Premier League / 21 November 2019, 7:30pm / SAMI MOKBEL, MATT BARLOW AND ADRIAN KAJUMBA
Jose Mourinho has told Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy that Harry Kane must not be allowed to leave.
Spurs confirmed the appointment of Mourinho on a £15million-a-year deal — nearly twice predecessor Mauricio Pochettino’s £8.5million salary — yesterday following the Argentine’s dismissal on Tuesday night.
One of Mourinho’s first moves was to address his new squad. Then he held one-to-one talks with key players to outline his vision. Kane, who is Spurs skipper while Hugo Lloris is out injured, was one of the players the new manager spoke to individually.
Mourinho sees the prolific England striker as integral to his plans and has told Levy he cannot be sold under any
circumstances. There have been growing fears within the club that Kane is becoming agitated by the fact he is yet to win a trophy.
Mourinho has signed a three-and-a-half-year deal that was brokered by agent Pini Zahavi, who first brought the Portuguese to England with Chelsea in 2004.
The 56-year-old started the process of trying to reinvigorate a disillusioned squad as he addressed the players for the first time at around 2.30pm.
Mourinho issued an impassioned rallying cry during an energy-charged team meeting and stressed the importance of putting the difficulties of the season behind them to pull together and climb the table.
Mourinho told the squad, who failed to win a trophy during Pochettino’s five-and-a-half-year reign, they will be successful provided they stick together and said how excited he is to work with them. One source said he was very ‘businesslike’.
The Portuguese is not giving up hope of challenging to qualify for the Champions League, despite the fact Spurs are 11 points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester City, and outlined that aim yesterday.
One of the key factors behind Levy’s decision to sack Pochettino was the chairman’s belief the club had no chance of securing a top-four place with the Argentine in charge, given the malaise that had engulfed Spurs during the final months of his reign.
Doubts about Pochettino’s future had lingered since Tottenham’s 3-0 thumping at Brighton, which came off the back of a humiliating 7-2 home drubbing by Bayern Munich at the start of October.
In truth, the beginning of the end came on the eve of Tottenham’s epic Champions League semi-final win over Ajax in May, when Levy was infuriated by Pochettino’s comments that he might walk away from the club even if they went on to win the competition.
The night before the biggest game in the club’s history, Pochettino appeared to make the occasion about himself, which left Levy seething.
Tensions between the two, which culminated in a heated exchange on Monday night when the manager’s fate was sealed, made Pochettino’s position untenable.
Tottenham’s previous game, the 1-1 home draw with Sheffield United on November 9, convinced Levy he had to make a change.
Spurs are believed to have explored a move for Brendan Rodgers, but as soon as it became apparent luring him from Leicester was virtually impossible, securing Mourinho became the sole focus.
Discreet talks have been going on since last month and a deal was agreed in principle at the start of last week. All that was left was for Tottenham to negotiate Pochettino’s exit.
Mourinho and his coaching team impressed Tottenham’s players by arriving with detailed, individual training plans. Joao Sacramento has come from Lille to take up the position as Mourinho’s assistant, while Nuno Santos, also from Lille, is the new goalkeeper coach.
Carlos Lalin comes in as fitness coach, Giovanni Cerra as an analyst and Ricardo Formosinho will take up a position as a recruitment specialist. All three served under Mourinho at Old Trafford.
There is no place for trusted Mourinho lieutenants Rui Faria and Silvino Louro.
Money will be made available to Mourinho for signings in January but he wants to give the squad an opportunity to impress before making decisions on their futures. He will, though, look to overhaul Tottenham’s defence.
In his first interview with the club’s website, Mourinho said: ‘I couldn’t be happier and if I was not as happy as I am, I wouldn’t be here. What can I promise? Passion, real passion. Passion for my job, but also passion for my club. That’s the way I have been all my career and I want to try everything to bring happiness to everyone who loves the club.
‘It’s a privilege when a manager goes to a club and feels that happiness in relation to the squad he is going to have. It didn’t happen many times. The majority of times we go to clubs and we always think, “We like some, I don’t like enough”, and you think immediately about what to do to change it.
‘This is a completely different case, and these are not words of the moment, these are words that I said and repeated in the last three, four, five years, even as an opponent.
‘I always spoke about the club’s potential, the qualities of the players, the magnificent work the club was doing to keep all the good players. I really like this squad.
‘I’m not going to say names, but I like the ability of the squad a lot.’