Mourinho “back where he belongs”

Mourinho seemed delighted to be back in the dugout, 11 months on from his sacking at Manchester United, and admitted he found his break strange at times, looking at what other teams and managers were doing during pre-season.

“To confess to you, the most difficult moment for me in these 11 months was the part of the summer where for the first time I didn’t have a pre-season and I was looking at other teams and other managers doing pre-seasons.

“The thing that was the most weird feeling was that I was going to football stadiums and sometimes I was finding myself wondering what I was doing here.

“That was the weird feeling. I belong there [on the touchline]. That is where I belong. So today the feeling is that I was where I belong. That is my natural habitat.

But after securing their first away league win since January, Mourinho said he was happy to be around a happy dressing room as Spurs picked up three points in the Premier League for the first time in almost two months.

“It was very, very important,” he said. “Eleven months without music in the away dressing room. Without a smile, without happiness, and they did it. I am very happy with them, I am very happy for them.

“It was very difficult for us to win but my feeling is that we were closer to 4-0 than West Ham were to 3-1 but this is the Premier League and their first goal changed things a little bit. I think also my players paid a little bit the price for a very, very difficult week.

“It was a week where they arrived back from their national teams, some of them from difficult matches, some of them from travelling, to a change of manager, and a new guy arrives. New training sessions, new ideas.

“The emotional thing that surrounds that, I don’t think ever is easy for a football player. They work with a coaching staff and then the next day other people are there. It is difficult to process.”

Alli more than played his part at the London Stadium, making Heung-Min Son’s opening goal with a creative assist while lying on the floor on the touchline, and played a part in their second as well.

It left Mourinho, who also said he had spoken to Alli personally to try to improve his confidence, waxing lyrical about the midfielder.

He said: “I think Dele was like the team. Brilliant for 60 to 65 minutes and then he also paid the price of the tiredness so he went a little bit down. But I think he was the old Dele Alli. The Dele Alli of a couple of years ago that impressed not just England but the world.

“He did exactly what I wanted him to do. In two days of work, some action and information. I tried to make it clear for him exactly the spaces where we wanted him to play, offensively and defensively. Intelligent football player to understand what we wanted and very important for the team. Very pleased with his performance.”

(Sky Sports)


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