'Humble' Jose Mourinho promises to not repeat mistakes of Manchester United and Chelsea at Tottenham
Portuguese calls squad he inherited from Pochettino 'the best gift' he could have had
A “humble” Jose Mourinho claimed he is a changed and better man as he marked his appointment as Tottenham manager by vowing not to repeat the mistakes that led to his sackings by Manchester United and Chelsea.
The Portuguese said he had spent his time out of work analysing his failings in a bout of soul-searching as he refused to blame anyone else for the problems that led to his dismissals at Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford.
Mourinho, who spent almost £400 million (Dh 1.8bn) as United manager, claimed he does not need new signings for Tottenham after describing the squad he inherited from Mauricio Pochettino as “the best gift” he could have had. While Spurs are 14th now, Mourinho, who has signed a contract until 2023, set his sights on winning his fourth Premier League title next season and claimed he does not want to sell any of his key players.
The 56-year-old left United last December and has evaluated his own errors since them as he insisted he is a different man and a superior manager after his longest period of unemployment.
“I think I am new and improved. I have to believe so. I always thought that these 11 months were not a waste of time," Mourinho said.
"They were months to think, to analyse, to prepare. You never lose your DNA, you never lose your identity, but I have time to think about many things. During my career I have made mistakes and I’m not going to make the same mistakes. I’m going to make new mistakes. I’m going to be stronger.”
Mourinho fell out with players in his final months in charge of both United and Chelsea as his negativity became a problem and his criticisms of his charges became more frequent and bitter.
He took responsibility for his past shortcomings, adding: “I am humble. I am humble enough to analyse my career, and the problems. The principle of my analysis was not to blame anyone else. I went really deep in that analysis.”
Mourinho cut a morose figure before being sacked at Old Trafford but said that getting the Tottenham job had lifted his spirits as his smiling demeanour suggested his mood has changed.
“I’ve been smiling for two days,” he added. “Happiness-wise I am convinced my choice was a great one: ten [out of 10]. I’m relaxed, motivated and ready.”
Mourinho has had fractious relations with his players in his recent jobs but was full of praise for his new charges. He was interested in taking Harry Kane, Toby Alderweireld, Eric Dier and Danny Rose to United and suggested he would have liked others.
“The best gift are the players who are here,” he added. “I don’t need new players. I am so happy with the players I have. This squad is very good. I told the players I came here because of them. I tried to buy some for different clubs and some I didn’t even try because you know how difficult it was.”
Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen and Alderweireld are out of contract next summer and Tottenham risk losing each on a free transfer but Mourinho said he was determined to keep key personnel. He added: “To refuse to let the best players go away is part of the vision.”
Champions League finalists Tottenham are 11 points off the top four and Mourinho said: “We can’t win the Premier League this season. Next season, I’m not saying we will win it, but we can win it.”
When Chelsea manager, Mourinho once said he would never come to Tottenham, but he said: “Yes, that was before I was sacked. I wear the pyjamas of the club [I manage] and sleep in them.”
Mourinho said he would try and continue Pochettino’s style of play, which he felt would be “very similar to before.”
He was also complimentary about his predecessor as he extended an invitation to Pochettino to return and visit whenever he wants.
“This club will always be his home, this training ground, his training ground,” he said. “He is always welcome here. The door is always open for him. He will leave with sadness with the feeling that he did great work but he will find happiness again and he will have a great future.”
Updated: November 21, 2019 08:00 PM