The reaction to two Tottenham players having a scrap was very on brand for Jose Mourinho.
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Mourinho called a half time coming-together between captain Hugo Lloris and star forward Heung-min Son ‘beautiful’ and praised the fighting spirit of his players as they beat Everton 1-0.
Speaking to reporters via Zoom after the win, Mourinho made a point that he wants his Tottenham side to be nastier as he was asked about saying they needed to grow up.
“A team of good boys, nice boys, the only thing that they win at the end of the season is the fair play cup. Which is something I’ve never won and I’m not interested in winning that,” Mourinho said. “You need to have a certain character. You need to grow up in terms of your mentality, in your responsibility because it is very, very important to be consistent. To have a good game, win a match, then lose the other one, then win another one, then draw another one. That is the kind of mentality that doesn’t take you further in your ambitions. It is not a specific concept but it is a concept that covers many, many areas. I think it is very, very important. I don’t like a team without communication, without demanding from each other. I don’t like a team without a critical sense. Probably what happened today at half time shouldn’t happen there, should happen just inside the dressing room, but I can promise you my teams, my winning teams, we had big fights in the team.”
That Jose Mourinho reaction said it all as to what he expects from Tottenham. He certainly knows all about winning and that is why Tottenham hired him.
A narrow win to beat Everton at home to move in to eighth place, nine points off the top four, probably isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things but Mourinho loved what he saw.
“I think they are the same thing, the same spirit,” Mourinho said when ProSoccerTalk asked him about the fight of his players on and off the pitch. “We spoke a lot after the game at Sheffield United and one of the things we spoke about was to have a critical sense, to be open with each other and be demanding with each other. Don’t accept the attitude. Don’t be passive in relation to the others. I think that was a consequence of that. The performance was very solid. My feeling was that the game was under control and I never felt the game wasn’t under control.
“Could we play better? Could we score more? Yes, of course. I always fear matches after bad defeats because sometimes you stay in the bad defeats. Sometimes you carry to the match the weight of the bad performances, the weight of the critics and the boys were great in their attitude. They really fought hard for the three points and in this moment of the season the most important thing is the points, to try to finish in the best possible position.”
Tottenham are becoming a Mourinho team and that means the play on the pitch won’t be as good to watch as it could be, but he will grind out results like this.
Mourinho was asked about becoming just the fifth manager in Premier League history to win 200 games, with only Sir Alex Ferguson reaching that milestone in fewer matches than him, and this was his response.
“Of course, as you know, I am not a very humble guy, but when you coach three of the best clubs in England you have more chances to get to that,” Mourinho smiled. “Sir Alex did it because all of his career in England was at Manchester United. I did it because I was with Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham. I think nobody asks the coaches without titles that their teams put in 200 amazing performances. You are telling me your teams won 200 Premier League matches. You don’t tell anyone who won nothing, ‘your team had 100 or 200 amazing performances.’ But I want to admit that today I would be even more happy if it was not just a victory, but it was a beautiful victory, I would be more happy and I want my team to do that.”
Mourinho will be playing ‘all I do is win, win, win’ over the radio on his car ride home on Monday. Then he will probably officiate a punch up between Harry Kane and Eric Dier just because.