at Newcastle because they had missed a Covid test earlier in the week and could not train with the team until Saturday, the day before the game. However, photos released by the club on Thursday last week and a video on Friday, appeared to show Alderweireld involved with training on both days and it has been suggested that he reported back from international duty on the Wednesday to take his test. Mourinho was asked to clarify his comments about the Belgian but made it clear that he was not going to revisit his words with anyone outside the club.
Jose Mourinho said “I can’t clarify and I can’t clarify because you spoke about it for the whole week. You play the game, enjoy the game during the whole week and now I want to enjoy my game at 1pm and now I’m here to answer to the question that you already answered for the whole week. There is nothing for me to clarify. If I have to clarify, I clarify with my people and not with the people who knows everything and wrote and spoke and sold papers and with audiences on radios and TVs. You don’t even pay me a percentage so I’m not going to play the game. Let me play, I’ve been working in the gym for two weeks for this game and now I’m going to arrive late.”
Before he left for his match, which he later indicated on social media that he came out on the winning side of, he was asked about both Manchester clubs ahead of Sunday’s match against United. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer claimed last month that trophies sometimes act as merely an ego boost for managers and that he felt that league position was a better indicator of progress. Mourinho, who won the Europa League and League Cup with United as well as finishing second in the Premier League, is not on the same page.
Jose Mourinho said “It’s his opinion. I’m pretty sure his big boss Sir Alex [Ferguson] had a different opinion about it, but I respect what Solskjaer thinks. I think different. Freedom of thinking, freedom of ideas, and if that is what he thinks that is fine by me. It’s not a problem for me, he’s not being disrespectful to anyone, but I repeat I believe his big boss, and the biggest in Premier League history, has a different view in relation to that.”
It was revealed this week with their financial results that Manchester City have a wage bill for their players and staff of £351m and Mourinho was asked what he made of competing against that sort of financing for Pep Guardiola’s side – the biggest wage bill in the history of the Premier League.
Jose Mourinho said “I’m very happy to do it. My career is long, I’ve worked in club’s with different history, with different economical resources, with different ambitions and I’ve always enjoyed it. Of course I am in England for so many years and I know how things are so that’s okay. If Kevin [De Bruyne] signed contract of x million I would love him to sign a contract of three times x million. Fantastic player. If Pep – or any of the coaches of the top teams – has x million to spend good for them, no problems. I enjoy to work in my club. I enjoy to do what we are doing and I am not jealous of the ones that can do other things. I would love my players to get the same contract as David de Gea or Kevin de Bruyne. I would love them to get that money.”
Mourinho’s comments after Tottenham snatched a draw from the jaws of victory at Newcastle led to plenty of discussion among the club’s fans and the media and are believed to have upset some members of his squad. After Sunday’s display when it was pointed out to him by BBC Radio 5 Live that his teams have been historically good at defending leads in matches, the Spurs boss answered without hesitation.
Jose Mourinho said “Same coach, different players. Many of these white hairs come from things I’m not used to seeing in football matches at this level. The Premier League is high-level, and when in some actions you don’t show that you belong to that level, it’s difficult.”