José Mourinho has said he complains every day about the lack of time he has had to work with his Tottenham players since taking over as manager three and a half weeks ago. His hectic start continues at Wolves on Sunday and, when he considers what his counterpart Nuno Espírito Santo has built at Molineux, there is admiration and even a hint of envy.
Mourinho discussed the January transfer window and said he needs the players in his squad and, as such, did not think “there’ll be many doors open for players to get out on loan”. He knows funds will be limited for mid-season additions but what he most wanted was time to work with his existing squad. At least he will have his first clear midweek next week. After Wolves, Spurs do not play again until the following Sunday when they face Chelsea at home.
“It’s perfectly clear [for January],” Mourinho said. “I want to work. I’m going to have time to work, which until now I don’t have. I complain every day with my staff, the frustration of: ‘I want to do a certain kind of training.’ I just can’t do it. I love pre-season to work. I don’t have [that].
“We’re going to have a little bit of time in January and then depending on the week in February where we are not going to play the Premier League, we are going to have another week. I want time. We’re going to play against a team on Sunday that has the same coach for three years; they develop ideas in a stable way. They play almost with a blindfold.”
Mourinho had Nuno as his back-up goalkeeper at Porto when they won the Europa League in 2003 and Champions League in 2004. Nuno was an unused substitute in both finals and barely played for Mourinho, although there is the famous story of him coming off the bench to score a penalty in the 7-0 win over Varzim.
“He’s a much better manager than player,” Mourinho said. “I’m not saying he was a bad player. He’s doing really amazing work. He has one of the best teams from a tactical point of view – they play exactly the way he wants. His players are perfect for the puzzle.”
Mourinho said he picked his lineup for Wolves before Wednesday’s Champions League visit to Bayern Munich, a dead rubber that finished in a 3-1 defeat. He was happy with Juan Foyth’s performance, for example, but said: “Is he going to start on Sunday? No.”
Regarding Giovani Lo Celso, Mourinho added: “It is obvious the way Dele [Alli] is playing and Son [Heung-min]. They are one step ahead. So you want to be objective and ask if he [Lo Celso] starts on Sunday – no, he doesn’t.”
Mourinho also mentioned Christian Eriksen, who has resolved to run down his contract, which expires next summer. “He was so honest with me and I was so honest with him. I am not going to betray that trust. I just share these intimate conversations with the structure of the club.”