‘Are you Dele or Dele’s brother?’ – Mourinho looks to reboot Spurs stars
© Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images José Mourinho with Dele Alli on the Portuguese manager’s first day with Tottenham.
José Mourinho had a question for Dele Alli, the Spurs midfielder, who has long since mislaid his best form. “I asked him if he was Dele or Dele’s brother,” Mourinho says. “He told me he was Dele. ‘OK,’ I said. ‘Play like Dele.’”
It was a classic piece of Mourinho kidology, the kind of move he has pulled on numerous occasions and with which he seeks to establish a connection; to motivate. It is so easy to picture the scene with Alli from Wednesday – Mourinho’s first day as Spurs manager. The lacerating, direct delivery; the mischief behind the eyes. The question – and this talks to Mourinho’s latest adventure in England as a whole – is whether it still works?
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英超入前四 狂人有奖金摩连奴挽救热刺除了讲心还讲金，据报如他能领军重上英超前四名冲线，将可获二百万镑（约二千万港元）奖金。难怪他扬言集中精力敷衍联赛，写下头十二轮得不多于十五分终究仍能排前四的汗青。 林柏特：普列锡可斗曼城 据报，热刺新帅摩连奴一月转会市场不能大手买人，只是故意免费签入自在身的爱将伊巴谦莫域。不过，会方有向狂人派糖，他能率队终究杀入英超前四，取得来季欧联资历的话，将独得二百万镑奖金。 本轮前仅得十四分的热刺跟前四有十一分差异，英超向来在首十二轮积累
Mourinho’s new club, the third he has managed in the Premier League after Chelsea (twice) and Manchester United, are at a low ebb, sitting 14th in the Premier League. A little under six months ago they were contesting the Champions League final but everything has unravelled at pace and, never mind Alli, it is difficult to say that any key player has touched his top level this season. It is the reason why Mauricio Pochettino, the most successful manager of Daniel Levy’s near 19-year chairmanship, is now out of work and why Mourinho has been tasked with finding the right buttons to press to reboot the players.
Alli is one of the greatest challenges and, on the eve of Saturday’s trip to West Ham, Mourinho found himself discussing an old tweet that was supposed to have come from the player’s account. It is important to say the tweet was a fake but it led Mourinho into a story about his appreciation for player passion, or what Pochettino would call Alli’s “naughtiness”. The fake tweet had Alli criticising Mourinho and saying he was glad he would never have to work with him.
“When I changed from União de Leiria to Porto mid-season [in 2002], I’d played against Porto a couple of months earlier,” Mourinho says. “One of the Porto players – and I have no problems saying his name because he laughs about this all the time – was Deco. For 90 minutes I insulted him and he insulted me. Big, big insults. Then I walked into the Porto dressing room and he had his head down on his hands. I went there and we talked. If it was true about Dele [and the tweet], I would be happy.”
Mourinho was in richly entertaining form. Asked how he felt about stepping into a starring role for the Amazon Prime documentary that is being shot at Spurs, he said nothing and, instead, fished into his pocket to pull out a mic pack. Then he delivered one of the all-time great eye rolls. Pochettino had not been happy about the intrusive presence of the film crew.
© BPI/REX/Shutterstock Dele Alli has struggled for form this season. Photograph: Simon Dael/BPI/REX/Shutterstock