José Mourinho has compared possession and passing statistics to an overcooked delicacy, promising a lot but bringing little to the table as he continued to defend his style of play at Tottenham following Wednesday’s 2-1 loss at Liverpool.
The coach had argued that he and his players deserved better, having created two golden chances at 1-1 before they conceded a goal to Roberto Firmino in the 90th minute. Jürgen Klopp saw it differently and the coach Liverpool made a sharp post-game observation based on the numbers showing his team making 200 passes in the final third to Spurs’ 19. “If you ask me now, I can’t remember the 19th,” he said.
Mourinho was asked what he thought about Klopp being named coach of the year at the Best Fifa awards and he responded by saying that he couldn’t believe that Bayern Munich’s Hansi Flick hadn’t won it. He was more direct and expansive in answering questions about his focus on Spurs, which has brought them to second place in the Premier League, three points behind Liverpool.
“You love the word possession and you love statistics,” Mourinho said, as he prepared for Sunday’s visit to Leicester. “It’s a bit like the efficiency of the players and sometimes you say, ‘The statistics say that Player B was 92% efficient on his passing.’ But the statistics do not say that the player only made passes of two meters, they do not say that the player was a center-back who only passed the other center-back. Or a No. 6 that just happened to a No. 8.
“And the guy who was 65% efficient in his pass is the one who made the assist, he’s the one who makes the skillful passes, he’s the one who makes 60-meter passes to change the direction of play. So the statistics many, many times are like an amazing piece of meat or fish but undercooked. It doesn’t tell me much. That tells me [much] it’s the number of goals he scores and the number of chances he creates. “
Mourinho said he was open to all styles. “It depends on the circumstances, the opponent, your players, your weaknesses as well. When I sometimes see people in the lower divisions trying to play like the best players do and then they make incredible mistakes because they don’t have enough quality… I feel like that’s wrong. I promise you that no one knows our own weaknesses better than I do. “
The Tottenham manager was also asked whether scrutiny of his approach was right at a time when Manchester City are struggling, Chelsea have stuttered and Arsenal are in free fall.
“If you want to write an article like you said … [in] your words, not mine – ‘Man City is not playing well, Chelsea is not playing well, it’s not fair for people to criticize you’ – then you change the perception and you don’t need to ask me that question, “he replied. “So do it. I think your question already shows that you don’t look at me the same way you look at others. Because if you look at me the same way you look at others, you would just write an article.”
Mourinho said he didn’t care if he received adulation or recognition, adding with a smile: “Okay, when I got there [at Chelsea in 2004] and he was probably a little too arrogant for what you were used to, maybe he was [looking for recognition] but not me [now]. “
If anyone deserves recognition, Mourinho said it should be Flick, who won the Bundesliga, the German Cup, the Champions League, the German Super Cup and the European Super Cup this year, but not the Best FIFA award.
“The only chance that Flick will win is if Bayern find two or three new competitions for him to win,” he said. “Maybe if he wins seven titles in a season, maybe he will win the award. Poor Flick. “
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