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Mourinho shrugs off criticism of Spurs’ style

Jose Mourinho is not interested in how he is perceived as his approach to games comes under increased scrutiny.

The Tottenham boss has attracted criticism for the way he has set up his side this season, allowing opposition teams possession and territory before hitting them on the break.

It worked against Manchester City and Arsenal and came close to landing its biggest prize yet at Liverpool on Wednesday, but Spurs were not clinical in front of goal and succumbed to a late 2-1 loss.

Despite his critics, Mourinho has guided Spurs to second in the Premier League and they sit above Manchester United, City, Chelsea and the Gunners.

The Portuguese says there might have been a time when his public perception mattered to him, but not any more.

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Asked whether he was frustrated at how he is viewed, Mourinho replied: “No. That’s fine for me. I’m not working in the search of any recognition.

“OK, 15 years ago when I arrived and I was probably a bit too arrogant for what you were used to, maybe yes, maybe I was. But I’m not.

“I work for my club, I work for my players. I try to give happiness to the people that love my club where I work.

“I am very ambitious, that didn’t change at all. I think you can still read on my face that to lose hurts me the same, nothing changes.

“But that situation of looking for some recognition? That’s not for me. I don’t care.”

Tottenham Hotspur's Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho (C) reacts with Tottenham Hotspur's Argentinian midfielder Giovani Lo Celso (L) and Tottenham Hotspur's Dutch midfielder Steven Bergwijn 0:56
Mourinho says his Tottenham squad win, draw and lose together and will be supporting Steven Bergwijn after he was the subject of abuse on social media

Mourinho, with his sharp tongue and penchant for controversy, has always hogged the column inches, but he says the media are responsible for creating a narrative.

“If you write, you don’t need to ask me,” he said in response to being asked if it was unfair.

“If you want to write an article like you told, your words not my words, ‘Man City are not playing well, Chelsea are not playing well, it’s not fair that people criticise you’.

“If you write that in an article, people read, you change the perception and you don’t need to ask me that question.

“I believe your question is showing already that you don’t look at me the same way you look at others. Because if you looked at me the same way you look at others, you would just write an article.”

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Heung-Min Son won the Puskas Award at Thursday night’s Best FIFA Football Awards, where Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp won the gong for the best coach.

Mourinho, who had a touchline disagreement with Klopp at Anfield on Wednesday, believes Bayern Munich’s Hansi Flick was a worthy winner.

“I think the only chance for Flick to win is that Bayern find two or three new competitions for him to win,” he said.

“So maybe if he wins seven titles in one season, maybe he wins the award.

“I believe he only won Champions League, Bundesliga, Pokal, the name of their cup, European Cup, German Super Cup… he only won five. And the biggest one of all.

“Poor Flick. I think the only chance is for Bayern to find two or three more trophies to see if he can win it.”

Brendan Rodgers: Harry Kane dropping deeper has improved Spurs

Harry Kane 0:55
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers disputes the idea Tottenham have lost something from their attack by playing Harry Kane in a deeper role

Brendan Rodgers believes Mourinho has added another string to Harry Kane’s bow by playing the Tottenham striker in a deeper role.

Some observers believe Kane’s scoring prowess has been diluted by dropping back.

Playing the country’s premier goalscorer as more of an attacking midfielder seems a bold move by Mourinho but ahead of the Foxes’ Premier League visit to Spurs on Sunday, live on Sky Sports, Leicester boss Rodgers said: “I don’t think it is.

“I think if you look through the game, you look at Roberto Firmino, he does a similar role for Liverpool. Lionel Messi did it for Barcelona. Other players have done it all through time.

“You’re not seeing something being taken away from Harry’s game. You’re seeing something that’s been added to his game.

“He’s clearly a wonderful goalscorer with great ability, finishing in and around 25 or 30 yards out.

“But what you’re now seeing also is the ability of a player to drop underneath and make passes like a midfield player.”

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