Jose Mourinho says postponement of Tottenham's Premier League game with Fulham less than three hours before kick-off was 'unprofessional'; Mourinho: "We were preparing ourselves for that match and of course we didn't play and that is disruptive of what is a week of work"
Saturday 2 January 2021 12:58, UK
Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has said the handling of his side's late postponement against Fulham was "unprofessional".
The match was called off less than three hours before Wednesday's 6pm kick-off by the Premier League after an outbreak of coronavirus in the Fulham camp.
"I don't want to speak too much about it," said Mourinho. "Just to say I felt unprofessional, but that is the way it was.
"We were preparing ourselves for that match and of course we didn't play and that is disruptive of what is a week of work.
"The training sessions before that would be different if we weren't going to play that game. People can think it was good for me that there was no game, but only good for me if I knew there was no game because then I could have had a different cycle in the training sessions.
"But not to play and not to train like we would have liked in the days before does not help."
Mourinho believes even with all of the postponements the season will still be classed as fair, but says it started in the wrong manner, with Manchester City and Manchester United missing the first round of matches.
"It's a special season with special circumstances," said Mourinho, whose side face Leeds at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday.
"We have to say it's going to be fair because if not it's better not to be involved.
"I believe that even from before the season started, it started immediately in the wrong way. Because to start the season with two clubs having a match in hand, it's immediately a wrong start.
"The season started in September and only in the last week of December we were informed about when these two matches were going to be played.
"Now it's about many other matches, or a few more.
"There are lots of things that are not right. But it is what it is, it's what it's possible to have. When you say it's fair or not fair, we have to say it's fair."
The January transfer window opens on Saturday but Mourinho expects it to be a quiet month compared to the summer, when the club signed the likes of Gareth Bale, Sergio Reguilon, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Matt Doherty.
"Times are not easy," said Mourinho. "The club made a big effort in the summer to try and build a good squad. Honestly if something good happened to us it would be a big surprise for me.
"I don't feel the right to ask for something."
Fulham manager Scott Parker understands Jose Mourinho's frustrations following the late decision to postpone the Premier League clash between the two sides.
Parker also revealed he is unsure if his side's next match against Burnley on Sunday will go ahead after the Covid-19 outbreak and, having already made one late adjustment this week, he admits he can see why Mourinho was frustrated.
"I've not spoken to Jose," he said. "We were in exactly the same position as Tottenham were in. We were in a hotel, we didn't know until late on as well.
"We were sitting 20 minutes away from the stadium, obviously ready to have pre-match and waiting around in the hotel, so it was late for my side as well.
"The places where that information went to on Tuesday… that information did not change until Wednesday.
"There was no new information come Wednesday so the information was there on Tuesday but for one reason or another it didn't get postponed or called off until the time it was.
"I was in exactly the same position and I understand Jose's frustration."
Parker was reluctant to go into the specifics concerning the extent of the Covid-19 outbreak but revealed retesting has taken place and results should be available before his team head to the north west to take on Sean Dyche's men.
The former England international was forced to self-isolate himself after a member of his household tested positive for coronavirus, missing the goalless draw with Southampton on Boxing Day.
However, Parker believes stopping football altogether would be a backwards step after so much work has gone into getting players on the pitch, and he is putting his faith in the powers that be to make the correct decisions.
"I don't like the idea of stopping the game because we've worked so hard to get into this position in terms of teams and players so it's not something I want to do," he said.
"Are our protocols strong enough? I don't know. There is a new strain. I don't know if the protocols are strong enough for this new strain which seems to be more contagious and spreading more quickly. I am sure that is something that the people in the right places are obviously looking into.
"I think there are a number of factors for me and that's the wellbeing and safety of players, their families, the places we are going into, whether that is hotels or that's travel or opposition teams.
"And also the integrity of the game as well. Because they say 14 players is the cut-off line for a team to have. I am not sure it is right that you go with 14 players with a three-man bench.
"I am not sure that we want that really as a competition, in terms of the game and the league that we all want."
Mourinho still wants a centre-back and a defensive midfielder - but whether he gets his wish in the January sales remains to be seen.
The focus appears more on outgoings and the club will listen to offers for Danny Rose, who is out of contract in the summer, and Paulo Gazzaniga.
But Dele Alli is the one to watch.
Tottenham want him to stay and fight for his place but Mourinho remains unconvinced and Alli needs football. Spurs are likely to resist a loan but nothing is off the cards yet.
Keep an eye on PSG. The French club tried and failed to sign Alli in the summer but Mauricio Pochettino's impending arrival could mean a Paris reunion.