Every word Jose Mourinho said on Lo Celso, Rose, Dele, Tanganga, Vertonghen, Beckham and more

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Dele Alli and his Snapchat video, have you spoken to him about it?

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Yeah, of course I spoke with him about that. But for me it was quite an easy conversation because he was very sorry about, let’s say, the mistake but it was never his intention to hurt, to offend. He immediately regretted it, immediately recognised it was a young guy mistake, a young generation mistake. And he apologised.

So my conversation was easy, because it was not a contradiction of ideas with me unhappy and him not understanding why. It was so simple. What can I say? I can say he regrets it, and that’s the best feeling he can show and to have the humility to apologise is also remarkable because sometimes these young people make mistakes and they do not realise they have made these mistakes. This conversation was so easy.

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Were you disappointed in him?

I have a son and a daughter basically the same age as Dele, and many of my players. I know what social media is for this generation but when you’re a public person, like a footballer player is, you know you have to be very, very careful. I repeat Dele is a great guy, the last thing he is is anything connected with racism or disrespect. Not at all. But these are current mistakes that young people sometimes make. The best thing for me is regret, and apologise. So for me, end of story.

But the FA could charge him?

I’m not FA. I’m his manager. I am his friend. I repeat, he’s the same age as two great kids in my house. I have to act as an educator and I think the best way to do it is immediately his reaction. Immediately regret and apologise. So game over.

With the Coronavirus, are there any contingency for plans with crowds coming in and pre-season tours?

Not in this moment. All I can say is our solidarity with everyone, with everyone fearing the situation – especially with China, but all over the world. Our solidarity is with people with problems to the Coronavirus, especially to the ones that died and the families that are suffering. 

Solidarity is easy for us to say – of course we have our connection with Asia is obvious. Our connection with the Asian fans is obvious so we care about it. Are we thinking about going to Asia in the next pre-season? Yes we are, but of course we need guarantees of safety for our people. 

But in this moment we are not thinking about that, we are thinking about the ones there and the ones that are living the problem.

Have you enjoyed the benefits of winter break?

I’m happy that you don’t ask about my winter break. Because I was stuck for three days in Germany and couldn’t get back. That was my winter break, couldn’t leave Munich. I had to go from car by Munich to Stuttgart after two days and then get a flight from Stuttgart to London so for me it was not the best. 

I was there and saw the match and for me it was great. For the players, I think some of them, especially some of them, were in need  – the ones without rotation, the ones who were playing every minute, the ones who were very close to playing 30 minutes extra time against Southampton. For these boys, it’s come in a good moment. 

If you ask me if it’s the perfect situation, I say no. The perfect situation would be for us to play against Villa tonight or tomorrow early, and then have three or four days before Leipzig.

 In fact Leipzig plays tomorrow afternoon so it’s not the perfect situation for us to play on Sunday, but since 2004 I’m in this country I know how it works and I know we have no protection at all before the Champions League matches. But we have to focus not now on Leipzig, let’s focus on Villa and go there for a very difficult match.  

You’ve got a big run of games next week?

It’s a very difficult week for us, and then of course we would like to play Chelsea on the Sunday after Leipzig, but no on Saturday. And we would like to play Saturday 5pm, but instead we play 12 o’clock. So it’s a really hard week for us – Sunday Villa, Wednesday Leipzig, Saturday Chelsea.

But let’s go match after match, and the first one will be difficult. Always difficult Villa Park. Villa are a good team, fighting to stay in the division, self-esteem really high after reaching the Wembley final. Very difficult match, we have to go with all the potential we have, forgetting that two days after we have to play Leipzig.

Jose Mourinho

Are you resigned to fixture chaos?

I’m waiting for too long, and I don’t have big hopes. But there are always big clubs that somehow manage to have better fixtures, and you just look with attention and you will realise clearly that the situation is much better for others. 

Which clubs and preferential treatment are you saying?

I don’t know, maybe it’s occasional, maybe it just happens. Maybe it just happens. 

Can I push you on which clubs?

Not mine.  

After the last game you spoke about a blanket?

The blanket is getting a little bit bigger!

Is it more of a duvet now?

Yes! It’s a little bit better now. So no more limitation with Bergwijn, now he can play. Ben Davies is back. He is ready to play. Giovani Lo Celso is ready to play. Lamela we have to assess tomorrow but if not for Sunday then for Wednesday. So Juan Foyth is out still a little bit. Obviously no Sissoko or Harry, so apart from them we are fine. The situation is getting better for us and it happens at the right time because a lot of matches are coming.

Has the winter break given you a chance to work on things you hadn’t before?

We had a good week. Three very good training sessions. Of course I told you if we didn’t play against Southampton I would give the players some time but we would be back early. Because of the Southampton game we had less time for training but we had three very good days. We went through different aspects of our game to improve.

Ben Davies during a Tottenham Hotspur training session

You’ve spoken about how important Ben Davies is to your plans, how important is it to have him back?

In this moment he’s back but he’s not back ready to play one, two, three matches in a row. He’s not in the top of his condition. He’s not injured. He’s training with the team. He can play at least minutes and of course is a player we like very much. He’s a natural left-back. He’s not an adaptation like Tanganga, not an adaptation like Sessegnon who is much more of a winger than a left-back.

The time he was out was a great opportunity for others to play. For Tanganga it was, in the end, the opportunity of a lifetime, he has played already six or seven full matches with the first team. For Ryan it was the acceleration of a process. He has played more matches than normally he would do.

Even for Danny Rose it was a great opportunity to play three very important matches. He played against Liverpool, he played against Olympiacos, probably the two more important matches we had to play, and against Bayern Munich in the Champions League. So even for Danny Rose a great opportunity to play three matches and show me what he’s capable to do.

Danny Rose said he wasn’t given a chance?

That’s why I mentioned him too. I answered you already. Olympiacos, Bayern Munich and Liverpool and I gave him a great opportunity to show what he’s capable of doing.

He didn’t deliver?

That’s you saying.

Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish

What have you made of Jack Grealish?

Very important player for them. Very important. They have their way of playing. Maybe they change against us but the normal Villa is with this back five, the midfield players and then Grealish is a player with creative freedom, with an area of action that’s very important of course. Very talented, can score a goal, can make an assist, incredible connection with the fans. So easy to feel immediately that he’s one of them. He’s capable of making the crowd chase the team. A very important player for them for sure.

David Beckham was here, did you get to chat with him?

Yeah. We had a little chance, not much because yesterday was one more day dedicated to Mr Simon [Felstein – Spurs press officer]. I had to do three hours of (press officer interjects with ‘it was 45 minutes by the way’) international interviews. But yes David is a great guy and even for the boys it’s very good to be with him. I invited him to go to the pitch but he forgot his boots.

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Tottenham matchday

What did he think of your new haircut?

Mine? He had it already. Same as me.

Last time we saw Jan Vertonghen he was very upset, how has he been over the winter break?

He is a fantastic professional. A fantastic professional. I can only say good thing, not one bad thing. He came out sad, yes. I am happy that he is like that. I am really happy that he wants to play and wants to give 90 minutes and to come out sad, angry, I accept that very, very well. Especially because he showed respect to my decision and the team, at the end of the game qualification for the next round and he was as happy as everyone else.

By the way, because you spoke about Jan, he is big mates with Toby. Congratulations to Toby and his family because there was a little baby last night, so everyone is happy about that.

Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld

Will you have Toby at Villa or will he have some time away?

For what? Time away for what?

Because his wife has just had a baby?

His wife takes care of the baby. That is a top professional. His wife takes care of the baby. He was there in the moment, he stays there one more day with his wife and baby, enjoying a big moment for the family. Tomorrow back to his job.

You said you prefer a sitting player and a passer in your midfield duo. Is Lo Celso making a play for the passing role?

First of all he showed an incredible personality because clearly, and I am not going to deny it because it is easy to understand it, when he arrived I didn’t give him a big opportunity to play two or three matches in a row. He had to be strong mentally to cope with that. When a new manager comes to the club and doesn’t give you immediately chances I think maybe he feels, ‘Wow, he is not in love with me, he is not as in love with me as other players’.

Other players I give immediately starts and big matches to play, like I did with Danny Rose. With Gio, I didn’t so he had to be mentally strong to cope with that. Then with his work, with his quality, with his personality, I think now he can play everywhere. Everywhere. He can play number 10, number 8, double midfield player with Winks. He can play on the right side, on the left. He can play everywhere. I am so, so happy with him. That is it. I like him very, very much.

Giovani Lo Celso

Will you rotate a lot over the next few games?

Some positions we can, some we cannot. That is the basic thing. They are not coming from a period of fatigue, but when you arrive on the third match of the week with only two days in between and on Saturday they cannot even sleep, they have to wake up at 8’o’clock to go to Stamford Bridge and play.

For the third match we have to be careful and maybe will have to do a little bit of rotation in between the matches. But in this moment we are focused on Villa, it is difficult enough for us to be sharing our concentration with other matches. Let’s go for Villa.

Japhet Tanganga has done very well, does he deserve a longer contract and permanent locker in the dressing room?

He is already in the dressing room, with Skipp. Both fantastic kids, both kids we believe in a lot. The difference with Japhet is that his opportunity appeared, but Skippy has not had the opportunity to play many matches. But both are in the first team dressing room and our objective is to make them Tottenham players for many years.



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