FULL TRANSCRIPT: From being ‘humble’ to enjoying the ‘expensive duvet’ while sleeping at the club’s training ground… every word of Jose Mourinho’s first press conference as Tottenham manager
- Jose Mourinho addressed the media for the first time as Tottenham manager
- The Portuguese described himself as ‘humble’ and spoke fondly of the project
- Read every word Mourinho said with the full transcript from Thursday’s sitting
Jose Mourinho was presented to the media for the first time on Thursday since being appointed Tottenham manager.
The Portuguese replaced Mauricio Pochettino on a deal that runs through until the end of a 2022-23 season.
Here is the full transcript of his 45-minute press conference…
Jose Mourinho addressed the media on Thursday for the first time as Tottenham manager
Question: Welcome to Tottenham, welcome back to the Premier League. Great to have you back
Mourinho: Thank you, thank you so much.
Question: You said in the summer in your first news conference of your new job you’d be smiling and you certainly are
Mourinho: I am smiling for two days. Afternoon, first of all I think I have to, and I do it, I do it with a bit of sadness, but I have to do it, I have to speak about Mauricio (Pochettino). I have to congratulate him for the work he did and I have to share with you what we already shared indoors which is this club will always be his home.
This training ground will always be his training ground. He can come when he wants. When he misses the players, misses the people he worked with, the door is always open for him. From my experience, tomorrow is another day and he will find happiness again, he will find a great club again and he will have a great future.
It would be in modern days, very bad news if this is the last time he loses his job because that’s how life… The point is we give everything, every day like he did at the club and to live with a sad feeling but live with the feeling that he did great work. I would like to just say that because it is what everyone at the club feels about it. He will always be welcome.
In relation to your question, I am a bit disappointed you are happy I am here because I thought you would like to keep me at Sky! But that’s OK, we are friends. I enjoy what I did but this is my life, this is where I belong and this is what really makes me happy.
So yes, I am not smiling as much today because I have a game in two days and not much time to work but deep inside I am really, really happy. And every minute I spend in the club I realise my option was correct. I am really enjoying a big football club with a big structure with a great organisation where I am really focused on my job, on my coaching, on my players and on my team, and am not worried about what surrounds me. It is not about the wonderful structure but the dynamic structure and fantastic, I am more than happy to be here.
Mourinho spoke only about his ambitions for the club and what attracted him to join Spurs
Question: On a scale of one to ten, Jose, where would you put the happiness? And also on a scale of one to ten, how difficult will it be to take Spurs to that next step to win trophies?
Mourinho: Happiness wise and convinced it was a great choice? Ten. I couldn’t be happier. In relation to difficulty of the job, every time as club changes mid-season it is because the situation is not good, that’s obvious. Unless something strange happens that we don’t know outside, basically the results sometimes make these decisions.
Of course it is not easy but if I forget, I can’t forget, but if I forget in two days I have a match, in four days I have another match, and that we need results. If I can forget that I would say a great job, the potential of the club is huge, the potential of the players is great and it was one of the reasons I came. The vision Mr Levy put in front of me about his club and the quality of the players and the squad.I know I have potential a great job in my hands.
It is not easy because I need to be balanced, I cannot think I can come and change in four days. I don’t have a great experience of getting teams in mid-season. It is only the second time, I did it in Portugal in I think 2001 but I thought about it during these months because I had a feeling I would get a club mid-season, I thought about it a lot. The conclusion was I would always have a game two days or three days after my appointment so I need to go through stability.
I need to trust the base and the bases, the work done before. They were in hands of a good manager, good coaching staff and of course we always have principles in our play. our leadership style, that is obvious. But I cannot come here and think it is about my fingerprint. It is not about myself, it is about the players to try and go from a base of stability. Very careful about the selection of information, the training exercises, a good control of the intensity of the training sessions to try to go from a place of some comfort for the boys. So it is not easy but let’s go for it.
Question: You say you have been thinking a lot in the summer, I know you will have been studying, keeping up with documentation, your football and other sports. You quoted (Charles) Darwin at one point about adapting. Despite all you have won, do you think now you are a new, improved Jose?
Mourinho: I think so, I believe so. I always thought these 11 months were not a waste of time, these 11 months were months to think, to analyse, take care and think about things. I think so. You never lose your DNA, your identity, you are what you are, the good and the bad. I have time to think about many things. Don’t ask me what are the mistakes but I realise during my career I also made mistakes. I won’t make the same mistakes, I am going to make new ones.
I have time, I am stronger, and when I am saying stronger I don’t mean fitter. I was always fit. But I think I am stronger. The emotional point of view I am relaxed, I am motivated, I am ready and I think the players felt that in two days, they felt I am ready to support them. This is not about me. I think in your career you have moments, not just career but in life, moments and through periods and I am in a period that is not about myself. It is about my club’s fans, my players, I am just here to try and help everyone.
He admits he made mistakes in the past but is adamant that he will not make the same again
Question: Jose, you just said don’t ask you about your mistakes but what would you say are the key things you have learned about yourself in the last year? What do you intend to do differently this time?
Mourinho: I am humble, I am humble enough to try to analyse which was what I did, to try to analyse my career, not just the last year but to analyse the evolution, the problems, the solutions. I was humble enough for that. The principle of the analysis was not to blame anyone else.
When I had meetings with my assistants and the people I thought about bringing to work with me in this chapter it was all based on the principle that there was nobody else to blame. There is nobody else to analyse and that was a great thing. I went really deep in that analysis and it was very important for me. I am nobody to advise people but a break, it was very positive for me. It was the first summer I did not work, it was not easy, I felt a bit lost in that pre-season period. It was a long process, I even learned how to be a pundit!
Question: Yesterday you talked about passion and happiness and you mentioned happiness a fair few times already today. Happiness was not something we saw a lot of during your time at Manchester United. Do you think you have got your ‘mojo’ back?
Mourinho: I have to go to Google Translate to understand what mojo is. But I can more or less feel what you mean. When I don’t win I cannot be happy, I cannot change that in my DNA. And I hope I can influence the players to not be happy without winning football matches.
If you are happy by losing football matches, it is difficult to be a winner at any moment in your career. It is a basic principle. But the emotional control, the self-esteem and to give confidence in yourself, in others and those around you. It is a very important principle.
And another thing I also have to learn, and those who work with me also to learn, sometimes you have to work with people who you don’t love and you have to work well. The people who work with you and for you they have to work to share your principles. I have principles I will keep for the rest of my career and I cannot not change. One of those principles is I don’t like to lose.
Question: Spurs fans know you as Mr Chelsea, what are you going to do, what do you need to do, to win them over?
Mourinho: No. I think they have to see me as Mr Inter, Mr Real Madrid, Mr Porto. I think they have to see me as Mr Club. Everywhere I go, as I used to say in a funny way, I arrive, where the pyjamas for the club. I even sleep with the pyjamas. I even wear the tracksuit, you confuse the tracksuit with the pyjamas.
Mourinho will take charge of his first game on Saturday and is keen to hit the ground running
So that is the way I am. I am a club man, many clubs man. I decided in my career to have this adventure, go through different countries until I did the Grand Slam – Italy, Spain and England – I didn’t stop, I wanted to do it. It was special, then of course the Premier League is what I thought is my natural habitat, is where I am most loved. If I have options it is the football country where I find it most enjoyable, and where I am happy.
When you decide to stay in the same country for a long time in modern football, I think Mr Wenger is the last one of the generation. Mauricio five and a half years is amazing, really amazing, it is normal you change from club to club. I wouldn’t be surprised tomorrow if Mauricio was manager of another English club! This is modernity in football.
If I play against one of my previous clubs, definitely Chelsea and United, hopefully Inter or Real Madrid in the Champions League, which I did many times, I have only one shirt, I have only one passion and I have only one thing in my mind and now it is Spurs. I won the Champions League with Porto and three months later I was playing against Porto, it is just life. That is the way it is. I am not Chelsea, not Real Madrid, not United, not Inter. I am all of them. I will give absolutely everything I have.
Question: Welcome back to London. 15 years ago when…
Mourinho: I am going to see you after the game. In cold tunnels freezing after the game you are going to be there. All the time.
Question: Life could be worse?
Mourinho: You are a good guy, you are one of the good ones.
Question: 15 years ago when I met you we both had less grey hair, you said you were the special one. I am not looking for a label, but you say you are humble. The brashness you had 15 years ago was what made you one of the greatest. If you are humble are you worried you might lose that?
Mourinho: No, I was always humble the problem is you never understood that. I was always humble in my way. No problem with that.
Question: And some of the problems you will encounter here, players running out of contract: Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Eriksen. And no away wins from January, how can you change that and keep the players who want to leave?
Mourinho: It is too early, early days, second day. I have no time for individual cases. I don’t know how I can influence, or try to influence. I didn’t have time, Mr Levy didn’t have time, to go around this.
The first thing I think it is for the players to feel good and if they are going to leave in January, leave in June, sign a new contract I think it has to be based on feeling good. Feeling good starts with being ready for Saturday, be ready and available for the team then it is about the club, about them, about me and about Mr Levy.
It is fundamentally about the players being happy. You have to choose what makes you happy. Let’s see. But in this moment let’s go on the short term and in the short term we have to try to get results in the next two matches. We have to disappear from that area in the Premier League where we do not belong and in the Champions League we have two matches to try and qualify. If we qualify after the first match, my first at home, it will be better.
He spoke openly about discussions he had with chairman Daniel Levy before he arrived
Question: Is Tottenham the biggest challenge in your career for the need to win titles and the big expectations on you and your comeback?
Mourinho: I see every challenge with the same responsibility. I cannot answer in a very objective way. I don’t even feel it is about me. I understand people will look at me, about myself. I understand that when a top player goes to a club people will focus on their success. But I don’t think it is about him, it is about team success.
It is about globality. It is a club vision, not Mourinho vision or Mourinho objective. It is about us. I don’t feel it this way, I think almost two decades of big clubs, big challenges, big expectations. I think I am guilty of it.
With my career I create so many expectations in the people and in this case also Spurs fault because the club grew up in such a direction. People are even waiting for better days. We have to go together. Stick together and good things to come.
Question: Have you already got a Christmas list for the next transfer market?
Mourinho: Christmas list?
Question: For players, transfer market…
Mourinho: I am thinking about gifts I have to give to people I love and that is a problem because I always want to give the best gifts. I am always very analytical.
Players, the best gift, are the ones who are here. I don’t need players. I am so happy with the players I have. I just need time to understand them better and get to know them. I always say you only know a player when you work with them. You never know them well enough until you work with them.
Question: Jose, it was a very sudden turn of events, can you tell us how you felt on the morning and you were Tottenham boss?
Mourinho: This morning I woke up in the training ground, I stayed in work until very, very late. We all stayed in the lodge and if you were trying to find a six star hotel you couldn’t find better than here.
Absolutely amazing. Great bed, huge pillows, amazing, you sleep in the middle of five or six pillows, expensive duvet. So, so good. So this morning I woke up with all my guys, 7am and start working, that’s what I want. Really happy.
Question: It was a big shock for the players and now they are with one of the most successful managers in history. What did you say to them and how much did you have to think about that moment?
Mourinho: I told them exactly what I am telling you, I told them one of the reasons I decided to come was them. Was them. I tried to buy some of them for different clubs, I couldn’t. Some of them I didn’t even try because you know how impossible it is, but I like this squad very, very much. I like the players very, very much. It is not something new. I don’t say this to look nice for them, I told that two, three, four years ago. I am really, really happy.
He was laughing, smiling and said he is ‘humble’ as he prepares for his third English club
Question: In terms of football, which area do you have to improve Pochettino’s team?
Mourinho: I don’t want to make big changes, I want to respect the base and the base of work they did for five and half years. We hope in two days it is a plus, an update, not a change, The base is what they did before.
This is not about me coming here and saying everything is wrong with Mauricio, not at all. I just come to try to understand why in the last year the results in the Premier League were not good and to try to understand how I can help them to reach again a good level.
As I was saying the players are very good and I am not here to make dramatic changes I am just here to follow a process and to do my ideas in a progressive way, not losing stability, don’t create confusion in their brains. In football you have to express yourself and not confused so I am very careful in relation to that.
Question: You are a serial winner, and so would you say losing the Champions League final under Mauricio had an impact?
Mourinho: I don’t know because I never lost a Champions League final but I can imagine it is not easy. You reach one of the biggest moments you can achieve in football, you are one step away from it, you cannot do it and I can imagine that is not easy. You have the example of Liverpool, one year they lost the Premier League by one point and the Champions League by one goal and the next season they are very strong in the Premier League and the season after they lost the final they went strong and won it.
It is not something that is a rule. It depends on how people react to it and of course I don’t want to go as deep as that; that is there history in the club. I don’t want to go as deep as that.
Question: In terms of style of play, what kind of game will we see Tottenham playing?
Mourinho: Very similar to before, that what I keep saying. Very similar to before, of course I am going to try and add details and sometimes details can make the difference.
Progressively we will arrive to a fingerprint but the style of play always has to be adapted, not just to the club culture but also to the players qualities. That’s the way it is. These are the players, they have their qualities, adapt it to a certain way of playing football. That is why we want to do it.
Question: You said earlier you have to work with people you don’t love, is that one of the lessons you learned from Manchester United?
Mourinho: It is one of the lessons, for me it is experiences and the accumulation of experiences is just about that. You have to learn with your experiences, especially when you have time to analyse those details. I think it is an important thing.
I cannot say it was a lesson because I say before, this is about principles and if people share principles, I read one quote, ‘A little work of art’ by Kobe Bryant, and if you have to speak about serial winner, Kobe is a great example in the world of sport.
The quality of the playing squad is one of the primary reasons Mourinho was keen on the job
‘People say I am difficult but I am only difficult to the people who don’t share my principles’. All the colleagues who share his principles love him and those who don’t share them don’t like him. For me it is basically the same, it is about the team, not about selfish people. It is about the team and the group. Professionalism and commitment for the team, for me and the fans. I cannot run away from this.
If there is someone who doesn’t share these principles with me, then we have a problem and we will always have a problem. This is the way I think football has to be. The players are only big when they make the others better. You cannot be a big player if you only think about yourself. To be a big player you have to make others better. If they forget to make others big, they are always going to have a problem.
Question: Four years ago when you were at Chelsea you were asked about Spurs and you said you would never come, what has changed?
Mourinho: That was before I was sacked!
Question: How do you think Chelsea fans will respond to you next month?
Mourinho: That’s modern football. You know, when my father was a player and before the Bosman law, the players used to play 20 years in the same club, ever year with the same players next to them. The same guy in the dressing room, the same defender in front of the keeper for 15 years. But after Bosman law everything changed.
In relation to coaches, in part because of you (media), we lost that stability. A lot of pressure, even the relationships are fast. Players can get tired of each other, tired of the manager, everything is fast so you need to change.
When I went to Manchester United, if I stay in England, only for Chelsea, I would have to be waiting for a third opportunity and probably another Premier League. Whenever I go there I win the Premier League.
But that is not the point. I went to United with a free mind, a free heart and they occupied my heart even with things I didn’t enjoy too much. But I loved so much of the United things. I enjoyed the fans, the people in the club, I just love it and now it is just about Spurs and I just hope I can be really happy here, make people happy.
There is not a bigger fan than myself. If someone wants Spurs to win, be successful, there is not one person that wants more than me. Probably the same, but not more than me. So Chelsea is past. Great past, two periods, two periods of titles. Great past but it is the past.
Question: You went to Porto mid-season and said about winning the title one year later…? Same here?
Mourinho: We cannot win the Premier League this season. We can – I’m not saying we will do – we can win it next season.
Question: Excited to be working with these players?
Mourinho: It’s one of the reasons I came. Everything started with Mr Levy’s vision for the club which he shared with me in a very, very specific way. That impressed me. But I wanted a club with a good level of players and a good level of the team.
We have a very good squad with good young players coming. I don’t know in detail but it’s an academy that normally produces good talents. As I always say there is not one manager in the world who doesn’t like to play, and to help young players to develop.
He does not want to lose key players like Harry Kane (left) as he targets trophies at Spurs
The problem is some of them get players to bring through and some don’t. I was lucky to have Scott McTominay as a kid, Raphael Varane as a kid, (Mario) Balotelli as a kid. I was lucky to have talents in the majority of the clubs where I’ve been. So if Tottenham is a great academy that produces great players it’s also something nice.
Question: You delivered Chelsea’s first title in 50 years, Inter’s first Champions League title in 45 years… is this your biggest challenge?
Mourinho: If we win titles it will not be the consequence of me but the consequence of the club’s work. This is a package and a vision. Everything starts with a vision. The stadium is part of the vision. The training ground is part of the vision. The academy is part of the vision. To try to keep all the best players and refuse to let the best players to go away is part of the vision too.
Maybe to have a manager with my experience is also part of the vision. This is about the vision and if we win a title, it doesn’t matter when, my contract is three and a half years, but if we win a title during my period it will not be because of myself. It is just the natural consequence of a vision and a plan.
Question: Was there contact from Real Madrid?
Mourinho: If you want to call my friends at Real Madrid, then yes I speak with them many times. I have so many friends there. The president is the first one. He loves me and I love him, we are friends, we speak, we exchange SMS, we wish luck, we say Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday, good luck in the game. I loved my period there.
We did amazing things. We had our problems. We had our frustrations. It was an amazing period for me. I feel always very flattered when I leave these things behind me which go above success, above football. It’s about the human being. It’s about relations.
I received 50 messages yesterday from Manchester United people. Some players, some staff, some staff over different areas of the club, the board, everybody. And that for me means the world. It’s not about winning or not winning. It’s about the respect people have for you because you were a professional and a good person and you create empathies.
So Real Madrid is part of my livelihood, part of my life and I always wish them good, I am always happy when Real Madrid goes in the right direction. If we play them in the Champions League, apart from that match I just want Real Madrid to win and to be successful.
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