José Mourinho has been told that he will have to work with Tottenham’s existing squad as there is no money for an overhaul in January. The manager, who has taken over from Mauricio Pochettino on a three-and-a-half-year contract, has entered the role with his eyes open as to the financial realities at the club and it was noticeable that on Wednesday evening he talked up the players he has inherited. Mourinho also claimed he was looking forward to working with the academy players.
Spurs must make big repayments on their new stadium and, with Champions League revenues so important, Mourinho has been asked to regain a place among the Premier League’s top four. Before his first game at West Ham on Saturday lunchtime, the team lag 14th in the table, 11 points behind fourth-placed Manchester City. They have played 12 matches of the league season.
“It’s a privilege when a manager goes to a club and feels that happiness in relation to the squad that he’s going to have,” Mourinho said. “These are not words of the moment. They are not words of me being the Tottenham head coach. These are words that I’ve told and I’ve repeated in the last three, four, five years – even as an opponent.
“I really like this squad and looking to the young players – there is not one manager in the world that doesn’t like to play young players and to help young players to develop. There is not one.
“The problem is that sometimes you get into clubs where the work that is below you is not good enough to produce these players so I look to our history and you see that the academy is always giving the talents that the first team needs. And of course I also look forward to work with that profile.”
Mourinho – who will earn up to £13m a year, significantly more than the annual £8.5m that Pochettino got – feels he has unfinished business in the Premier League after his two-and-a-half-year spell at Manchester United ended acrimoniously last December. He has not yet set specific targets, although he was characteristically confident about climbing the table.
“In relation to the Premier League, I think we know where we are and we know we don’t belong there,” he said. “We should just play match after match. The next match we want to win and that’s the same about the next and the next and the next until the last.
“End of season we will see where we are but I know that we are going to be in a different position to where we are now.”
Mourinho arrived early at the Spurs training ground on Wednesday to hold a series of meetings before he took training in the afternoon. The club have confirmed the appointments of João Sacramento (assistant coach), Carlos Lalin (fitness coach), Nuno Santos (goalkeeper coach), Ricardo Formosinho (tactical analyst) and Giovanni Cerra (technical analyst).
Pochettino was dismissed by the chairman, Daniel Levy, in a face-to-face meeting at the training ground on Tuesday. He did not have the chance to say goodbye to his players.
Mourinho added: “I couldn’t be happier and if I wasn’t as happy as I am, I wouldn’t be here. What can I promise? Passion. Passion for my job but also passion for my club.
“To play against Tottenham at White Hart Lane was hard but beautiful. It was one of these places where I used to go with passion but also respect. I also spoke about the club’s potential. I always spoke about the qualities of the players. I always spoke of the magnificent work the club was doing.
“You have to say [Spurs have] the best stadium in the world. The training ground is second to none. The conditions you have to work are absolutely amazing. I look forward for the challenge, for the responsibility, to bring happiness to everyone that loves the club.”