For José Mourinho, the equation is simple. You manage in a very spending club and there is pressure to win trophies. More than that, it is an obligation. The Tottenham manager has felt it himself before, including at Chelsea, where he has clinched three Premier League titles during his two terms at the helm. As he said a few years ago, after leaving the club under a cloud for the second time: “Judas is still No. 1”. No other Chelsea manager has won the league more than once for them.
It’s different at Spurs where relatively low transfer expenses equate to less pressure, fewer expectations. Mourinho says he took advantage of his first summer window at the club, in which he relied on chairman Daniel Levy to sanction a net spending of £ 56.2million, excluding loan fees. This brought seven players and better balance and options. In this kind of project, says Mourinho, there is no margin for recruitment error.
Which is a roundabout way for Mourinho to frame the psychological aspects of Spurs’ visit to Chelsea on Sunday. At no point does he mention Frank Lampard or the fact that his Chelsea counterpart oversaw a net spending of £ 152.4million in the most recent market. But it doesn’t take a detective to decipher the message. The pressure must be on Lampard to deliver. Never mind that the Spurs enter the weekend at the top of the table. They can knock on the counter, explode from the shadows.
“When you are favorites you know why you are favorites,” said Mourinho, when asked about his previous title-winning teams in England and continental Europe. “And you have to come to terms with that and you have to face that kind of pressure and responsibility. I was in clubs that were, say, market champions because of their powerful investments. I had to face this pressure. So now it’s not for me to face that pressure. It is up to others to face this pressure. It’s not for us.
Mourinho was specifically asked if he likes the boot to be on the other foot, in terms of having been involved in big budget projects such as Chelsea. “Different experiences,” he replied. “What I felt was when I was in these clubs there was a huge pressure on me and now there is not a huge pressure on the coaches of these teams. Put a little pressure on them and leave us alone, doing our job.
The situation is on several levels, Lampard being entitled to point out that Chelsea were unable to make any new signings in the summer of 2019, when he took over, due to a transfer ban. It was also the window when they sold Eden Hazard to Real Madrid for £ 88.5million, although they were able to turn Mateo Kovacic’s loan from Madrid into a permanent deal for £ 40million. Chelsea decided not to add anyone last January, keeping their money in the bank for the summer. Spurs’ net spending last season was around £ 120million.
“If you look at the spending over the last two seasons – what Tottenham did this summer, I came to Chelsea and then what they did during that break, compared to us, you will see that it has been a very similar result, ”Lampard said.
“The pressures are enormous anyway. The pressures at Tottenham will be strong as José has built a fantastic team and has incredible players. We are both in the same position. I can’t jump into José’s mind and say exactly what he’s thinking. When I look at the idea of pressure, it is quite normal for a manager to try to reduce the pressure and comment on the pressure being exerted or not. “
Mourinho reviewed some of Lampard’s defensive options and noted how he could pitch Edouard Mendy or “the most expensive goalkeeper in Premier League history”. It was his way of highlighting how at a club like Chelsea Kepa Arrizabalaga – who cost Athletic Bilbao £ 71.6million – could be left on the bench.
“It’s a different way to enter the market [at Spurs]”Mourinho said. “I’ve been to Chelsea before and I know the difference but I really enjoyed doing this first deal with Tottenham, doing this kind of wise deal where, with less money, you try to give the team a good balance. , so as not to make mistakes, choose the right guys. I’m really happy with what we have. “
Mourinho, who has won just one in six as guest manager at Stamford Bridge – with Internazionale in the 2010 Champions League the last 16 games – is determined to play game by game. “We are not contesting the title, we are fighting for the next game,” he said.
But, at the same time, he doesn’t want his players to feel inferior to those at clubs which are seen as contenders for the season. He wants to ignite belief in the prism of lower expectations. “We are not underdogs,” Mourinho said. “For the next game, we are not outsiders. For each game, we are never underdogs. For every game we try to win. “
Lampard said: “Where José says: ‘We’re not really contenders, we have to watch the next game’ – I think that’s the reality for Tottenham and for us because the last two or three seasons have Liverpool and Manchester City ahead. the rest. He’s watching the next game and that’s exactly what I’m doing.
Lampard played for Chelsea under Mourinho and he was honest about how their relationship had changed. “We are always very cordial,” he said. “We’re in the fierceness of things at these big clubs that are rivals – it changes the relationship but not bad.
“We have no problem with that; I certainly don’t. We are very competitive people. When I talk about José, I always show the respect I have for him in every way. I always got it from him – and that’s where it is.