Jose Mourinho believes the quality of players he has at Tottenham do “not belong” down in 14th in the Premier League as he tries to salvage Spurs’ season.
Mourinho starts his tenure at a third English club after grossly different experiences at Chelsea and Manchester United hoping to inspire Tottenham’s first away win in the league since January at West Ham on Saturday.
That run saw Mauricio Pochettino sacked on Tuesday just six months after reaching the Champions League final.
Pochettino’s five-and-a-half years at the club transformed Tottenham’s fortunes. The Argentine made Spurs Champions League regulars and eventually paid for his own success in raising the bar of expectations.
It also paved the way for a marriage of convenience. Tottenham needed to make a statement with Pochettino’s successor to prove their growing status, and so turned to Mourinho.
Similarly, the Portuguese needs a project that will rebuild his reputation after an unhappy two-and-a-half years at Manchester United.
“In the short term we have to try to get results,” said Mourinho on Thursday. “It is important in the Premier League we need to disappear from the area where we do not belong.”
Spurs start the weekend 11 points adrift of the top four having taken just 25 points from their last 24 Premier League matches.
However, Mourinho insisted he will not make big changes in personnel or to the team’s style of play amid concerns from supporters that the manner in which he has won so much silverware in his career is not an easy fit with Spurs’ traditional brand of attacking football.
“The style of play has to be always adapted not just to the club culture, but especially to the players’ qualities,” he added.
“These are the players, they have the qualities, adapted to a certain way of playing football, and that’s the way I want to do it.”
Mourinho has spent 11 months out of the game since being sacked by United in December.
And he cut a far more introspective figure as he briefed the media on Thursday than the man who announced himself as “the special one” during his first press conference as Chelsea manager 15 years ago.
“I always thought that these 11 months were not a waste of time. These 11 months were months to think, to analyse, to prepare and anticipate things,” added Mourinho.
“I had time to think about many things. Don’t ask me what are the mistakes, but I realise that during my career I made mistakes. I am not going to make the same mistakes, I am going to make new mistakes.
“From an emotional point of view I’m relaxed, I’m motivated, I’m ready and I think the players they felt that in these two days.
“They felt that I’m ready. I’m ready to support them. This is not about me. In your career but also in your life, you go through moments and periods and I am in a period where it’s not about myself at all. It’s about my club, my club’s fans, my players.”
Even if Mourinho claims to be a changed man, his reputation precedes him.
There was no love lost in many clashes with Tottenham in his Chelsea days and that allied to the joy Pochettino brought the Spurs fanbase leaves many unconvinced this managerial change is one for the better.
In his glory days at Chelsea, Porto, Inter and early in his spell at Real Madrid, Mourinho could always rely on results to win over the doubters.
That is what he needs to provide Spurs’ supporters with, starting on Saturday. – AFP