Neville: "Mourinho needed to get back into the Premier League to re-establish himself. Levy needed someone who could get the football club quickly back up to a level that is acceptable and into the Champions League. This is a marriage of convenience."
Wednesday 27 November 2019 07:36, UK
Gary Neville believes Tottenham and Jose Mourinho are in a "marriage of convenience" following his appointment as head coach at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Mourinho was handed the top job at Spurs by Daniel Levy last Wednesday, less than 11 hours after Mauricio Pochettino "was relieved of his duties" as the club's manager following a run of form which saw them win just three league games from their opening 12 matches.
He got off to a winning start with a 3-2 victory at West Ham - their first away win in the league since January 20 - as Spurs look to recover and push towards Champions League qualification for next season.
Neville, who was speaking on Monday Night Football, thinks Mourinho and Levy are using each other in a bid to get to where they need to be.
"Historically, if you'd said to me Daniel Levy would appoint a manager of Jose Mourinho's stature that would stand up to him, I would have said not in a million years," he told MNF.
"Winning big games is not a primary reason for Mourinho's appointment, it's a bonus. I think the appointment is to protect finances, it's to protect revenue. This is the new stadium. This is the fact the team's half falling apart in terms of contract running out, a little bit of destabilisation in this squad and trying to keep them together by bringing in a big-game manager.
"For me, this is absolutely a bridge for Daniel Levy. It's a bridge for Jose Mourinho.
"Mourinho needed to get back into the Premier League to reset himself, to re-establish himself. He wanted to be in London," the former Manchester United defender added. "Daniel Levy needed someone who could get the football club quickly back up to a level that is acceptable and into the Champions League.
"This is a marriage of convenience.
"People said to me last week that it's a three-and-a-half-year contract," he said. "Daniel Levy is not stupid enough as an operator to expose himself to a £25m pay-out to Jose Mourinho, unless there are certain triggers hit and certain achievements made.
"Jose Mourinho is not stupid enough and not soft enough just to allow Levy to mess him around and let him sack him after one minute and damage his reputation. This has got pre-nuptial written all over it like you would not believe.
"They are using each other. It's a hard, cold conversation between two men, who respect where each other are at, but probably never saw each other working with each other. And essentially, they are using each other as a bridge to where they need to be.
"Jose wants to be back at the elite of European football, winning trophies. Daniel Levy needs to be in the Champions League, and he needs to keep the players he's currently got.
"I'm delighted to see Jose back in the Premier League. He's lit up the Premier League for 20 years. I never bought into the idea he was a spent force at United. There were a lot of things that were deciding factors in that.
"I'm interested to see how it goes but I think the contract will be that detailed around what he has to do and if he does, what he'll get, and if he doesn't, what he won't get. Ultimately, both will have protected themselves."
Meanwhile, Jamie Carragher thinks Mourinho can prove to be the difference for Spurs when it comes to the big matches, especially in the cup competitions.
For all Tottenham's progress under Pochettino, they did not add any silverware to the trophy cabinet. They went close in the Champions League final back June, but the 2007/08 League Cup remains the club's only trophy of the last 20 years.
And Carragher, who thinks Mourinho will struggle to lift the Premier League or the Champions League at Spurs, says the Portuguese boss has been brought in to get them over the line in the games that matter.
When asked what Mourinho can achieve at Tottenham, Carragher told MNF: "I'm not going to judge Jose Mourinho as we've always judged him before at every other club by saying he's got to win the league or the Champions League. I don't think Jose Mourinho will win the Premier League or the Champions League at Tottenham because I don't think it's a club set up to do that.
"Success for Spurs for five years under Pochettino was getting into the top four and we lauded him for that. So, if Jose does the same, we should laud him also.
"He will feel he can do what Pochettino did but when they get to those big games in domestic cup competitions especially, Tottenham have let themselves down badly. It's not just under Pochettino either because if you go back to 2008 when they last won a trophy, whenever they've got to big games, they've let themselves down.
"In the big one-off game, these Tottenham teams - with the likes of Bale and Modric in the team, Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld - were good enough to win.
"Yes, we've loved watching them as a side, but you can't get away from the fact they let themselves down in big games with the quality they've had. And Jose Mourinho's pitch to the chairman of Tottenham when he goes in is: "I can win you those big games with this team, not I need £500m. When I get to these big games, I'm the difference. Look at my CV, I'm the difference."
"It won't be about getting huge transfer funds I don't think, and that's why I rule him out for the league, but he will make a difference in these types of games, and that's why Tottenham have employed him."