Jose Mourinho has admitted he has a “difficult” job on his hands at Tottenham, but says he is “really happy” in north London and excited about the future.
Mourinho was drafted in to replace Mauricio Pochettino in the Spurs hot seat back in November, following the team’s poor start to the 2019-20 campaign.
Spurs were languishing in the bottom half of the table at the time, 14 points adrift of the Champions League places and perilously close to the drop zone.
Fast forward three months and Mourinho has guided Tottenham to fifth, with only four points now separating his side and fourth-placed Chelsea after 25 fixtures.
A 2-0 win over reigning Premier League champions Manchester City before the winter break was seen as solid proof that Spurs have already begun to make great strides forward under Mourinho, but he still has plenty of detractors.
It has been reported that the Portuguese has a frosty relationship with a number of first-team stars, with questions raised over his pragmatic style of play and rigid approach to training sessions.
Rumours of a fallout between Mourinho and Tanguy Ndombele have surfaced, with Jan Vertonghen’s future also reported to be up in the air after he was substituted early in the second half of a 3-2 FA Cup fourth-round replay win over Southampton last week.
However, Mourinho has rejected any notion of unrest in the dressing room, and revealed that he is already looking ahead to pre-season as he bids to turn Spurs into genuine trophy contenders.
“Contrary to some people who want to be in the news and tell things that are not true – I am really happy at the club,” he told Sky Sports.
“You know me quite well, enough to know that I am really happy. Difficult? Yes, but if it was not difficult it wouldn’t be for me.
“I like the players and who they are. I like very much the relationship I have with them. If you see a bad face from me it is because of a bad result. I cannot change myself.
“That’s just me. The reality is that I am happy and I look forward to what is coming, and even more for what is coming next season. I want to start working with them in July.”
Mourinho went on to confirm that he was present in Munich to watch Bayern’s 0-0 draw with RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga on Sunday.
Spurs are due to face Leipzig in a Champions League last-16 tie later this month, and Mourinho “couldn’t miss the opportunity” to get a better look at the German outfit.
“It’s very important. I can see small details. Even the warm-ups. I can see what TV and video don’t give me. To see the warm-ups and to see what the players do individually,” he said.
“Some skills that sometimes during the game are hidden. It’s a different intensity. It’s a different experience. I couldn’t miss the opportunity.”
Mourinho added on his need to keep working over the winter break: “The players needed some days off. For their body and soul, they needed a rest.
“But not for me. I think the best way to try and help the team is to work.”