Monday 9 December 2019

Mourinho: 'I will not make the same mistakes'

New Spurs boss vows to keep his 'DNA' but says he has benefited from 11-month break

Jose Mourinho says he has used his time out from the game to reflect and become a better manager. Photo: Getty Images
Jose Mourinho says he has used his time out from the game to reflect and become a better manager. Photo: Getty Images

Jason Burt

Jose Mourinho has revealed that during his 11 months out of football he went "really deep" into analysing why he was sacked at Manchester United and Chelsea to try not to repeat the same mistakes.

In a virtuoso performance the new Tottenham Hotspur head coach admitted he had committed errors but would not compromise on the "principles" which he clearly - and pointedly - felt some of his previous employers did not share.

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In a 45-minute press conference, Mourinho opened up with a smile at the "hush" that descended on the packed room as he entered at 2.03pm. By the time he stood up to leave he had covered such territory as to how he was now a "stronger" manager than ever before, how Spurs can win the Premier League next season, how he does not need to sign players, how he lives by the words of former basketball player Kobe Bryant - and even the superior quality of pillow at Spurs' training ground where he slept the previous night.

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Mourinho has signed a three-a-half-year contract, on a salary of just under £13 million-a-year (€15m), to succeed Mauricio Pochettino, who was sacked on Tuesday with Spurs 14th in the league, and cleverly paid tribute to his popular predecessor who, he said, would always be welcome back at the club - before adding that "maybe to have a manager with my experience is also part of the [Spurs] vision".

There were the occasional flashes of confidence (arrogance?) amid an attempt to create a general theme that not only was Mourinho incredibly happy to be at Spurs but that he been misunderstood throughout a career where he has always been "humble".

When asked whether he felt things began to quickly unravel for Pochettino after losing last season's Champions League final, Mourinho replied: "I don't know because I never lost a Champions League final. But I can imagine it's not easy."

Mourinho won the two finals he has been involved in - with Porto in 2004 and Inter Milan in 2010 - and there is a sense that Spurs fit into the 'underdog' role that, often, is where he does his best work.

The other parallel with Porto is that it is the only other club he has taken over during a season, back in 2001, when he declared he would win the league in the following campaign and did just that. Was he prepared to make the same promise at Spurs? "We cannot win the Premier League this season," he said. "We can - I'm not saying we will do - we can win it next season."

Mourinho said he has used his time out to be "positive", to reflect and "analyse" and was now a better manager. "I believe so. I have to believe so," he said. "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.

"I think you never lose your DNA, you never lose your identity, what you are. 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.

"The principle of the analysis was not to blame anyone else. When I had meetings with my assistants and the people that I thought about bringing with to work with me in this chapter, it was always based on the belief that there is nobody else to blame, nobody else to analyse. That was a great thing because I went really deep in that analysis and it was very important to me."

At the same time there was a core belief that the club Mourinho worked for had to "share principles" with him as he quoted the former LA Lakers star, Bryant.

"He says: 'People say that I'm difficult but I'm only difficult for the ones that don't share my principles'," Mourinho said approvingly.

"So all the colleagues that share his principles, they just love him. The ones that don't like him are the ones that don't share the principles. And with me it's basically the same. For me everything is about the team, it's not about selfish people."

The inference, as to what he felt he had encountered at previous clubs, was clear even though he claimed he had been inundated with good luck messages - with 50 alone "from Manchester United people".

"Because it was the first summer I didn't work it wasn't easy," he said. "I felt a little bit lost during that pre-season period but before that and after it was a learning process. I even learned how to be a pundit." That chapter, with Sky Sports, is now over, he said.

Mourinho insisted he will not demand money is spent in the January transfer market.

"Players? The best gift is the ones that are here. I don't need players. I am so happy with what I have," he said before adding that he had "tried to some of them for different clubs and I couldn't".

Rightly, Mourinho was reminded that back in 2015, when Chelsea manager, he said he would never take over at Spurs out of respect for the fans.

"That was before I was sacked! That's modern football."

© Daily Telegraph, London

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