'I wear the pyjamas of the club and I sleep in them': The best quotes from Mourinho's first Spurs presser (VIDEO)
Jose Mourinho is always good for a quote or two during his press conferences and this was certainly true of his first presser as Tottenham boss on Thursday where ‘The Special One’ outlined his metamorphosis into ‘The Humble One’.
Mourinho capped a whirlwind 48 hours in North London when he signed on the dotted line to replace Mauricio Pochettino as head coach of Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday morning after the club’s chairman, Daniel Levy, axed the Argentine coach after a string of poor results has left the club languishing in 14th place in the Premier League – far from the lofty heights of just months ago which saw Spurs qualify for their first Champions League Final.
The Pochettino/Mourinho swap has proved to be a controversial one among the Spurs faithful. Pochettino will be remembered as one of the most successful managers in the club’s history despite failing to register any tangible success in domestic or European competition and the drafting in of the Portuguese suggests that the club’s hierarchy have grown weary of their sparse trophy cabinet and have tasked the serial achiever Mourinho with arresting their barren run.
And if the club’s faithful don’t know quite what to expect from a Mourinho-led Tottenham, they got a glimpse of their future when he rolled out a series of typically eccentric quotes to the media.
“Mauricio, for the work he did, this club will be always his home”
Mourinho began his first public statement as Tottenham head coach by praising his predecessor, saying that the door is always open for him to return if he misses the players and coaching staff and that he is sure that he will find success in his next job.
“During my career I made mistakes, I’m not going to make the same mistakes, I mean I’m going to make new mistakes.”
What, exactly, are Tottenham fans to make of this? One the one hand it could be seen as a positive statement from Mourinho as he reflects on some of the more controversial ‘mistakes’ from his career like the alleged eye-gouge of ex-Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova or his prolonged war of words with Arsene Wenger, but perhaps the promise of a range of brand-new mistakes might be the source of heart palpitations for some fo the Tottenham support.
“I am humble. I am humble enough to analyse my career, and the problems. There was no one else to blame … I went really deep in that analysis.”
Ah, the true nature of humbleness – someone who tells you repeatedly of their humility. In all seriousness, though, Mourinho is saying here that he has reflected on the characteristics which have made him one of the most controversial figures in the modern game but does anyone really want a humble Jose Mourinho? So much of his mystique boils down to his often contemptuous ways, so is a self-effacing Mourinho the football manager equivalent of Samson shorn of his locks?
“I wear the pyjamas of the club and sleep in them. I am a club man, but I am a many club man.”
We are veering dangerously close to Eric Cantona-style press conferences tropes now. Mourinho has famously commanded the deepest respect of players throughout his career, with John Terry once famously saying that he would “walk through walls” for his boss during his two spells at Chelsea. But here the man himself laid out his own commitment to his clubs through his choice of nightwear.
“That was before I was sacked!”
Indeed, such is Mourinho’s connection to Tottenham’s London rivals Chelsea that quotes were dragged up from four years ago in which he claimed he would never take over Spurs because he “loved Chelsea fans too much.”
But when reminded of that on Thursday, Mourinho simply laughed and said that was before he had been given his marching orders for a second time from Stamford Bridge.
“The best gift are the players who are here. I don’t need new players. I just need to get to know these ones better. I know them well but you never know them well enough until you meet them.”
Mourinho’s partnership with the notoriously thrifty Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has been pointed to by some observers as potential source of division between both parties but it seems that the Portuguese is on-board with the club’s current transfer fund, or lack thereof.
Several of Tottenham’s players are tipped to leave next summer, with Christian Eriksen and Toby Alderweireld set to be two of them, but despite a potential exodus and a backline in major need of reinforcement Mourinho – who spent £360mln ($465mln) during his brief spell at Manchester United – says he can work his magic without opening the club’s checkbook.
That said, don’t be surprised if Mourinho favorites Nemanja Matic or Marouane Fellani end up at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium before the end of January.
The sheer magnitude of the Thursday afternoon’s introductory press conference shows that the English media remain enamoured with one of the most defining manager’s in English football across the last two decades. His recent spells at Manchester United and Chelsea (the second one) both crashed and burned, leading to some analysts suggesting that Mourinho’s time as a cutting edge coach have come and gone.
However, with Unai Emery conducting a press conference simultanesouly to a nearly empty Emirates Stadium media room just four miles away it is clear that Mourinho fuels quite a bit of the modern game, significantly more so than most of his peers.
But will it work this time around? When will he have his first bust-up with Daniel Levy? Who exactly is on his pyjamas? These questions, and many more, will likely have answers before long.