Verona Inflict First Loss On Mourinho’s Roma


Hellas Verona players celebrate after Hellas Verona’s Italian midfielder Davide Faraoni (unseen) scored a goal during the Italian Serie A football match between Hellas Verona and AS Roma at the Marcantonio Bentegodi stadium in Verona, on September 19, 2021.
MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

 

Roma dropped their first points in Serie A under Jose Mourinho on Sunday as Verona came from behind to earn new coach Igor Tudor a 3-2 victory on his debut.

Lorenzo Pellegrini’s clever backheel flick gave visitors Roma a half-time lead in the pouring rain as they sought a fourth successive win to start the season.

Antonin Barak equalised for Verona shortly after the interval and Gianluca Caprari put the hosts ahead with a precise finish five minutes later.

Ivan Ilic turned a Pellegrini cross into his own goal to bring Roma level before the hour, but Davide Faraoni’s brilliant volley secured the win for Verona to halt a run of three straight losses.

Roma’s city rivals Lazio needed a late goal from Danilo Cataldi to salvage a 2-2 draw at home to Cagliari.

Ciro Immobile struck for the fifth time in four games as Lazio went ahead just before the break.

Joao Pedro’s looping header pegged Lazio back right at the start of the second half, with Keita Balde then firing home against his former club to put Cagliari on top.

But the Sardinian club couldn’t hold on for victory in Walter Mazzarri’s first game in charge as Cataldi fired into the top corner seven minutes from time to rescue Lazio.

Venezia’s first Serie A home match since the 2001-02 season ended in a crushing 2-1 loss to Spezia.

Simone Bastoni curled in a sensational effort as Spezia grabbed an early lead at the Stadio Pier Luigi Penzo, an intriguing ground set on the south-eastern tip of Venice’s main archipelago.

Pietro Ceccaroni headed Venezia level on the hour but Mehdi Bourabia’s brilliant injury-time strike from distance earned Thiago Motta’s Spezia a first win.

AC Milan will attempt to bounce back from defeat in their first Champions League match since 2014 when they travel to fierce rivals Juventus later on Sunday.

Juve are trying to build on their 3-0 win at Malmo and crack Milan’s perfect start to the league campaign.

Massimiliano Allegri’s side were considered the pre-season favourites for the Scudetto but the sudden departure of Cristiano Ronaldo and only one draw to show from three matches has left them in disarray.

Juve are second from bottom and nine points behind defending champions and league leaders Inter Milan.

AFP

Plot Thickens As Perez Recordings Target Ronaldo, Mourinho

In this file photo taken on December 3, 2018 Real Madrid’s president Florentino Perez poses upon arrival at the 2018 Ballon d’Or award ceremony at the Grand Palais in Paris.  FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

Spanish online daily El Confidencial on Wednesday followed up a batch of audio recordings of Real Madrid chairman Florentino Perez disparaging two former club legends with similar outbursts on former star Cristiano Ronaldo and former coach Jose Mourinho.

The latest quotes follow publication by El Confidencial on Tuesday of older recordings dating from 2006 in which Perez called club legends Raul and Iker Casillas “the two biggest Real Madrid frauds.”

In the second set of quotes Perez attacks Ronaldo, who won a huge haul of trophies with  Real between 2009 and 2018, including four Champions Leagues.

“He is mad. This guy is an imbecile, sick. You think this guy is normal — he’s not or else he wouldn’t do all the things he does,” Perez said in the latest comments to an unidentified person, the latest of which dates from 2012.

Perez also hits out at Portuguese agent Jorge Mendes who represents both Ronaldo and Mourinho, who sat in the Real dugout from 2010 to 2013.

“Mendes has no control over him (Ronaldo) and it’s the same with Mourinho — none at all,” said Perez.

“Even for interviews, they don’t listen to him. These are two guys with terrible egos, spoilt the pair of them, who don’t see the reality because they could both earn a lot more money if they did  things were different.

“They are both abnormal because we are talking about a lot of money in image rights.

“Also, it is because of the image they have, their provocative side, the fact that any people don’t like them … It’s the opposite of good publicity,” said Perez, who prides himself on his focus on Real Madrid’s business side and was a prime mover in the attempted Super league.

Many of the quotes appeared in a book by the journalist Jose Antonio Abellan “Assault on Real Madrid” published in 2015.

Perez complained on Tuesday that Abellan had made the recordings secretly and said the timing was related to his role as an organiser of the Super League.

“The quotes are from conversations clandestinely recorded by Jose Antonio Abellan, who has been trying to sell them for years without success,” said Perez, whose second stint as chairman runs to 2025.

“They are loose phrases from conversations taken out of the broad context in which they occur. That they are being reproduced now, after so many years have passed, I understand that it is due to my participation as one of the promoters of the Super League.”

He warned Tuesday that his lawyers “are studying possible actions to be taken.”

AFP

Sarri Not Intimidated By Rome Rival Mourinho’s Successes

File photo: ex-Juventus’ Italian coach Maurizio Sarri looks on during the Italian Cup (Coppa Italia) round of 16 football match Juventus vs Udinese on January 15, 2020 at the Juventus stadium in Turin. Isabella BONOTTO / AFP

 

Jose Mourinho’s trophy cabinet may be bulging but new Lazio boss Maurizio Sarri said Friday that counts for nothing as the former Chelsea managers prepare to share the Stadio Olimpico next season.

Mourinho will coach Roma while Sarri takes charge of city rivals Lazio, both housed in the same stadium in the Italian capital.

“I can’t see this great dualism with Mourinho,” Sarri told a press conference in the Italian capital.

“I met him and he is a good character. He has won much more than me, has a higher pedigree than mine, even if it doesn’t count for anything. In the derby we will do everything, and more, to get through the match.”

Mourinho, 58, famously dubbed himself ‘the Special One’ to announce his arrival at Chelsea, who he lead to a first English league title in 50 years in 2005, going on to win two more league titles, and eight trophies in total in Stamford Bridge.

The Portuguese, who has won 25 trophies as a coach in his career including the Champions League with Inter Milan and Porto, signed for Roma two weeks after being sacked by Tottenham.

Sarri won his first coaching trophy with Chelsea in the Europa League in 2019 before moving to Juventus where he won Serie A in 2000 before being dismissed.

But the 62-year-old believes he has found the right fit in Lazio, a team who have won Serie A twice, most recently in 2000.

“I chose Lazio for two reasons — a personal one and a sporting one,” said the Italian coach famed for his ‘Sarriball’ fast-paced, possession-based style brand of attacking football at Napoli from 2015-18.

“I saw in this club the characteristics to express myself at best. In this team I see the conditions to play the football I like.

“Lazio comes at a time when I needed this type of club, with these characteristics, which could lead me to do this job in the way that suits me best.”

He added: “The club wanted to me to sign a four-year contract.

“I wanted it shorter because I want to be sure in two years that I have the same energy. We will play in a different way, we will try to remain competitive.”

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In this file photo taken on March 4, 2021, Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho looks on during the English Premier League football match between Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur at Craven Cottage in London.  NEIL HALL / POOL / AFP

 

Sarri takes over from Simone Inzaghi who moved to Serie A champions Inter Milan after five years in Rome.

Inzaghi beat Sarri’s Juventus to lift the Italian Super Cup in 2019 and also challenged for the Serie A title in the 2019-2020 season before finishing fourth after the coronavirus disruption.

Lazio finished sixth last season.

AFP

‘He Won’t Go Against The Players’ – Pogba Compares Solskjaer’s Man-Management To Mourinho’s

 

Manchester United’s French midfielder Paul Pogba warms up ahead of the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Manchester United at The London Stadium, in east London on December 5, 2020.
Justin Setterfield / POOL / AFP

 

Rejuvenated Manchester United star Paul Pogba has criticized former boss Jose Mourinho on his man management techniques, accusing him of leaving players dejected for no reason.

Pogba and Mourinho had a somewhat torrid relationship when the Portuguese controlled the reins at Old Trafford.

With the see saw performance exhibited by the Frenchman and continued criticism from former club legends, the situation worsened to the point that the Portuguese stripped Pogba of the captain’s arm band.

In an interview with Skysports, the French midfielder was full of praise for the current boss, Ole -Gunner Solskjaer and his role in making the team a strong unit.

“What I have now with Ole is different, he wouldn’t go against the players,” the former world cup winner said when asked about this relationship with the current boss.

“He wouldn’t go against the players… Maybe Ole wouldn’t pick them, but it’s not like he puts them on the side like they don’t exist anymore. That’s the difference between Mourinho and Ole.”

The 28-year-old seemed befuddled on how things went sour between he and the current Tottenham boss.

 

Mourinho and Pogba pictured in Champions League action. AFP

 

“Once I had a great relationship with Mourinho, everybody saw that, and the next day you don’t know what happened. That’s the strange thing I had with Mourinho and I cannot explain to you because even I don’t know. So, yeah,” he stated.

Pogba, whose future at Old Trafford still remains a doubt, believes Mourinho was his usual coy self in evading reality and refusing to admit defeat by criticising Solskjaer’s post-match comments

“If you have to steal to feed your kids, you steal. I am very, very disappointed, and like we say in Portugal bread is bread and cheese is cheese, I told Ole already what I think about his comments” when asked on his thoughts about Mourinho’s jibe at Ole.

“We won the game, he lost the game and he doesn’t want to speak about the game, he wants to speak about the dad of someone, that’s what he does. Everybody knows him, it’s very Mourinho.

 

Paul Pogba and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. AFP

 

Continuing in his praise for the Norwegian, Pogba stated he and once out of favour team mate Luke Shaw have thrived under the current leadership due to his approach

“Maybe [Solskjaer’s methods work] because he is a bit closer to the people,” he said.

“Ole has helped Luke a lot, it was a difficult season with Luke and Mourinho, and he has proved he has the quality he always had and the trust of the manager.”

Pogba will be hoping to close the gap on  Manchester City when his side take on Burnley on Sunday.

Spurs’ 6-1 Win At Man Utd Was Freak Result, Says Mourinho

File photo: Tottenham’s Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho gestures during UEFA Europa League football Group J first-leg football match between Royal Antwerp FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at the Bosuilstadion in Antwerp on October 29, 2020. JOHN THYS / AFP

 

Jose Mourinho said Friday that he does not believe Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be using Manchester United’s 6-1 humbling by Spurs in October as motivation for their Premier League clash on Sunday.

Spurs dished out United’s joint heaviest Premier League defeat at Old Trafford thanks to a fine attacking display and a defensive horror show from the home side.

Former United manager Mourinho, now in charge of Tottenham, believes the match early in the season, in which United’s Anthony Martial was sent off, produced a freak result.

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“I believe that 6-1 doesn’t reflect the reality,” he said on Friday. “I go much more in the direction of the other two previous matches between us and United.

“We lost 2-1 at Old Trafford, with the penalty, and we draw 1-1 at home last season, also with a penalty. I think this is more the reality.

“If Solskjaer is going to use that result I don’t know. If it was my team losing 6-1 to them I would just say to my guys that it happened once and it’s not going to happen twice.”

United boss Solskjaer described the Old Trafford humbling as his most embarrassing experience in football.

But his side have made enormous progress since then. They are 11 points clear of sixth-placed Spurs and on course to finish as runners-up behind Manchester City.

A huge factor behind United’s resurgence has been their form on the road — they have not lost away in the Premier League since January last year.

File photo: Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on September 20, 2020. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / POOL / AFP)

 

But Mourinho said that record would not intimidate his team, who are desperate to break into the top four after an inconsistent season.

“I am not going to comment on the record other than to say congratulations for the record,” said the Spurs boss.

“We are going to try and win the match. It is the only thing that I can say.

“It is very difficult for many reasons but that record is not going to stop us to think we can win and it is not going to stop us to fight to win.”

AFP

Mourinho Feels Pain After Worst-Ever European Night

File photo: Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on September 20, 2020. (Photo by ANDREW BOYERS / POOL / AFP)

 

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho said he has never experienced a similar feeling to the pain of crashing out of the Europa League to Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday.

Spurs took a 2-0 first leg lead to the Croatian capital, but a hat-trick of excellent finishes from Mislav Orsic claimed a huge shock for Dinamo.

Mourinho turned on his players’ attitude after the match, while Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris branded the result a “disgrace”.

In his two previous campaigns in the Europa League, Mourinho won the competition with Porto and Manchester United.

The Portuguese also won the Champions League with Porto and Inter Milan, while the majority of his exits from European football’s top competition have come in the latter stages to the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich.

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“Honestly I don’t believe (I had) a similar feeling,” said Mourinho when asked if it was his worst European exit.

“I had in Europe moments of big pain but pain caused by what football is. I lost two Champions League semi-finals on penalties. It hurts you. (I’m) maybe still bleeding.

“But the passion for football, the respect for your job is something that hurts me deeply. And I have this very bad feeling. This very bad feeling because maybe for some people in football, football is a job or a way to make money.

“For me, it’s much more than that. That’s what I never lose – this basics of football, which is the passion, the heart, the desire. I feel very, very hurt that I cannot find more words to describe it.”

Mourinho’s future at Tottenham is now in doubt with a return to the Champions League next season looking unlikely.

Jose Mourinho (file photo)

 

Spurs are eighth in the Premier League, six points adrift of the top four, although they do have a game in hand away to Aston Villa on Sunday.

Mourinho also has one other chance to save his first full season in charge when Tottenham face runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City in the League Cup final next month.

But he acknowledged the size of the task his side face at Wembley if they are to halt City’s quest for an unprecedented quadruple.

“The only chance that we have to win a trophy this season is the final that we have to play against a very good team, against the next champions and a team that match after match show an incredible desire of winning,” added Mourinho.

“So it’ll be a very difficult final and if we want to have a chance to win it, the attitude has to be completely different.”

AFP

Bale’s Social Media Post ‘Totally Wrong,’ Says Mourinho

 

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho said on Friday that Gareth Bale’s upbeat midweek Instagram post was a “contradiction” with reality, insisting that the Wales international had reported fitness concerns.

Bale, on loan from Real Madrid, missed Wednesday’s 5-4 FA Cup defeat at Everton after he was absent from training on Monday and asked for a scan following some discomfort.

The 31-year-old, who has struggled to make an impact since his return to Spurs, was an unused substitute in Sunday’s 2-0 win over West Brom.

Despite not being available for the trip to Goodison Park, a social media update from the Welshman a day earlier stated: “Good session today.”

Mourinho was quizzed on the Bale’s availability ahead of Saturday’s match at Premier League leaders Manchester City.

“It was a contradiction between the post and the reality,” the Portuguese said at his pre-match press conference.

“Since the beginning of the season in relationship to everything, I try to be very private and try to keep everything indoors, but I felt I needed to address the situation.

“Probably the post was not even his responsibility, I don’t know. But the post was showing ‘training session great and I am ready’ and was totally wrong.”

Mourinho said Bale had reported “not feeling good” and had asked for a scan.

“He had a scan, the scan didn’t show an injury but his feelings were still there and coaches, sports science and medical people, we can never go against feelings because the player’s feelings are much more important than all of us,” said the Spurs boss.

“So he was not ready for the game. It is as simple as that. If he is ready for tomorrow, he is selected for tomorrow.”

-AFP

 

‘Injuries Are Normal’: Mourinho Takes Swipe At Wounded Liverpool Ahead Showdown

File photo: Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on September 20, 2020. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Jose Mourinho took a swipe at title rivals, Liverpool, on Tuesday as the Tottenham manager claimed the Premier League champions do not have an injury crisis.

Jurgen Klopp’s side will be without a host of injured stars including Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Diego Jota and Thiago Alcantara when leaders Tottenham face second-placed Liverpool at Anfield on Wednesday.

Xherdan Shaqiri, Kostas Tsimikas and James Milner are also sidelined for Liverpool, while Naby Keita and Joel Matip could miss out due to injury issues.

But Mourinho insisted Liverpool’s strongest team has not been affected because Netherlands centre-back Van Dijk is their only significant absentee.

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“I think Alisson is not injured. Alexander-Arnold is not injured. Matip, I believe that he’s going to play. Fabinho is not injured. Robertson is not injured. Henderson is not injured. Wijnaldum is not injured. Salah is not injured, Firmino is not injured, Mane is not injured,” Mourinho told reporters on Tuesday.

“Van Dijk is injured and Van Dijk is a very good player of course. But give me a Liverpool list of injuries and compare that list with what is the best Liverpool team.

“I can give you a list of 10 injuries at Tottenham. We have two kids of the Under-16s with injuries, we have two others in the Under-21s and two in the Under-23s, we have Lamela and Tanganga. And here is a list of 10 players.

“But is Lloris injured? No. Alderweireld injured? No. Dier injured? No. Reguilon injured no? Harry Kane injured? No. Son injured? No. Lucas injured? No. So where are the injuries?

“Injuries are normal. James Milner is injured, Lamela is injured. You know. Every club has injuries now and again. Liverpool has a big injury which is Van Dijk.”

– Results machine –

Tottenham are unbeaten in 11 Premier Leagues games since losing to Everton on the opening weekend of the season.

Chasing a first top-flight title since 1961, Tottenham sit above Liverpool on goal difference and must avoid defeat on Wednesday to retain pole position.

Klopp praised Mourinho on Tuesday for the work he has done at Tottenham since replacing Mauricio Pochettino last season.

The Liverpool boss said Mourinho had turned Tottenham into a “results machine”.

But Mourinho is adamant his side are still behind Liverpool in their development.

“Jurgen says that because if you look to our results this season, we lost one in the Premier League and we lost one in the Europa League so our results are very positive,” the Mourinho said.

“But I think it’s too early, and the period of good results is about a few months and a results machine of course is much more than that.

“A result machine is what Liverpool has been for the past couple of years, a result machine was what my Chelsea was in the period we won the two consecutive titles.

“We are a good team that works hard but I would say Liverpool is the result of if I’m not wrong 1,894 days of work with Jurgen — 1,894. If I’m wrong I’m wrong by a few days.

“We are the result of work of 390 days, but these 390 days are fake, because probably lots of these days were not even days of work but days of quarantine, days of being at home unable to work.

“So from almost 2,000 to 300. For us to be able to compete at the level we’re doing I can only give credit to the players and be very, very happy with what they’re doing.”

Tottenham are likely to be without Gareth Bale at Anfield as the Wales forward is suffering from an non-coronavirus related illness.

AFP

We Beat Man City By Strategy, Says Mourinho

Tottenham Hotspur’s Argentinian midfielder Giovani Lo Celso (R) reacts with Tottenham Hotspur’s French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (C) after the final whistle of the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on November 21, 2020. (Photo by NEIL HALL / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Tottenham coach, Jose Mourinho has said his players’ commitment and their ability to follow through a strategy, ensured victory over Manchester City in a Premier League clash on Saturday. 

“The players gave everything and followed a strategy. They were amazing,” Mourinho said. “We found a way to play and it was magnificent to see them play how they did.”

Tottenham powered to the top of the Premier League with an impressive 2-0 win against Manchester City, while Chelsea are up to second place after their victory at Newcastle on Saturday.

Manchester United remain well off the pace in ninth but did manage a first home win in the Premier League for seven games as Bruno Fernandes’s twice-taken penalty saw off lowly West Brom 1-0.

Spurs end the day on top of the table for the first time in six years as goals from Son Heung-min and Giovani Lo Celso saw off a toothless City at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium.

Tottenham took the lead after five minutes as Son ran onto Tanguy Ndombele’s lofted pass, beat the City offside trap and slotted a cool finish under Ederson for already his 11th goal of the season.

City dominated possession but struggled to create chances and were cut open again for Spurs’ second with just their second shot on target.

Lo Celso came off the bench to score just 35 seconds after his introduction as he raced onto Harry Kane’s sublime pass to slot past Ederson.

On the one-year anniversary of Jose Mourinho’s appointment, Tottenham are unbeaten in their last eight league games since losing to Everton on the opening weekend, sparking hopes of a genuine title challenge.

Tottenham, who last won the top-flight title in 1961, lead Chelsea by two points with the two set to face each other next weekend.

City are languishing in 11th place, eight points behind the leaders, albeit with a game in hand.

Pep Guardiola extended his contract at the Etihad to 2023 this week, but his side look a shadow of the swaggering outfit that won successive league titles in 2018 and 2019.

Twelve points from eight games is City’s lowest total at this stage of a Premier League campaign since 2008-09.

“We had more chances than them but we lost. Mourinho’s teams are like this, you make a mistake and they punish you on the counter attack,” Guardiola said.

– ‘Stay humble’ –
Chelsea maintained their fine form as Federico Fernandez’s first-half own goal and Tammy Abraham’s strike sealed a 2-0 win at St James’ Park.

Frank Lampard’s side are unbeaten in nine games in all competitions and have not lost in their last six league matches.

With five clean sheets in their last six outings in all competitions, Chelsea’s third successive league victory was the perfect way to start a hectic period leading up to Christmas.

The visitors’ pressure was rewarded in the 10th minute when Mason Mount whipped in a low cross and Fernandez turned it into his own net under pressure from Ben Chilwell.

Chelsea put the result beyond doubt in the 65th minute when Timo Werner accelerated away from the Newcastle defence and slipped a pass to Abraham, who guided his shot in off the post.

“I won’t get excited about being top of the table for five minutes,” said Lampard. “It’s important to be humble and know it’s a long race.”

United still have a long way to go to claw themselves back into title contention as they again flattered to deceive at Old Trafford despite picking up a long-awaited win.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men got two slices of penalty fortune as West Brom were awarded a spot-kick first early in the second-half when Fernandes challenged Connor Gallagher.

However, on review, referee David Coote overturned his original decision.

Moments later, the Red Devils got a penalty for Darnell Furlong’s handball.

Fernandes’s first effort was saved, but he got a second chance as Sam Johnstone had jumped off his line prior to the Portuguese international’s kick.

Fernandes slammed home the reprieve, but was still not happy at missing from the spot for the third time this season.

“Ok, I scored the second one but I need to score the first one,” he said. “Three points is the most important thing but we know we can do much better and we will do for sure.”

Earlier, Aston Villa missed the chance to go top for a few hours as Brighton ended a run of seven games without a win with a 2-1 victory at Villa Park.

Solly March scored the winner after Ezri Konsa cancelled out Danny Welbeck’s opener.

AFP

Mourinho Laments Fixtures Pile Up, Says Spurs Can’t Compete In League Cup

File photo: Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on September 20, 2020. (Photo by ANDREW BOYERS / POOL / AFP) .

 

 

Jose Mourinho has blamed football chiefs for effectively preventing Tottenham Hotspur from fighting for League Cup success and fears more injuries as his side face three games in six days.

Spurs host Mourinho’s former club Chelsea in the League Cup fourth round on Tuesday before a final Europa League qualifying tie at home to Maccabi Haifa just 48 hours later.

The hectic week is topped off by a trip to Manchester United, another of the Portuguese manager’s former clubs, for a Premier League clash on Sunday.

Mourinho said he would like to mount a challenge for the League Cup but the added financial value of reaching the Europa League group stage meant that competition had to take precedence.

File photo: 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

 

“I think you can imagine that with a game on Thursday, that decides a very important thing for us — I think the EFL (English Football League) made a decision for us,” said the Spurs boss.

“They didn’t even create a problem — they made a decision for us. So that’s the decision.”

Spurs lost Son Heung-min to a hamstring injury at half-time of the 1-1 draw with Newcastle on Sunday.

The South Korea forward had already hit the woodwork twice after scoring four goals in the previous Premier League outing at Southampton.

Mourinho believes Son’s setback will be the first of a number of injury problems his side will have to overcome due to their fixture congestion.

Asked if playing a Chelsea side who had to fight from three goals down to draw at West Brom on Saturday gave Tottenham a good chance of progressing in the League Cup, the Portuguese replied:

“You’re joking or you’re serious? Chelsea played Saturday, they have Sunday and Monday (off) then they play Tuesday and then they play again on the weekend.

“So their fantastic squad, if the manager decides not to rotate, he can perfectly play with the players that he wants.”

AFP

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 Meets Familiar Foes Man Utd As Liverpool Resume Title Quest

Mourinho Blames National Coaches For United's Injury Woes
Manchester United’s Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho gestures from the touchline after the final whistle in the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on August 27, 2018.
Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho is hoping to exact revenge on former employers Manchester United, while Liverpool aim to move within one win of the title as the Premier League’s return kicks up a gear across a four-day weekend of action.

The English top flight got its first taste of empty stands and strict hygiene protocols on Wednesday as Aston Villa’s goalless draw with Sheffield United and Manchester City’s 3-0 victory over Arsenal restarted the campaign.

Despite the muted atmosphere, there remains plenty to play for at both ends of the table with the clash between Tottenham and United pivotal in the battle for Champions League qualification.

Both sit outside the top four with nine games remaining. However, United’s position in fifth could be good enough to secure a return to the Champions League if Manchester City’s appeal against a two-season ban from European competition is unsuccessful.

Spurs could prove to be the biggest winners of the three-month lockdown.

Before the break, Mourinho claimed he could not wait for the season to finish as injuries to Harry Kane, Son Heung-min, Moussa Sissoko and Steven Bergwijn appeared to have ended their campaigns.

All four are now fit again and victory would lift Tottenham to within one point of the club that sacked Mourinho in December 2018.

“The reality is we are now in a better position to where we were before,” said Mourinho.

“We got Harry and Sonny back, the players with the best stats in terms of scoring and assists. They give us this kind of attacking power.”

United were the form side in the league prior to the lockdown.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men are unbeaten in 11 games but also benefited from the break as Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba return from long-term injuries.

Rashford has made waves for his power off the field with a campaign to provide vulnerable children with food vouchers forcing a British government U-turn.

But the England international is desperate to get back on more familiar ground after being sidelined by a back injury since January.

“It’s been a long time, but I think I needed it,” Rashford told Sky Sports.

“Within my body I definitely feel confident again and ready to play games. The timing has worked out well for me.”

Solskjaer said Pogba is “raring to go” after an injury-ravaged season and could be paired with January signing Bruno Fernandes in the United midfield for the first time.

– Liverpool excitement building –

City’s victory over Arsenal means Liverpool cannot seal a first league title in 30 years against Everton on Sunday, much to the blue side of Merseyside’s relief.

Jurgen Klopp’s men are just two wins away from the historic feat and victory at Goodison Park will allow them the chance to win the league on home soil when Crystal Palace visit Anfield on Wednesday.

“You can feel it,” said Klopp of the excitement building around his side’s return. “I feel the intensity everywhere.”

The match will take place in Liverpool despite fears over fans congregating outside both stadiums in the city. Goodison and Anfield are separated by less than a mile.

Klopp has urged his supporters to be “the best stay at home fans in the world”.

The earliest Liverpool could now be crowned champions is on Monday should the Reds win and City lose at home to Burnley.

At the other end of the table, Norwich, Villa and Bournemouth sit in the relegation zone, but just three points separate second-bottom Villa from Brighton in 15th.

Rock-bottom Norwich can ramp up the pressure on those above them even more should they close to within three points of safety in the first match of the weekend against Southampton.

Friday (all times GMT)

Norwich v Southampton (1700), Tottenham v Manchester United (1915)

Saturday

Watford v Leicester (1130), Brighton v Arsenal (1400), West Ham v Wolves (1630), Bournemouth v Crystal Palace (1845)

Sunday

Newcastle v Sheffield United (1300), Aston Villa v Chelsea (1515), Everton v Liverpool (1800)

Monday

Manchester City v Brighton (1900)