Tottenham Hotspur coach Jose Mourinho has hit back at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s claim that winning cup competitions is “sometimes an ego thing for managers and clubs” by claiming the Norwegian’s “big boss” Sir Alex Ferguson would disagree.
Manchester United manager Solskjaer had aimed a thinly-veiled barb at his predecessor when defending his own record at Old Trafford, having failed to win a trophy during his two years in charge.
Solskjaer is on course to steer United to second place in the Premier League this season, a feat Mourinho also achieved accompanied by Europa League and EFL Cup wins in 2017.
Mourinho has often been accused of prioritising winning at the expense of style or youth development and when asked about Solskjaer’s comments, the 58-year-old claimed former United boss Ferguson, who retired in 2013 after winning 38 trophies during 26 years in charge, would have disagreed.
“It is his opinion,” Mourinho said at a news conference on Friday. “I am pretty sure that his big boss Sir Alex has a different opinion about it. But I respect what Solskjaer thinks. I think different and [there should be] freedom of thinking, freedom of ideas.
“If that is the way he thinks, that’s fine for me. It is not a problem for me. It is not being disrespectful for anyone. But I believe, I repeat, that his big boss and the biggest of Premier League history has a different view in relation to that.”
Mourinho also insisted he accepted the challenge of trying to compete for honours at Tottenham against teams with far greater resources.
Manchester City this week revealed they now have the Premier League’s largest-ever wage bill at £351 million, an eye-watering sum that did not stop them from handing Kevin De Bruyne a new four-year contract which will see him surpass United goalkeeper David De Gea as the highest-paid player in England on a reported £400,000-a-week.
By contrast, Spurs’ top earner Harry Kane is paid around half that amount.
“I am very happy to do it. My career is long, I have worked in clubs with different history, with different economical resources, with different ambitions and I have always enjoyed,” Mourinho said.
“Of course you know I am in England for so many years and I know how things are. That’s OK. If Kevin signed a contract of ‘X’ million, I would love him to sign a contract of three times ‘X’ million. Good for him. He deserves it, he is a fantastic player so if Pep- [Guardiola] — or any of the coaches of the top teams — has ‘X’ millions to spend, good for them.
“No problem. I enjoy to work in my club, I enjoy to do what we are doing and I am not jealous of the ones who can do other things. I would love my players to get the same contract as David De Gea or Kevin De Bruyne. I would love them to get that money.”