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?
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:
“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.
“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.