Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho admits he is living in “a different reality” to Pep Guardiola – because Manchester City are a club that want to win everything going.
A serial trophy winner with the likes of Porto, Chelsea, Inter, Real Madrid and Manchester United, Mourinho has yet to deliver silverware for Spurs.
They could end the wait in the EFL Cup final in April, for which there will be a dress rehearsal of sorts on Saturday when Tottenham face City at the Etihad Stadium.
But it is City, who have faced accusations from rival fans of being spendthrifty, that will go into both those games as favourites.
When asked about the hundreds of millions of pounds the likes of Guardiola at City and Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool have lavished just on defensive players, to get where they are today, Mourinho’s “lucky them” verdict was the message of a boss who has been trusted with similar wealth before.
“They are in clubs that want to win everything and to win everything you need to have top players in every position,” Mourinho said.
“A team is a puzzle. If Pep thought in a certain moment he needed to spend that money on defenders, then he needed to, and Jurgen felt the same with [Virgil] Van Dijk, and when Van Dijk was not enough because he was feeling another fragility they got Alisson.
“I think that’s a thing that big clubs with incredible economical possibilities, they do it. Lucky them, good for them.”
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) February 12, 2021
Prudence is more Tottenham’s way, and although they have signed the likes of Matt Doherty, Joe Rodon and Sergio Reguilon in the last year, it has been more likely to be City and Liverpool, along with United, targeting the very best available talent.
“When I came to the club, the club was very open and very honest with me,” Mourinho said.
“I knew I was going to come to a different reality. A big club, no doubt about that for one second, but a club with a different profile in terms of being, or not being, candidates to win competition A or B, a club being able to resolve problems with a cheque.
“The club made the possible effort in the summer to improve the team, and I’m not complaining with anything. I just do my work the best I can.”
Guardiola and Klopp have built teams that have combined winning form with attacking verve, and Mourinho would love to bring both to Tottenham, but that seems a faraway dream for a team who have lost four of their last five games to slide down the Premier League table and tumble out of the FA Cup.
Since Mourinho joined Tottenham in November 2019, they have won both of their Premier League matches against City, albeit having home advantage on each occasion.
Against a City side who have won their last 15 games, including 10 consecutively in the Premier League, they risk being rolled over to become the latest victims of Guardiola’s exceptional band of players.
Yet should Tottenham spring a shock and take the points, it will mean they have won away against both Manchester clubs in a top-flight season for the first time since 1959-60, having scored a startling 6-1 victory at United in October.
The last side to win at both United and City in a single Premier League season were Liverpool in 2008-09, while the last London side to achieve it were Arsenal in the Gunners’ 1990-91 title-winning campaign.
Mourinho, meanwhile, defended Tottenham’s move to sell a range of merchandise marking the upcoming appearance in the EFL Cup final.
Even some Tottenham supporters have mocked the move, suggesting reaching a final is not sufficient an achievement to warrant selling such goods.
But Mourinho said: “We have empty stadiums, an incredible stadium that is always empty.
“How many millions is Tottenham losing every match we play at home? How many millions is Tottenham losing per month? We have to make money.”
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