Mourinho Questions Tottenham’s Mental Strength After Sheffield Loss

(FILES) In this file photo taken on May 19, 2018 Manchester United’s Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho gestures from the touchline during the English FA Cup final football match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Wembley stadium in London. Ian KINGTON / AFP

 

 

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho has questioned his team’s mental strength after their dismal 3-1 loss at Sheffield United delivered a potentially fatal blow to their chances of qualifying for the Champions League.

Harry Kane had an equaliser disallowed by VAR after Lucas Moura was adjudged to have handled the ball in the build-up to the goal, in what proved to be a pivotal moment in Thursday’s match.

The Portuguese boss said he had learned a lot about his players by their poor reaction to the decision.

“You have to be ready to cope with negative moments and go until the last minute,” he said. “In spite of my efforts in the dressing room, now I feel I know more about the profile of my players.

“I felt that in the second half we wouldn’t be strong enough to cope with a team that when they’re winning just defends and counter-attacks. So congratulations to them.”

Mourinho has also called on his side to show their motivation in the remaining six games to finish as high as they can.

The Champions League spots, even if they go down to fifth, look to have gone and a place in the Europa League is not in the bag.

Mourinho said when a professional player needed external motivation “he is in trouble”.

“The motivation should be self-motivation, directly related to your professionalism, directly related with respect for your job, your club, the fans,” he said. “That is the most important thing.

“The manager can just help but the nature of the player as a professional is the most important.

“Clearly if these boys don’t care about results and don’t care about the position we finish at the end of the season we’ll be in big, big trouble for the future.”

The disallowed goal was one of the most controversial VAR calls of the season and Spurs winger Steven Bergwijn was left scratching his head.

“In my opinion it is a goal,” the Dutchman said. “He (Moura) can’t put his hands anywhere. They also pushed him in the back, so there are two things wrong.

“I don’t understand why we didn’t get a free-kick, maybe it is because we played through but I think he has to give the goal.”

 

Mourinho Does Not Expect To See ‘Crazy’ Transfers After COVID-19

(Files) Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho takes a team training session at Tottenham Hotspur’s Enfield Training Centre, in north London on November 25, 2019, ahead of their UEFA Champions League Group B football match against Olympiakos. Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has warned that the transfer market will look drastically different due to the coronavirus fallout, saying football will not be ready for “crazy numbers”.

Spurs bought Steven Bergwijn for £27 million ($33 million) from PSV in January, while also breaking their club record to sign Tanguy Ndombele for a reported £54 million last year.

But Mourinho believes the Premier League and other leagues around the world will need a different approach to cope with the financial impact of COVID-19.

“It is normal you are going to have a different market,” the 57-year-old told Sky Sports. “I don’t see the world, and especially the football world, ready for some crazy numbers we are used to having and some crazy investments that sometimes some clubs and some leagues are used to doing.

“But my first question after that is: ‘When will the transfer window be?’ Because I don’t think it will be July-August any more, it will obviously have to go further than that.

“If you ask me what I want in my club, I would like my club to be what I know it is going to be: sensible, balanced, not going to spend rivers of money, and we are trying to respect the situation, not just of football but of the world and society overall.”

READ ALSO: Premier League Clubs Vote To Resume Contact Training 

The Premier League is yet to set a date for a return and players have not resumed full-contact training.

Top-flight clubs are expected to approve phase two of training on Wednesday as they inch closer to a restart after the postponement of the Premier League in March.

The Bundesliga has already resumed and Mourinho is itching to get playing again.

“Honestly, since the moment Bundesliga started, the Portuguese league and Spanish league announced a date to start, I think it is the most difficult moment for us, because we want to play,” he said.

“It is hard to see other countries playing football and we don’t do it.”

AFP

Mourinho Admits He Was In The Wrong Over Training Session

 

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has accepted he was in the wrong for holding a one-on-one training session with midfielder Tanguy Ndombele in a public park in London.

Mourinho was pictured on social media flaunting government rules by meeting up with the midfielder Tuesday, even though they kept to social distancing guidelines.

Fellow Spurs players Davinson Sanchez and Ryan Sessegnon were spotted running side by side in a separate session, while Serge Aurier filmed himself on Instagram running alongside a friend.

“I accept that my actions were not in line with government protocol and we must only have contact with members of our own household,” said the Portuguese manager.

“It is vital we all play our part and follow government advice in order to support our heroes in the NHS and save lives.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan told the BBC the players and Mourinho should be leading by example.

“My concern is people, particularly children, who might support Spurs or follow football may see these images, pick up a paper, watch the internet and think, well if it’s OK for them, why isn’t it OK for me?” he said.

The Premier League has been suspended since mid-March due to the spread of COVID-19.

The British government has introduced a strict series of measures to prevent the spread of the virus and Tottenham have reminded players of their responsibilities.

The club said last week they would be using the government’s furlough financial assistance programme for non-playing staff, a move that was seen as controversial and attracted a lot of criticism.

AFP

Dele Alli Rescues Mourinho’s Tottenham At Burnley

Tottenham Hotspur's English midfielder Dele Alli celebrates after scoring their first goal from the penalty spot during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Tottenham at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on March 7, 2020. Lindsey Parnaby / AFP
Tottenham Hotspur’s English midfielder Dele Alli celebrates after scoring their first goal from the penalty spot during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Tottenham at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on March 7, 2020. Lindsey Parnaby / AFP

 

Dele Alli rescued a point for faltering Tottenham at Burnley on Saturday, scoring a penalty to earn a 1-1 draw and keep Jose Mourinho’s team in the hunt for a top-four finish.

The home side were dominant in the first half at Turf Moor, taking the lead through Chris Wood, but a much-improved Spurs battled back after the break to avoid a damaging third straight defeat.

Sean Dyche’s men, who were in relegation trouble as recently as January, are now unbeaten in seven league games but will rue missing the chance to clamber above Spurs after taking the lead.

The draw leaves Tottenham in eighth place, just four points behind fourth-placed Chelsea and two behind fifth-placed Wolves. Burnley are a further two points adrift.

Fifth spot could be enough to secure Champions League football next season depending on the outcome of Manchester City’s appeal against their European ban.

“There was a lot of aggression at half-time, we knew we were not good enough,” said Alli, whose goal was his 50th in the Premier League.

“If you switch off for a second they can punish you. Going in at half time 1-0 down, it was a sticky changing room to be. But we did better and created enough opportunities to win.”

Spurs, again without Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, started brightly but Burnley were quickly into their stride and deservedly took the lead in the 13th minute.

Jay Rodriguez shot straight at Hugo Lloris from the edge of the box but the Tottenham goalkeeper spilled the shot and Wood pounced to tap home the rebound.

Burnley continued to carry more of a threat, regularly unsettling the Spurs defence and Dwight McNeil forced a flying save from Lloris from a free-kick.

Ashley Westwood fired wide eight minutes before the break while Wood was narrowly off target from Westwood’s free-kick.

Spurs changes

Mourinho made two substitutions at half-time to lift his flat team, bringing on Lucas Moura and Giovani Lo Celso for Oliver Skipp and Tanguy Ndombele.

Burnley were quickly out of the blocks, putting Spurs’ creaking defence under pressure but the visitors were given a lifeline when Ben Mee clumsily tripped Erik Lamela in the 48th minute.

Alli stepped up and sent Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope the wrong way, burying the ball in the bottom right corner.

The goal lifted the visitors, who were suddenly playing with more confidence but Burnley’s players believed they had a case for a penalty minutes later when Davinson Sanchez made a robust challenge on Wood.

There were chances for both sides as the second half wore on.

Wood shot straight at Lloris while Lo Celso curled just wide at the other end. Minutes later Burnley substitute Matej Vydra saw his close-range shot saved by the sprawling Spurs goalkeeper as they pushed for the winner.

Liverpool are just three wins away from guaranteeing their first top-flight title since 1990 and Manchester City look secure in second place, seven points clear of Leicester.

But just six points separate Chelsea from Crystal Palace in 11th spot.

 

AFP

Mourinho Defends Alli Over Coronavirus Video

Dele Alli of Tottenham reacts during the Audi cup 2019 final match between Tottenham Hotspur and Bayern Muenchen at Allianz Arena on July 31, 2019 in Munich, Germany. AFP

 

Dele Alli is not racist and regrets posting a social media video which appeared to joke about the new coronavirus, said Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho on Friday.

Mourinho put the 23-year-old Spurs and England midfielder’s Snapchat video down to “a young generation” error, although the player has been asked by the English Football Association (FA) to explain the post.

Alli’s video — which was subsequently deleted after several complaints were made — showed him wearing a face mask in an airport departure lounge with the message ‘Corona whattt, please listen with volume’.

He moved the camera towards an Asian man before showing a bottle of antiseptic hand wash, with a caption saying ‘This virus gunna have to be quicker than that to catch me’.

The death toll from China’s virus epidemic neared 1,400 on Friday with six medical workers among the victims, underscoring the country’s struggle to contain a deepening health crisis.

Nearly 64,000 people are now recorded as having fallen ill from the virus in China.

The COVID-19 epidemic — as the World Health Organization formally named it — has also reached Britain where nine cases have been identified.

“I spoke with him (Alli) about that but it was quite an easy conversation because he was very sorry about — let’s say, the mistake — but it was never his intention to hurt or offend,” said Mourinho at his Friday press conference.

“He immediately regretted and recognised it was a young generation mistake and he apologised.

“I have a son at the same age as Dele and many of the players.

“I know social media is for his generation but when you are a public person like footballers are, they have to know and they have to be very, very careful.

“Dele is a great guy. The last thing he is, is anything connected with racism.”

The FA’s guidelines around media comments and social media posts remind participants that it will consider charges under Rule E3 if it is felt that someone has acted in an improper manner or brings the game into disrepute.

Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva was banned for one game and fined £50,000 ($65,000) earlier this season after what was deemed an inappropriate tweet to team-mate Benjamin Mendy.

AFP

Mourinho Slams Inter Over Eriksen Planned Move

Tottenham Hotspur’s Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen on as a substitute during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on August 25, 2019. Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho appeared to take a swipe at Inter Milan as the Italian club struggle to complete their protracted move for Christian Eriksen.

Mourinho left Eriksen out of his matchday squad for Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Southampton in the FA Cup fourth round, even though the Denmark midfielder had travelled to St Mary’s.

Inter have been chasing Eriksen for most of the January transfer window, while there has been speculation about his future ever since he said he wanted to leave Spurs last year.

It is believed Tottenham are close to agreeing to a fee for Eriksen and he could head to Italy early next week for a medical.

But Mourinho is not happy at how he has been left with an unsettled player for several weeks when the deal could have been done by now.

“You can read what you want to read, I don’t want to say anything. I just want to say that this situation shouldn’t happen on the 25th of January,”  Mourinho told reporters after the Southampton match.

“And it is not Tottenham’s fault that on the 25th of January we are in the situation.”

Despite constant speculation surrounding Eriksen’s future, Mourinho had used the playmaker on several occasions.

Eriksen came on as a second-half substitute in Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Norwich but was booed by some fans who have been unhappy about the Dane’s supposed lack of commitment.

Mourinho refused to blame Eriksen and instead hinted it was Inter who should shoulder the responsibility.

“The only thing I can say is Eriksen since I arrive, he is behaving in a very, very professional way, with me and the team,” Mourinho said.

“Tottenham is the last one to blame for this situation, but to be on the 25th of January in a situation like this is not nice.”

Mourinho Says Kane ‘Irreplaceable’ Ahead Of Tottenham, Liverpool Clash

Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho (L) congratulates English striker Harry Kane after the UEFA Champions League Group B football match against Olympiakos at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London on November 26, 2019. Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

 

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho said he would get “depressed” if he wallowed in the news that Harry Kane is to be missing for at least three months.

The Spurs striker has undergone surgery on a torn hamstring that will see him miss the majority of the remainder of the season at club level and in a race to be match fit to lead England at Euro 2020.

“If I speak too much about Harry, I get a bit depressed and then you are going to say he is miserable and in a bad mood,” said Mourinho, ahead of Premier League leaders Liverpool’s visit to north London on Saturday.

“Harry is irreplaceable. You know that we cannot play like we normally play when Harry Kane is in the team. We cannot do it the same way as we do with Harry.”

Spurs have been linked with a move for AC Milan’s Polish striker Krzysztof Piatek as cover for Kane’s absence with Tottenham needing to chase down a six-point gap to Chelsea to qualify for the Champions League next season.

However, Mourinho said he is willing to wait until the summer to add to his squad.

“If the boss arrives with the solution for these difficult months then so be it,” added the Portuguese.

“But if we don’t find the right opportunity or the right solution we are going to wait until summer to make decision for the evolution of the team.”

Kane is just one of a host of absences Mourinho must contend with for the visit of the European champions, who are looking for a record 20th win from their opening 21 games to the league season.

Moussa Sissoko is also absent until April, while Hugo Lloris, Ben Davies, Danny Rose and Tanguy Ndombele remain out.

Club captain Lloris has at least returned to training after three months out with a dislocated elbow suffered in a disappointing 3-0 defeat at Brighton in October.

The French number one has yet to feature under Mourinho, but he is looking forward to being able to call on Lloris’s experience after a difficult spell for Paulo Gazzaniga in goal.

“Lloris has not played a game for me. Ben has played one and did very, very well. It’s good news. By the end of the month we will have two new players,” Mourinho added.

“We have a goalkeeper that is doing his best and we have confidence in him but for Hugo to be back after such an important injury is good for him.”

No Quick Fixes For Tottenham In Transfer Window, Says Mourinho

 

Jose Mourinho says Tottenham will be “intelligent” in the January transfer window and there will be no quick fixes at the Premier League club.

Mourinho has repeatedly said that he will not be overhauling his squad this month and that any business could be dependent on players leaving.

One player who appears to be on his way out of the club is midfielder Christian Eriksen, whose contact expires in June, but it is not certain he will depart this month.

Mourinho, whose side have stumbled in recent weeks, walked into the club with his eyes wide open and said he was on the same page as chairman Daniel Levy.

“That was very clear for me and is very important for me to understand that before I came,” said the Portuguese boss, who took over from the sacked Mauricio Pochettino in November.

“This is our first transfer window, not the last,” he added. “We are going to have one in the summer, we are going to have one in 2021 January, we are going to have another one in the summer of 2021.

“We are going to have to try to be intelligent and we have to try to make the right decisions, not just for now, but for the development of a cycle.”

Spurs are struggling for numbers ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup trip to Middlesbrough.

Harry Kane, Tanguy Ndombele, Ben Davies, Danny Rose and Hugo Lloris are all injured and many players have played three games over the Christmas period.

Mourinho said he was likely to call on youth at the Riverside but emphasised that such a move did not mean the FA Cup was not important for the eight-time winners.

“Everybody’s going to be involved,” he said. “If you go to our squad and no Rose, no Davies, no Lloris, no Kane. I don’t know if Eric Dier will be ready but he is still to come back.

“When you say no, no, no, no, no you have to say (Oliver) Skipp, (Japhet) Tanganga, (Troy) Parrott, the young boys in.”

AFP

Spurs Boss Mourinho Expecting ‘Bad News’ On Kane Injury

Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho takes a team training session at Tottenham Hotspur’s Enfield Training Centre, in north London on November 25, 2019, ahead of their UEFA Champions League Group B football match against Olympiakos.
Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

Jose Mourinho said on Friday he was expecting “bad news” on Harry Kane’s hamstring injury after the England captain limped out of the 1-0 defeat at Southampton on New Year’s Day.

The Tottenham boss said the full extent of the problem would soon become apparent.

Kane pulled up as he slotted home Christian Eriksen’s free-kick 15 minutes from time on Wednesday but was flagged offside.

“I don’t know yet, I think maybe later today we have news,” Mourinho said. “But if you ask me just my feeling, good news or bad news, I am more bad news than good news, what the player felt, Harry Kane leaving a match the way he did.

“He didn’t think twice, didn’t take him two seconds to realise the severity of the situation.”

Spurs, who are sixth in the Premier League, face Championship side Middlesbrough in the FA Cup third round on Sunday.

Tottenham’s Defensive Mistakes Worry Mourinho

Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho reacts during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Brighton and Hove Albion at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on December 26, 2019. Tolga AKMEN / AFP

 

 

Jose Mourinho bemoaned Tottenham’s inability to keep clean sheets after twice having to come from behind to salvage a 2-2 draw at bottom-of-the-table Norwich.

Slack Spurs defending allowed Mario Vrancic to open the scoring and only a VAR review to harshly rule out Teemu Pukki’s goal prevented Mourinho’s men trailing 2-0 at half-time.

Even once the visitors had regained a foothold in the game via Christian Eriksen’s free-kick, they shot themselves in the foot at the back once more as Serge Aurier’s calamitous own goal restored Norwich’s lead.

Harry Kane’s penalty eight minutes from time ensured Spurs did not slump to a third defeat in seven games, but they failed to take the chance to leapfrog Chelsea into the top four.

The area of the field with work to do for Mourinho remains obvious and his side have kept just one clean sheet in 10 games since he took over.

Tottenham’s season is being chronicled as an Amazon documentary and Mourinho believes the focus of that show should be on his side’s defending.

“I think if Amazon wants to do episodes, they will have for sure one episode about our defensive mistakes and the goals that we concede,” he told Sky Sports.

“We conceded two very bad goals, the first and the one that was offside but two very bad goals.

“Second half I think we were very, very good with the ball; we create, dominate with play but again the goal (conceded) is a very bad one.

“To score two goals away from home, you have to win. You cannot concede as many goals as we do, but our defensive mistakes are match after match.”

Tottenham could have been out of sight inside the first 15 minutes as Dele Alli fired wastefully over before Kane was denied by a fine save from Tim Krul when one-on-one.

At the other end, Vrancic could not believe his luck as Toby Alderweireld stood off and allowed him to close in on goal before firing low past Paulo Gazzaniga to open the scoring 18 minutes in.

Only VAR prevented Tottenham falling further behind before the break as Jan Vertonghen allowed Pukki to control Vrancic’s ball over the top and the Finn finished clinically.

However, Pukki’s joy was short-lived as he was harshly adjudged to be offside after a VAR review.

“The disallowed goal was tough to take,” said Norwich manager Daniel Farke. “It’s not in the sense of the game.”

Mourinho showed his displeasure with Spurs’ first 45 minutes by making two half-time substitutions and changing his system as Lucas Moura and Davinson Sanchez replaced Juan Foyth and Vertonghen.

The Portuguese got the upturn in performance he desired as the visitors were level 10 minutes into the second half after Jamal Lewis handled on the edge of his own area to prevent Kane a clear sight of goal.

Eriksen has been a peripheral figure both under Mourinho and Mauricio Pochettino earlier in the season due to his contractual standoff with the club that will most likely see the Dane leave on a free transfer in the summer.

But he produced a timely reminder of his quality by curling the resulting free-kick into the top corner.

Moments later, the ball was in the Norwich net again but this time the offside flag went in the hosts’ favour as Alli’s classy finish was ruled out.

Just as Tottenham seemed to have taken control, the tide turned again in the other direction as Norwich retook the lead in comical fashion.

Aurier turned the ball into his own net after the ball ricocheted into his path from Alderweireld’s tackle on Pukki.

Spurs laid seige towards the Norwich goal in the final quarter and not for the first time this season Farke’s men were unable to see the game out.

Kane was wiped out by Zimmermann as he cut inside and the England captain picked himself up to dispatch the resulting penalty.

AFP

‘I Am Not Mourinho’s Clone,’Says Lampard

 

Chelsea’s English head coach Frank Lampard , 2019. OZAN KOSE / AFP

 

Frank Lampard insists he doesn’t want to emulate Jose Mourinho’s unique style as the Chelsea manager plots to out-wit his old boss in Sunday’s crucial clash at Tottenham.

Lampard’s first Premier League meeting with Mourinho is the headline act in a fascinating derby that will determine which of the London rivals spends Christmas Day in the top four.

Spurs manager Mourinho played a key role in Lampard’s emergence as one of Chelsea’s all-time greats during their time together at Stamford Bridge.

Yet while Mourinho’s managerial credentials are well established after winning a host of trophies during his glittering 19-year career, Lampard is still carving out a name for himself in the coaching world.

The former England midfielder is in just his second season as a manager after leaving Championship side Derby to take charge at Chelsea in July.

Lampard acknowledges Mourinho was a big influence on him as a player but, now he is in the dug-out, he will follow his own path rather than copy the Portuguese coach.

Asked to name the most important lesson he took from working with Mourinho, Lampard said: “There’s not one thing, no; he’s obviously a good manager with loads of good attributes.

“But there’s not one specific thing I learned working under him, and I wouldn’t strive to be a clone or anything.

“I’m happy to go up against Jose; for me to play under him, he was a big influence in my career.”

Lampard and Mourinho remain on good terms from their Chelsea days — the Tottenham manager promising a “big hug” when they meet before kick-off and talking of his “love” for the 41-year-old.

But that didn’t stop the student admitting beating his old teacher in such an important game would be a memorable moment.

READ ALSO:I Am 100% Tottenham,’Says Mourinho Ahead Of Chelsea Clash

– ‘Every point is crucial’ –

Chelsea were 12 points ahead of Tottenham when Mourinho replaced the sacked Mauricio Pochettino in November.

That gap is now down to just three after Mourinho masterminded an immediate Tottenham revival with four wins from his five league games.

In contrast, Chelsea are experiencing the first major blip of Lampard’s reign after four defeats in their last five league matches.

“To go up against him for Derby against Manchester United last year was a big deal for me. And that still remains,” said Lampard in reference to last season’s win over Mourinho when they met in the League Cup third round.

“I’ll always have respect for him. The bigger thing is Chelsea-Tottenham, and what that rivalry means to our players and us.

Lampard won two league titles with Mourinho at Chelsea, but they are managerial peers now and the former England star recognises his old boss has a squad capable of denting his ambitions by knocking the Blues out of the top four.

“It should be relatively even when you look at the last four years, where Chelsea and Tottenham have been fighting to get into the top four. It’s always a competitive fixture,” Lampard said.

Mourinho’s impact at Tottenham has surprised some who claimed he was finished as a top manager after his last two jobs with Chelsea and United ended in acrimonious circumstances.

But the 56-year-old never doubted his ability to Tottenham back on track and now he wants to underline their resurgence with a statement win against Chelsea.

“When we arrived we were 12 points distance, we were closer to the bottom than the top,” Mourinho said.

“But of course we knew where we belong and we knew it was a question of time to leave this awful position and to have an approach.

“We know we can end this year in the top four. But this is not just between us and Chelsea. Manchester United are involved, Wolves are involved. Every point is crucial.”

AFP

‘I Am 100% Tottenham,’Says Mourinho Ahead Of Chelsea Clash

 

Jose Mourinho 
Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

Jose Mourinho insists his loyalties are completely with Tottenham as the former Chelsea boss prepares for an emotional clash with his old club.

Mourinho once claimed he could never manage Tottenham due to his two successful spells with their London rivals Chelsea.

But the Portuguese coach accepted Tottenham’s offer to replace Mauricio Pochettino in November and on Sunday he will come face to face with Chelsea for the first time since taking charge in north London.

While Mourinho earned his place in Chelsea folklore for the six trophies he won at Stamford Bridge, which include three Premier League titles, he made it clear he no longer concerns himself with the Blues because his allegiance is with Tottenham.

“For me, it’s a game. I am 100 per cent Tottenham, 100 per cent my club always, all my career,” Mourinho told reporters on Friday.

“No space at all for my previous clubs. I gave everything to all of them. Everything. I kept nothing.

“I gave everything but they are my previous clubs. I give everything to my club – my club is Tottenham.

“It’s so easy for me to play that game. Difficult because of Chelsea’s quality but not difficult from an emotional point of view.”

Mourinho will remember that some Chelsea fans gave him a hard time when he returned to the Bridge as Manchester United boss, chanting “you’re not special anymore” in reference to his self-styled ‘special one’ nickname.

He is likely to endure more taunts from Chelsea supporters at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this weekend, adding another layer of intrigue to an already explosive fixture.

Tottenham are in good form in the early days of Mourinho’s reign and another win over Chelsea, who have struggled in recent weeks, would take them above the Blues in the top four despite trailing their rivals by 12 points when Pochettino was dismissed.

Mourinho will come up against a familiar face in the opposition dugout in the shape of Frank Lampard, one of the key players his two reigns at Chelsea.

The former Real Madrid boss revealed there will be a big hug waiting for Lampard, but he will not be inviting him for a post-match drink.

“I don’t think so because our stadium is built in the way that our office is completely on the inside our private headquarters,” Mourinho said.

“Until now I didn’t invite any managers to go there and I don’t think I’ll do that with Frank.

“But like I used to say, a big hug before the game and another after the game, that’s for sure independent of results and who is happy.

“I think our feelings will be forever. I’ll always be grateful to him for what he gave me as a player.

“Nothing is going to change that. I love the guy, I will always love the guy. I hope he loses on Sunday.”

AFP