LONDON (Reuters) – New Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho has paid tribute to his predecessor Mauricio Pochettino and backed the Argentine to find happiness again at a different club.
Speaking in his first news conference ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash against West Ham United, Mourinho said the club’s door will always be open for Pochettino, who guided Spurs to the Champions League final last season.
“I have to congratulate him on the incredible job he did,” Mourinho said on Thursday.
“This club will always be his home, this training ground his training ground. He is always welcome here.
“Tomorrow is another day. He will find happiness soon. He will give everything like he did at this club. He will leave with sadness with the feeling that he did great work. It is what everyone at the club felt.”
Mourinho, who took charge of the north London club on Wednesday, has inherited a squad that finished in the Premier League’s top four in four consecutive seasons, but are currently 14th after a poor start to the campaign.
The Portuguese returns to club management 11 months after being sacked by Manchester United, where he made a poor start to last season and was criticised by fans and pundits for playing dull, defence-minded football.
“I’m not going to make the same mistakes. I’m going to make new mistakes. I’m going to be stronger,” Mourinho said.
“From an emotional point of view I’m relaxed, motivated and ready and I think the players felt that these two days. I’m ready and I’m here to support them.
“In life you go through periods like this, where it’s not about myself, it’s about my players and my club.”
Mourinho will be looking to end Tottenham’s run of 12 league away matches without victory when they visit the London Stadium in his first match.
Tanguy Ndombele and Jan Vertonghen have recovered from injury and will be assessed ahead of the weekend’s match against 16th-placed West Ham, who are looking for their first win in seven league matches.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)