Mourinho says he is ‘champion of the last five matches’
Tottenham manager quick to point out that he has fourth best record since taking over
Tottenham manager José Mourinho has defended his record since taking over. Photo: Adam Davy/Pool via Getty Images
José Mourinho has issued a not so subtle reminder that he remains a “Special One” by emphasising that Tottenham’s Premier League record since he succeeded Mauricio Pochettino last November is the fourth-best in the top tier.
Spurs are destined to finish sixth or seventh following their trip to Crystal Palace on Sunday, with their Europa League qualification hopes hinging on results elsewhere, but the manager maintains the league table obscures the quality of his work.
“If this is about individuals and my individual approach, I’m fourth in the league,” a relaxed Mourinho said in answer to a question as to whether he still ranked among the world’s best managers.
“If you think I need to show something, okay I’m going to try,” said the Portuguese, who has collected 25 senior trophies in four different countries. “I arrive [when the team were] 14th, eight points difference to Arsenal but if the league starts then no problem. And, if you want to laugh with me, I am the champion of the last five matches.”
Indeed a Spurs side who had collected a modest 14 points from 12 games under Pochettino, and were 11 points in arrears of fourth place when Mourinho took over, have returned from lockdown in particularly strong form.
With Harry Kane restored to attack following hamstring surgery in January, Spurs have won five games, drawn two and endured only one defeat, softening the memory of some of their early teething troubles under Mourinho.
Overall, Tottenham’s record during the 25 league games of his tenure has been bettered only by Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United but he does not want to dwell on what might have been. “My most important season is the next one,” Mourinho said. “I look forward to next season, that’s my mission.”
Mourinho – set to welcome back Dele Alli from injury and Eric Dier from suspension – is confident he will be able to strengthen his squad during the summer and has received boardroom assurances there is no need to sell before he can buy.
“I think we’re going in the right direction. Very calm, organised, thinking well, measured, thinking of everything. We are very balanced, we’re together. Step by step we’ll end with a better, more balanced squad than we have now; keeping the great players we have is a very important thing.”
The tactical analyst Ricardo Formosinho will leave the club at the end of the season and Mourinho said his replacement had “a history and connection with the club”. He did not say who it was but Ledley King, who has an ambassadorial role, is in talks to join the club in a new position. – Guardian