Tottenham Hotspur’s season has been a roller coaster of emotions. One player who has found himself in tough positions throughout the year is fullback Serge Aurier. At times, he’s been one of the best fullbacks in the league while, in other moments, been criticized for how he’s played and decisions he’s made.
Alasdair Gold over at football.london has a piece today regarding an interview conducted by Soccer Stories. Some of the quotes give us an inside look at what players are thinking during matches. This interview takes on a different tenor given we were given our own look in the Amazon Prime documentary All or Nothing. There are also some quotes regarding playing under Jose Mourinho and the view of the manager.
“Me, like you, I heard what people said from the outside but it’s not the same person that I see here,” he said.
“I also think with the sabbatical year he took,he questions his methods. We are all humans, so questioning yourself is not bad.
“Maybe he managed to erase his flaws. Today, regarding what I heard about him before, he is not the same coach any more.
“He is a bit more with the players and he hangs out a bit more with the players and I like that.”
Mourinho has been heavily criticized for the recent form of Spurs, who have taken twelve points in the last twelve league matches. Aurier paints a picture of a man who is trying to learn from his mistakes and the players are noticing it, perhaps giving us the validation we’re looking for that they are still firmly behind the manager. Spurs, of course, are still in the Carabao Cup final that will be played at the end of April to go with the Europa League.
Aurier also talked about the moment in the documentary where Mourinho said he didn’t trust him.
“If you don’t trust someone, you don’t let them deal with your stuff, right? So if you’re scared of me, pick someone else.
“So I was about to say, I swear, I was about to say it. ‘Pick someone else!’”
“I promise you, I didn’t tell him, because first of all, the coach had just arrived. He needs to feel that the group supports him. If I respond, it’s not good. It’s not good for him, who just got there, right before his first Champions League game.
“So there is also the pressure if I respond automatically, it sends a negative message to him. It means that if the coach talks to me I need to answer because he spoke to me in front of everyone.
“He has the right to tell me that I suck in front of everyone, and if it’s true I will accept it. He has the right to criticise me and to speak his mind and I have the right to respond.
Professional athletes respond differently to criticism, so it had to have been difficult for Aurier to swallow his tongue knowing that the footage was being recorded. To his credit, he performed well in that second half against Olympiacos and has enjoyed solid runs of form. Consistency, much like the current squad, has been the biggest problem overall.
I recommend watching the full interview over on the Soccer Stories - Oh My Goal channel on YouTube. It’s just over half an hour but gives you a good look at the Ivorian International as he talks about not just his playing days at Tottenham, but goes into his childhood.