Jose Mourinho is learning at Tottenham that, without unlimited funds to buy his way to trophies, Arsene Wenger didn’t do that badly at all.

Jose Mourinho - Dinamo Zagreb v Tottenham Hotspur - UEFA Europa League Round Of 16 Leg Two ZAGREB, CROATIA - MARCH 18: Coach of Tottenham Hotspur Jose Mourinho before the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 Second Leg match between Dinamo Zagreb and Tottenham Hotspur at Stadium Maksimir on March 18, 2021 in Zagreb, Croatia. Sporting stadiums around Europe remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. Photo by Goran Stanzl/PIXSELL Goran Stanzl/PIXSELL
Dinamo Zagreb v Tottenham Hotspur – UEFA Europa League Round Of 16 Leg Two ZAGREB, CROATIA – MARCH 18: Coach of Tottenham Hotspur Jose Mourinho before the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 Second Leg match between Dinamo Zagreb and Tottenham Hotspur at Stadium Maksimir on March 18, 2021 in Zagreb, Croatia. Photo by Goran Stanzl/PIXSELL Goran Stanzl/PIXSELL

We all know what Jose Mourinho has said about Arsene Wenger in the past. How the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ couldn’t understand that, without unlimited funds, it’s not always that easy to compete against side who have unrivalled wealth.

As he watched his side draw against Newcastle on Sunday he must have wondered how it has come to this. How his ability has been shown, as many of us suspected, to rest more on the wallet of the club than his tactical ability.

Speaking to Canal Football Club [via GFFN] Mourinho spoke about his ambitions for Tottenham and he couldn’t leave Arsene Wenger out of it. Suddenly, not winning isn’t all that bad it seems…

“Of course I have dreams with Spurs,” Mourinho said. “But first of all, I have a challenge to myself, which is to try to win a trophy with every club.

“Some guys think that it is an ego thing, it is not an ego thing. It is more than that, it is the way that I was raised, it is the way that I grew up and it is the way where even being, I am sorry for the word, a s**t football player, always trying to win even at my level.

“And this is my nature. So I would love to do that, that is the challenge. But you need time, and it looks like for some reason the football world thinks everyone deserves time. But I never deserve time. I have to do it like this (clicks fingers).”

He is right with that point, to a certain degree. He doesn’t usually get time because he usually spends hundreds of millions of pounds to get instant results and has at no point in his career shown a desire to nurture talent or build something at a club. He has also only worked for clubs, after Porto and before Tottenham, who have demanded instant success.

“You can do a great work in a club without winning,” Mourinho added, changing his lifetime tone which once prompted Wenger to highlight Mourinho’s fear of failure that Jose, naturally, misunderstood. His response was to call Wenger a ‘specialist in failure’.

“Mr Wenger, he did an incredible work at Arsenal, with you and with some s**t players like you (speaking to Robert Pirès). You had a lot. And he didn’t manage to win a European trophy.

“The work was still amazing, but sometimes you don’t get it.”

That’s right, Jose, sometimes you just don’t…

2020

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. This year could be worse. 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 banged on about for a few weeks.

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

Have a think about what else Wenger said you might have missed the point of, Jose.

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 were thinking as they learned 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!