Mourinho unhappy with media as he denies claims he wanted delay to Premier League restart

Jose Mourinho says he is "desperate" for football to return and denied reports claiming he urged the Premier League to hold back on resuming the 2019-20 season.

The Tottenham head coach was present at a meeting between Premier League managers on Wednesday as they discussed the prospect of continuing the campaign despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Under the Premier League's 'Project Restart', there had been hope over a June return for England's top flight although there appears to still be considerable opposition to the proposal and its timeframe.

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Indeed, the Daily Mirror reported that Mourinho had expressed concerns over player safety and called for a delay to allow more time to get players back to full fitness.

But the 57-year-old released a public statement on Thursday clarifying that he wants the English top-flight league to follow in the footsteps of the Bundesliga and find a way to play out the rest of the season, if it safe to do so.

"I don’t think my position in the meeting has been reflected fairly at all today in media reports. I have not asked for any delay," the Portuguese coach's statement read.

"I want to train, and I am desperate for the Premier League to return as soon as it is safe to do so, particularly now we are seeing other leagues preparing to return to action.

"I am extremely proud of the way my players have maintained their fitness – they have shown great professionalism, passion and dedication.

"We have all been working extremely hard through remote squad training sessions and isolated running now the pitches are available to use again at the training centre.

"Every player has been extremely committed in terms of their individual work and now we wait for clearance to commence working in small groups again, which I will fully support."

Mourinho may be eager to get his team back out on the field, but Spurs left-back Danny Rose - currently on loan at Newcastle - has criticised the efforts to bring football back as soon as possible, saying it should not be a priority when "lives are at risk".

While the Bundesliga kicks off again this weekend, the Italian Serie A is also working towards a restart after announcing games could be played again as of June 13.

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