Mourinho coy on future of key Spurs trio

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has refused to discuss the contract situations of Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld.

All three are free to leave the club in the summer and do not look like putting pen to paper on new deals any time soon, with Eriksen reported as telling Spurs he definitely will not be signing.

Mourinho had previously said that whether the Dane plays will be determined by his long-term future, and the fact he was an unused substitute in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Bournemouth seems significant.

Jose Mourinho, right, embraces Toby Alderweireld after the win over West Ham
Jose Mourinho, right, embraces Toby Alderweireld after the win over West Ham (John Walton/PA)

The Portuguese has now closed ranks, though, saying only that he is discussing the situation with chairman Daniel Levy but still believes he can count on the trio.

“I’m not going to discuss these individual things,” he said. “If I tell you that I didn’t speak with Mr Levy about Eriksen, Alderweireld and Vertonghen, I would be lying.

“So, yes I’m speaking with Mr Levy about it.

“At the same time, I speak also with the players, with all of them. We speak and try to understand every detail but it’s not something I’m going to discuss.

“Important thing, really, is [they are] great professionals, big relationship with Tottenham, amazing understanding of what the club is and what we need from them.

“So, all three ready to play, all three ready to forget the contractual situation.

“And that’s the most important thing now because we’re in three competitions. And these boys are great players and Tottenham people. I trust them.”

Alderweireld and Vertongen are likely to be in Mourinho’s side as he returns to Manchester United for the first time since his sacking almost a year ago.

Mourinho was fired last December after a poor start to the season and off-field battles with midfielder Paul Pogba.

He won the Europa League and the League Cup while he was there and revealed he still has photos of his time at Old Trafford in his new office at the Spurs training ground.

Mourinho has spoken affectionately about his time at United, where he spent two and a half years.

Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho insists he looks back fondly despite a frustrating spell at Old Trafford (Martin Rickett/PA)

Asked of his main regret of his stint at Manchester United, he said: “No regrets. I won and I learned.

“This is a closed chapter for me. I left the club and took my time to process everything that happened.

“A bit like (Nelson) Mandela was saying, ‘You never lose, you win or you learn’.

“At United I won and I learned. My time after I left was a good time for me.

“Going back to Old Trafford is to go back to a place where I was happy. I can say that I was happy.

“I have great relation with Manchester United supporters. I went back as a pundit which is a different perspective. I was really humbled by such a beautiful reception.

“Tomorrow I go back as the coach of the team that is going is try to beat Manchester United and that maybe gives a different perspective. What they want is exactly the opposite of what I want.

“For you it’s like I left Manchester United yesterday. It was not yesterday, it was almost one year ago. I am Tottenham.

“Again, if you want to speak about United as an opponent, let’s speak about them as an opponent.

“About my history there, go to my office upstairs and I still have a couple of pictures of my Man United time and that’s it.”

Spurs have won all three of Mourinho’s game in charge and could further close the gap on the top four with a win at Old Trafford.

They will still be without Erik Lamela, Hugo Lloris, Michel Vorm and Ben Davies.

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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