Jose Mourinho was extra quotable on Friday morning.
Spurs don’t play until Sunday, but Saturday officially marks the return of the Premier League. Thus, Mourinho spoke about a wide range of subjects to reporters as the team continues to prepare for their opening match against Everton.
Most notably, Mourinho seemed confident that Tottenham would finally be buying a backup striker to deputize for Harry Kane.
“Yes, I want, I need a striker, but I want to make it very, very clear that the club – the structure above me – knows that I need a striker and also wants a striker. Are we going to get one? I honestly believe so. For the balance of the squad, the team needs it because in this moment the squad is getting very balanced, with different options for different positions. Especially after the gift we had from the EFL and UEFA, that gives me after 20 years of football a unique experience of playing Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday for two consecutive weeks.”
In the past under Mauricio Pochettino, there may have been some disconnect between the coaching staff and Daniel Levy over whether Spurs really needed to pay up to sign a new striker. After yet another season of Tottenham being forced to play other forwards at striker following an injury to Kane, combined with the jammed fixture list resulting from a condensed season, both Levy and Mourinho seem to be on the same page.
It’s still unclear who that new striker will be, but Spurs have been linked to quite a few over the last couple weeks, including Arkadiusz Milik, Habib Diallo, Patson Daka, and many, many more. Despite the assumption that the new man will be a backup to Kane, Mourinho insisted that isn’t the case, as the two would likely play together often.
“I know we have one of the best strikers in the world, I know we have the best in England but I don’t like the word ‘back-up’. A striker can play with Harry Kane — a striker that comes here is not to be just feeling that he is in that back-up situation. So, yes we have the best striker in the country, but we want a striker who can give us more than we have and that is to play, and why not play with Harry?”
This is an important distinction to make, as Tottenham’s efforts to recruit a striker in the past have certainly been negatively affected by the fact that Kane has such a firm hold on the starting spot.
Mourinho also commented on Danny Rose’s situation, and even specifically pointed to the clip of the heated discussion between the two from the Amazon documentary ‘All Or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur’.
If Genoa gets Danny Rose, I think they get a good player. If they get a good player in the last year of his contract, I think they’re in a privileged position to do a good deal for them. And if Danny Rose goes there, I wish him all the best. It’s one of the things that was very clear you that you could learn from one of the Amazon bits is that Danny is the kind of guy who wants to play all the time. Some players are more adapted to a belong to a squad with lots of quality where the competition is higher. Other players are only happy if they’re in a club where they play all the time. It’s very difficult for him to stay here with us when for me it’s clear that Ben Davies is such a solid left-back, Ryan Sessegnon is an investment by the club, an emerging player that we want to improve. So it’s very difficult for Danny to stay with us this season. If he goes to Serie A and Genoa I think it’ll be very good for him.
On Thursday, the PA had reported that Rose was close to an agreement with Genoa, but that has since been pushed back on by a few reports from other sources. Mourinho makes it sound like the move is still an “if”, although he certainly seems to want the transfer to happen.
Also, it’s not exactly a ringing endorsement of Ryan Sessegnon’s status in the team that Mourinho is still calling him “an investment.”
The 2020/2021 Premier League campaign will be a difficult one, especially for those teams that are involved in European competitions as well. Last season’s coronavirus layoff means that the games will be coming thick and fast this year. The beginning of the season is especially brutal, and Mourinho is clearly dreading the effect that fixture pile-up will have on his team.
If I think too much about it, I don’t know how to answer and I will get depressed. I don’t want to get depressed. I want to go to every match with a smile. I want to go to every match positive. But the other day I made a challenge with my boys, asking them which one of them thinks they can play all these nine matches for 90 minutes and nobody told me ‘I can’. So we all are very, very aware that it is impossible to do it. It is not human. ... So looking at that level, it is a big risk. Injury, obviously, if everybody speaks about lots of matches in some periods, this is something unique. It has never happened, never happened.
Mourinho only grew more passionate about the subject as he continued to speak on it. He wondered why this type of schedule was approved by the Premier League when it will actively hinder English teams.
If we decide that one of these competitions is not important for us, we go against the nature of the club, we go against our own nature, we go against our ambitions because the Europa League and the League Cup, we have our ambitions. We have our rights to try and fight for the competitions. In the end, we end by asking ‘which professionals? Who are the people? Who are the illuminated that make these decisions?’ Because this is not about Tottenham. This is about an English club. It was Tottenham but it could be Wolves, it could be Sheffield United. It is not about us but I would like to know, because in this moment they hide, who makes a team play Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday, Tuesday again, Thursday again, Sunday again. Do they want us to play with the youth team in the Carabao Cup? Do they want us? That’s my question.
For a full transcript of every word Mourinho said in his press conference, check out this write-up from Football London.