04 May 2021

New Roma boss Jose Mourinho’s time at Tottenham – in his own quotes

04 May 2021

Jose Mourinho has agreed to take over at Roma barely two weeks after his 17-month spell with Tottenham ended.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at his most memorable quotes while in north London.

“I am humble. I am humble enough to try to analyse my career. Manchester last year, to analyse my career, the problems and the solutions. I was humble enough for that. The principle of the analysis was not to blame anyone else. I am nobody to advise people, but sometimes to have a break, it looked very positive for me.” – Mourinho declared himself the ‘humble one’ at his unveiling press conference in November 2019.

“I have already spoken with him and I asked him if he was Dele or Dele’s brother. He told me he was Dele. ‘OK,’ I said. ‘Play like Dele’.” – Mourinho made a beeline for Alli in his first press conference, in a storyline that would dominate his stay at Spurs.

“I am not Chelsea. I am not Chelsea, United, Inter, I am all of them. I give everything to all of them and that is what I am going to do here. To give absolutely everything I have. So Chelsea is the past, a great past, two periods, two periods with titles. But it’s the past.” – Mourinho’s insisted his Chelsea connection was not a problem upon his appointment at one of their big rivals.

“For 90 minutes you cannot be nice, for 90 minutes you have to be a bunch of c***s, but intelligent c***s, not stupid c***s. B******s in the sense that you are there to win matches man.” – The Portuguese was blunt in his assessment of his new team, in an early team-talk shown on the Amazon All or Nothing documentary.

“I think the yellow card is fair because I was rude, but I was rude to an idiot. And for some reason, I was rude, but I was and because I was I deserve the yellow card.” – Mourinho got in a spat with Southampton goalkeeping coach Andrew Sparkes following a 1-0 loss at St Mary’s Stadium on January 1 2020.

“He is always injured, he is injured, is not injured. He plays one match, the next week he is injured, he plays another match. We are full of hopes and this is since the beginning of the season.” – In the same press conference, Mourinho made his first swipe at club record signing Tanguy Ndombele, who went off injured in the first half.

“For me the referees are not the referees. I think the VAR should change their name because Video Assistant Referee is not true. It should be VR – Video Referee – because they are the referees. It is strange. You see the refs on pitch and they not the refs, they are the assistants. The other guys in the office are the ones who make the big decisions of the game.” – Mourinho was on a roll and also at Southampton he questioned the new VAR system.

Jose Mourinho has criticised Tanguy Ndombele (PA Archive)

“We didn’t have a midfield in the first half. I know the Premier League is difficult and some players take a long time to adapt to a different league. But a player with his potential has to give us more than he is giving us.” – Mourinho was gunning for Ndombele again, having taken him off at half-time of the 1-1 draw with Burnley in March 2020.

“I had to manage this chess game without piece. You know. No bishops, no kings, no queens. Very, very hard with so many injuries and problems. I cannot speak about the progress I want to make because I don’t have the players I want.” – Mourinho went all Queen’s Gambit when he lost a fourth attacking player in the build-up to a Champions League tie in March 2020.

“I am going to be repetitive. I would love to be at July 1. I would love to be in pre-season, working with Harry Kane, (Moussa) Sissoko and Sonny. That’s not possible.” Or so he thought. But shortly after this quote in March 2020, the season was shutdown due to the coronavirus, allowing all of his injured players to recover.

“I accept that my actions were not in line with government protocol and we must only have contact with members of our own household. It is vital we all play our part and follow government advice in order to support our heroes in the NHS and save lives.” – Mourinho was one of a number of Spurs employees who were caught breaking lockdown rules in April 2020.

Jose Mourinho, right, has made a dig at his former club Manchester United and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (PA Archive)

“We knew that we could have a penalty against and we were very careful with it. We know Manchester United has an incredible record with penalties given this season and we knew that everything in the box was very dangerous for us.” – Mourinho was not afraid to suggest his former club Manchester United were awarded a lot of penalties as they resumed their season with a 1-1 draw in June 2020.

“But for me it’s not Harry Kane, it’s Hero Kane because a guy that had a big surgery, has a lockdown that stopped the perfect rehabilitation, because it did, so with all the difficulties, then come to normal training only for a couple of weeks… for me, Hero Kane.” – Harry Kane earned his manager’s praise after recovering from a serious hamstring injury to make it back for the resumption of the season in June 2020.

“A team of good boys, a team of nice boys, the only thing they can win at the end of the season is the Fair Play Cup. Something I have never won and have no interest in winning that.” – Mourinho approved of a dressing room spat between Son Heung-min and Hugo Lloris at half-time of Spurs’ 1-0 win over Everton in July 2020.

“I am not a goalkeeper but I know football since I was a kid and I know when I stand there and I spread my arms and I know the distance, so I felt immediately that something was going wrong. We got the UEFA delegate to confirm and yes it was 5cm smaller, which of course we demanded for the goals to be replaced for goals of the right dimension.” Mourinho, a former goalkeeper, knew something was not right ahead of his side’s Europa League qualifying clash with Shkendija.

“For my friend Gary, I can promise that until the end of the season I don’t play Harry Kane one minute of any friendly match.” – The Spurs boss engaged in a public exchange with England boss Gareth Southgate over plans for Kane in the October 2020 international break and later had to apologise for getting Southgate’s name wrong.

“Because he never beat me. You are not going to do a chapter about 13 or 14 matches that you never win so why should he speak about me in his book. A book is a thing to make you happy and proud so I perfectly understand the situation.” – Not one to let an old rivalry die, Mourinho came out fighting when asked why he did not feature in Arsene Wenger’s book.

“No, not at all. Not at all. Zero. Because sometimes the results are the consequence of multiple situations in football and mine and my coaching staff’s methods are second to nobody in the world.” – Mourinho remained bullish whether he had any doubts about his methods after a fourth Premier League defeat in a row in February 2021.

“They played with a lot of desire that I can call it also professionalism, because for me professionalism starts exactly in the attitude. To be a professional you must have attitude every day and in every minute of every game. Then more talent, less talent makes a difference between players but what is never negotiable is attitude and they beat us on attitude.” – Mourinho was scathing of his side after they suffered a Europa League humiliation to Dinamo Zagreb in March 2021.

Dinamo Zagreb knocked Tottenham out of Europe (PA Wire)

“For me this is the victory of the dressing room, the victory of their spirit, the victory of the group that felt ashamed of what happened in the last week. To be ashamed I always think is a man’s reaction. Don’t care, don’t give a s**t is not for men.” – He was more impressed with their performance in the next game at Aston Villa.

“Same coach. Different players.” – Mourinho let everyone know just who he blamed for Spurs continually letting in late goals after a 2-2 draw against Newcastle in April 2021.

“I just want to say that Sonny is very lucky that his father is a better person than Ole. I am a father. I think as a father you have always to feed your kids. Doesn’t matter what they do. If you have to steal to feed your kids, you steal. I’m very, very disappointed. As we say in Portugal, bread is bread and cheese is cheese. I told Ole already what I think about his comments and I’m very disappointed that in five, six, seven questions you ignore the dimensions of that comment.” – Mourinho, deploying a tactical diversion following a defeat to Manchester United, went in on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following the Norwegian’s comments about Son Heung-min.

“I couldn’t care less with what he says, I couldn’t care less. Not interested at all.” – Mourinho responded to Paul Pogba’s scathing comments about his former Manchester United boss’ man-management style.

“I have no plans. I am going on with my normal life. I feel fresh. I feel calm. I am on holiday. I have more time to be doing my homework and analysis. I’ll wait to be back in football. Not just for the right club, but for the right culture. Maybe next season is premature, we will see.” – Mourinho tells the Times Magazine he was in no rush to return to management after leaving Spurs – two days later he was announced as Roma’s next boss.

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