Mourinho’s frustrated spell at Manchester United, which ended in December 2018, was characterised by public battles with the club over transfers but he said he “perfectly” understood and respected the situation at Tottenham.
Last week’s dismal 3-1 defeat at Sheffield United further highlighted the scale of his rebuilding job and all but ended Tottenham’s slim Champions League hopes. They are 10 points from fifth place ahead of tonight’s visit of Everton.
The Portuguese is particularly short at full-back and central midfield, where Eric Dier’s return to centre-half has left Spurs without a natural holding player.
Southampton midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is among their summer targets but Saints have slapped a £35million asking-price on the 24-year-old Dane.
Tottenham’s revenues have been stung to the tune of roughly £200m during the pandemic and the club last month revealed it had taken out a £175m Bank of England loan, which will not be used for transfers. Mourinho, who has promised more “desire” against the Toffees, says he does not want to put his chairman Daniel Levy in a difficult position by talking transfers.
“I don’t feel very comfortable to speak about [what I want] publicly,” Mourinho told Standard Sport. “One thing is what I would like and, of course, Mr Levy knows what I would like. But I know the situation perfectly. And that’s why I say, ‘I would like’ and I don’t say, ‘I want’.
“Because I have to respect the situation of the world and the situation of my club. So we have to be very cautious in our words. Of course we have to improve, we have to improve generally. Let’s see what is possible.”
Mauricio Pochettino repeatedly called for an overhaul of the squad before he was sacked in November but his successor has always preached evolution over revolution.
Mourinho called for the same time and patience given to Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool but said he did not a need a similar turnover of players to the German, with only Divock Origi surviving from Klopp’s first match in 2015 to their first as English and European champions last week.
“Jurgen in Liverpool had the time to do this amazing work in these years,” Mourinho said.
“It’s a great example for many clubs. But only Divock Origi remains from the first line-up to the last line up. I want to believe that in five years’ time a Tottenham line-up will have much more than that from today’s team. In this team, we have lots of people of the right age, with the right quality, with the right ambition.
“So I would say that in three, four, five years’ time, the base of the team will still be around. Important players that are in the club now. That’s why I say we don’t need to make lots of changes. I believe we have an important nucleus of players.
“The process is important, where some faces are leaving, some faces are coming and you try to rebuild something. Teams don’t last forever, of course.
“[Like some of the fans], I want too much too soon, but it’s very important to be realistic, to understand that there is a process.
“I understand the fans’ ambitions but it takes time.
The good thing is that we are all together in the club. We are all very stable, very realistic, very experienced and we are going to get there.”
Mourinho, who revealed a “very honest” team meeting was held after the defeat at Bramall Lane, could be without Dele Alli tonight because of a hamstring complaint, while Japhet Tanganga (back) and Juan Foyth (knee) remain sidelined.
Everton are a point below Spurs, who would drop into the bottom half of the table with another defeat.