Jose Mourinho has no sympathy for Fulham over rearranged Tottenham clash - ‘Are you serious?’

Dan Kilpatrick
·3-min read
 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Jose Mourinho has no sympathy for Fulham over the rescheduling of their visit to Tottenham on Wednesday.

On Monday, the Premier League postponed Spurs's trip to Covid-hit Aston Villa and rescheduled their home game against Fulham for the same night.

The London derby was called off hours before kick-off on December 30 following a coronavirus outbreak at the west London club.

The Cottagers, whose fixture against Chelsea was also rescheduled from Friday night to Saturday afternoon, are frustrated at the situation, having been informed of the decision after playing 120 minutes in Saturday’s FA Cup third-round against QPR.

Scott Parker said the decision to rearrange the game at such short notice was ‘scandalous’, but Mourinho gave short shrift to the suggestion that he may feel sorry for Fulham and described rescheduling the match as “a positive solution”.

“Are you serious?” the Spurs manager said. "They had 48 hours to prepare for this game. Look, I had the news that I was not going to play them two hours before the game started.

“The biggest impact is to have matches postponed," he added. “The changing of the order of the matches, the impact is minimal I would say. In the end you have to play 19 matches at home and 19 away, and two matches against every team. So if it's to help the Premier League to go the end properly, it's a solution we all have to accept as a positive solution.”

As coronavirus continues to disrupt the professional game, Mourinho suggested Spurs had come through the latest rounds of twice-weekly Premier League testing – which revealed 36 new positives – unscathed.

“We are all very, very happy when, like it happened today, we got the results of the last testing and we realise how well we are trying,” he said.

Scenes of League Two Crawley and non-league Chorley celebrating their FA Cup third-round wins in packed dressing rooms this weekend have prompted disquiet in the Government, with ministers questioning whether elite sport should be allowed to continue.

The Premier League last week issued clubs with a new set of protocols, including bans on mass celebrations, high-fives and shirt swapping.

Mourinho says this weekend’s scenes were one-offs, unlikely to be repeated in the top-flight, and revealed he had already stopped celebration goals as a result of the VAR.

“I don't believe that at Premier League level in any team's dressing rooms we have this kind of celebrations just by winning three points,” he said.

"When you go down, to the FA Cup, to giant killings, to incredible moments for some clubs and players' careers, that can happen. Because it's the wild emotion of football that can push to that.

"I think now they will not repeat that. I think now with the exposure and the comments and the explanation of the risks, I think now the boys even with crazy happiness of a big day for them, they will control [themselves].

"During matches at Premier League level, the celebrations of a goal, I think more is becoming less. I don't even celebrate goals myself almost. Because of the VAR, I adapt and I went in a certain direction to controlling emotions and I believe the players can do a little bit of the same.

“The reality is that the big exposure was some celebrations after matches in the dressing room. And in the normal situation, that's the beauty of football, of a small team beating the giant. But in this moment, they have to control and adapt.”

Mourinho revealed that Erik Lamela is “legally” available for selection against Fulham but Giovani Lo Celso remains “a few weeks” from fitness.

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