Okay, this is still weird, but Jose Mourinho has given his first press conference as Tottenham Hotspur’s head coach.
As expected, it was box office.
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Mourinho, 56, answered questions from reporters at Spurs’ training ground on Thursday ahead of their clash at bitter London rivals West Ham United on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
“Mauricio, for the work he did, this club will be always his home,” Mourinho said. “He can come when he wants. When he misses the players, when he misses the people he work with. The door is always open for him. He will find happiness again. He will find a great club again. He will have a great future.”
Mourinho then interestingly said he will not make the same mistakes he made previously in his career, as he’s spent his recent time off tweaking his methods and thinking about how he can evolve as a coach.
“I always thought that these 11 months were not a waste of time. They were months to think, to analyse, to prepare. You never lose your DNA, you never lose your identity, you are what you are,” Mourinho added. “I am humble. I am humble enough to analyze my career, and the problems. There was no one else to blame… I went really deep in that analysis… I am stronger. I am not fitter, I was always fit! But I am stronger from an emotional point of view. I am relaxed, I am motivated, I am ready and I think the players felt that in two days. I am ready to support them, this is not about me. It is about the club. I am here to try and help everyone.”
The press conference room at Spurs’ training ground was packed, with a limit of one journalist per organization such was the demand, and Mourinho smiled and lapped up the attention as he is back in the Premier League after a 11-month hiatus after his firing by Man United. Mourinho revealed he thought he would get a job midseason.
“I’m nobody to advise people but to have a break was very positive for me,” Mourinho revealed. “Having the first summer where I didn’t work was not good for me. I was a bit lost. But it was good for me. I even learned how to be a pundit.”
So, what is Mourinho looking forward to as Tottenham’s new manager?
“I couldn’t be happier. In relation to the difficulty of the job ahead – every time a club changes mid-season it is because the situation is not good, that is obvious – unless something strange happened that we don’t know about. Basically the results sometimes force these decisions,” Mourinho said. “The potential of the club is huge, the potential of the players is great I am so happy that was one of the reasons I came because of the vision that Mr Levy put in front of me about the club and the quality of the players and the squad. I know potentially I have a great job in my hands.”
Mourinho was asked about his connection to Spurs’ London rivals Chelsea, as he won three Premier League titles in two spells at Stamford Bridge.
Can Tottenham’s fans overlook Mourinho’s links to rivals Chelsea?
“I think they have to see me as Mr Inter, Mr Real Madrid, Mr Porto. I wear the pyjamas of my clubs! I am a club man, but a many clubs man,” Mourinho said. “I decided in my career to have these different adventures in different countries until I did what I call the Grand Slam, England, Spain and Italy. I did not stop. I wanted to do it and I did it with passion. I have always said the Premier League is my natural habitat is where I am most loved is where I felt if I had the option is the league and the country that I considered the best and found most enjoyable and where I am really happy.”
“Now I only have one shirt and only one passion and only one thing in my mind which is my club and that is Spurs,” Mourinho said. “I won the Champions League with Porto and three months later I was playing against Porto – that is life. I’m not Chelsea, I’m not United, I’m not Real Madrid, I’m not Inter – I am all of them, I gave everything to all of them and that is what I am going to do here, to give absolutely everything I have.”
Asked about signing new players in January and beyond, Mourinho was keen to put his faith in the players he currently has at his disposal.
“The best gift are the players who are here. I don’t need new players,” Mourinho said. “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.”
That will be music to the ears of Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, initially, as he’s made a huge call to bring in Mourinho to replace Pochettino and many believed that would spark a period of heavy spending for the north London club.
With Spurs 11 points off the top four in the Premier League as things stand, Mourinho has a heck of a job on his hands.
But he is now in role he relishes.
The Special One is the underdog once again.
Mourinho has won trophies at every single club he’s been at in his managerial career and Spurs haven’t secured any silverware since 2008. He wants to turn Harry Kane and Co. into one thing: Winners.
“When I don’t win I cannot be happy and I cannot change that in my DNA. I hope I can influence the players of not being happy without winning football matches,” Mourinho said. “If you are happy after losing football matches, it is difficult to be a winner in any moment of your career.”