Jose Mourinho was bigging himself up as he prepared to lead Tottenham to another trophyless-season when, all of a sudden, fourth place was worth something according to him. Remember when it wasn’t?

Tottenham Hotspur's Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho walks on th epitch ahead of the second half during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on July 19, 2020. (Photo by Adam Davy / POOL / AFP)
Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho walks on the pitch ahead of the second half during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on July 19, 2020. (Photo by Adam Davy / POOL / AFP)

You all know the story.

In 2012, Arsene Wenger said that qualifying for the Champions League was like a trophy because of the financial and player-retention implications of playing, or not playing, in Europe’s top competition.

His quote was trimmed, taken out of context, twisted, and then used to poke fun at him until other teams started to realise that, actually, finishing fourth was better than winning the League Cup. Most of the journalists eventually caught up, too.

We also found out it isn’t anywhere as easy as Wenger made it look for so long.

Of course, back then Jose Mourinho didn’t waste any opportunity to mock Wenger, even as the point flew over his head.

Now, he’s managing at Tottenham while Wenger is running FIFA.

As the old saying goes, it’s better to be nice to people on your way up, because you’ll meet them again on your way down. When clubs with unlimited budgets no longer want you and you have to show what you’re really made of, all that matters is what you are doing now.

And what Jose is doing now is boring everybody to death.

For those who don’t remember, or have only ever read the media’s version, here is what Wenger ACTUALLY said:

Wenger laughing
Wenger laughing

 

“For me, there are five trophies. The first is to win the Premier League, the second is to win the Champions League, the third is to qualify for the Champions League, the fourth is to win the FA Cup and the fifth is to win the League Cup.”

Makes sense, no?

Of course it does. Wenger said it and was, once again, too far ahead of most people for them to actually grasp what he was saying.

Fourth place seems a long way off for Arsenal since Wenger departed. In the 19/20 season, Arsenal finished between eighth, their worst finish in 25 years. I’m not here to gloat about Arsenal.

I am, however, here to draw attention to Jose Mourinho. Not because he’s manager of Spurs. Simply because he’s Jose Mourinho and he’s been annoying me for far too long.

“If you think I need to show something, okay I’m going to try,” Mourinho said when asked about proving he was still one of football’s top managers. “Let’s go for an easy one: I’m fourth in the league.

“When I arrived, Tottenham were 14th, eight points difference to Arsenal, I think, 12 or 14 to a Champions League position.

“If you think it’s bad to be fourth in the league, that’s your opinion.

Comical Wenger

“But if you want to laugh a little bit with me, I am the champion of the last five matches. You can give me that medal – ‘Champion of the Last Five Matches, 13 points’!

“Honestly, I’m not worried about proving things or not… It’s not anything that can come from outside that’s going to motivate me more or less or put more or less pressure on me, it’s just my nature. I don’t need that.”

Tottenham were at that point, in reality, seventh, just five points ahead of the worst Arsenal team in a generation. The highest they could finish when Mourinho said this was sixth.

His point, it seems, was that Spurs would be in the Top Four if we only counted matches since he arrived in November, something he’s been banging on about for a few weeks now.

But that’s not how football works, Jose. Unless you just want to count trophies since Mikel Arteta was made Arsenal manager, of course.

Suck it, shut it, Jose. While you do, have a think about what else Wenger said you might have missed the point of.

It’ll make you a better person or, at the very least, less boring.

Jose Mourinho Peter Crouch call in stark contrast to Mikel Arteta

Amazon Prime presenter Peter Crouch looks on prior to the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC at Anfield on December 04, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom.
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 04: Amazon Prime presenter Peter Crouch looks on prior to the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC at Anfield on December 04, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Peter Crouch revealed that Jose Mourinho tried to entice him out of retirement to help with their striker crisis despite having a very talented youngster in his ranks that he won’t turn to; the exact opposite of how Mikel Arteta has acted at Arsenal – and this is the man who wanted to be Arsenal manager!

It has long been a point of discussion that Jose Mourinho has no interest/ability in bringing kids through and that is highlighted more than ever now that he is at Spurs.

With no Son or Kane to choose from, Mourinho was urged to give 18-year-old Troy Parrot a go. Parrot, it is claimed, is really making an impression at Spurs, training with the first team. Mourinho, however, says he isn’t ready according to Jamie Redknapp.

So what was Mourinho’s solution?

To call Peter Crouch:

Daily Mail 22 February 2020

“He [Mourinho] had been asked, before Tottenham’s Champions League clash with RB Leipzig, whether his side could do what Barcelona had done and sign a striker outside the transfer window, given their emergency predicament,” wrote Crouch.

“‘I wasn’t aware of that possibility,’ said Mourinho. ‘I don’t think it is possible… Peter Crouch!’ Me being me, I tweeted, ‘I’m ready, Jose’, with the hashtag #thereturn complete with a robot emoji. That was the last I thought of it, until my phone rang.

“Ordinarily, I would not have answered. The fact it was a FaceTime call, though, made things a bit different. My initial thought was that it was my wife Abbey, who had gone to the Brits. I assumed it was her showing me what she was going to wear for the ceremony.

“But when I answered, it wasn’t Abbey staring back from the other end, it was Mourinho, sitting in his office with a glint in his eye. ‘Are you ready, then?’ Jose was laughing now — almost as much as I was. ‘Peter! Come on! We need you! We need you!’ Tottenham’s press office had my number and had given it to the manager.

“As much as I would love to answer his call, however, I concluded — given the refuelling I’ve done since entering retirement — that it might take me a little longer than normal to recapture full fitness. It’s with regret to say, then, that I won’t be scoring any Premier League goals in the near future, though it was a pleasure to speak to Mourinho.

Contrast that with Arsenal when they recalled Eddie Nketiah from Leeds because he wasn’t getting enough playing time, fully intending to send him back on loan only for him to impress in training and get a chance in the first team set-up proper.

What do you think Nketiah and Parrot are thinking as they learn about this, Parrot especially? One knows the coach of his club has faith and is willing to take a chance on him, even given Arsenal’s situation.

The other is being told that he’s considered worse than a 39-year-old retired journey man who hasn’t kicked a ball in almost two years.

Excellent youth management as always there, Jose!