Tottenham vs Fulham: Jose Mourinho wants apology if London rivals field their best team

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

Jose Mourinho says Fulham should apologise to the rest of the Premier League if they field their strongest side in Wednesday’s rearranged fixture, as he dismissed the Cottagers’ grievances over the situation.

Emotions have flared on the eve of the London derby, with Fulham boss Scott Parker describing the Premier League's decision to reschedule the game at 48 hours' notice as "scandalous".

On Monday, the Premier League postponed Spurs's visit to Aston Villa and told Fulham their trip to north London would take place on Wednesday night instead.

The December 30 fixture was called off hours before kick-off at Fulham’s request following a coronavirus outbreak in Parker’s squad – angering Mourinho, who believes teams should be made to fulfil fixtures if they have 14 available players.

Parker's fury stemmed from being informed of the decision after Saturday's FA Cup tie with QPR, which went to extra-time, and he has accused the Premier League of risking the safety of his players - many of whom spent 10 days in isolation before the weekend game.

Mourinho predicted Parker would nonetheless now be able to field his best team and says Fulham's complaints "don't make sense" given two clubs' schedules.

The Spurs manager said: "We played 11 more matches than Fulham since the beginning of the season. Eleven. Every week, we played three matches a week. We played in one week four matches.

"They played Saturday against QPR. In London. They have Sunday, Monday and Tuesday to prepare for the game.

"If they come with half of the team, I will be the first one to apologise to them. And I will be the first one to say we played this game with an advantage. If they come with their best, I think they should apologise to all of us.

"We should see their team – their starting line up, their bench and the players not involved in the game – and after that we can all feel sorry for them," Mourinho continued.

"Or we can all think that they shouldn’t speak. My feeling is just my feeling. It’s that they will play with everybody. Maybe one player out. Maximum two.

"It’s just a feeling that I have: the best Fulham will be here. So when we see the best Fulham, then you realise lots of things don’t make sense."

Tottenham's visit to Villa Park was called off after Villa's entire first-team staff and squad were forced into isolation following "a significant" number of cases, but their youth team fulfilled Friday's FA Cup tie against Liverpool.

Mourinho, who revealed Spurs had coped with cases "almost every week", believes there would be no problem finishing the top-flight season if clubs were obligated to fulfil their fixtures and says everyone is going to have to cope with imperfect situations.

He said: "Do you want to finish the season or no? Do you want football to keep going or no? Do you want to be the only country in Europe without football or no?

"Do we want the end of the season with champions, a Cup winner, with relegation, with Europe, or we don’t? That’s the main question. Do we want to have our salaries, yes or no? What do we want?

"Come on, let’s play football. Let’s behave the best we can. Let’s protect our industry. Let’s protect our image and let’s play football.

"Since pre-season, when I was told that if you have 14 players available, you play football, I thought: 'We are going to end the season and we are not going to have problems.’

"That rule, if we can call it a rule, for some reason changed. We had some matches postponed. And since that moment, the situation became a little bit more difficult.

"Then, we needed leadership, we needed decisions to be made.

"And if we all are very selfish or if you all want the perfect situation for ourselves, it is going to be very, very difficult for the Premier League to make it amazing for everyone. That's obvious.

"I can also ask why Aston Villa played against Liverpool in the cup but Aston Villa doesn't play against me tomorrow? I would love to play tomorrow against that Aston Villa. Why am I not playing them?

"I'm not crying about that. I'm crying about that fact that we cannot have more matches postponed. We can't. For the teams in Europa League, it is impossible to have more matches postponed.

"So if tomorrow we don't play against Aston Villa... we [still] need to play. If it's not Fulham, then against somebody else. But we need to play a match. We cannot have more matches postponed."

Spurs have declined to reveal when they suffer positive cases but Mourinho added that they have been impacted frequently.

"We had cases – almost every week," he said.

"One assistant coach, one player, one medical medical staff. We had it all the time. But we went in the direction of: we do the best we can. We try to work internally the best we can. We have to play football doesn't matter what because if you have 14 players available, we have to play.

"We never tried to take any advantage of it. And that's it."

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