Jose Mourinho questions the logic behind Tottenham appointing his bitter rival Antonio Conte as they already had ‘a very good coach’ in Nuno Espirito Santo
- Jose Mourinho’s Spurs successor Nuno Espirito Santo was sacked this week
- Nuno had just four months in charge – and just 10 league games – at Tottenham
- Mourinho hints that his former FC Porto goalkeeper deserved more time at Spurs
- The Special One’s remarks appear to be a dig at new Spurs boss Antonio Conte
Jose Mourinho has jumped to the defence of his sacked successor at Tottenham Nuno Espirito Santo – hinting that his compatriot deserved more than ‘a few months’ in charge.
Nuno was relieved of his duties as Spurs boss on Monday after just 10 league games in charge, with Spurs winning five and losing five since the former Wolves boss became the first full-time Tottenham coach since Mourinho’s sacking in April.
The Special One, who coached Nuno as a player at FC Porto before becoming a Premier League rival with his compatriot, appeared to hint that his former goalkeeper needed more time at Spurs to fulfill a similar project to one he had at Wolves.
Jose Mourinho (left) has hailed his sacked Tottenham successor Nuno Espirito Santo (right)
Nuno (above) was let go Spurs owner Daniel Levy after a disappointing four months in charge
Mourinho’s most recent comments appear to also be a dig at new Spurs boss Antonio Conte, with the Special One a major rival of the Italian coach during their time at Manchester United and Chelsea respectively.
The Roma boss told Sky Italy: ‘Nuno Espirito Santo did a great job at Wolverhampton, not in a year or a few months, but in four or five years.
‘I can say that now (Tottenham) have a very good coach, but even before they had a very good coach.’
Nuno took Wolves from England’s second tier in 2017 to seventh in the Premier League by 2019, while the Midlands club also appeared in the Europa League knockout stages a year later under the Portuguese coach’s stewardship.
Mourinho (left) hinted that Nuno (right) needed more than a ‘few months’ in charge at Spurs
The 47-year-old quit Wolves earlier this year to pursue a new challenge and was made Tottenham boss at the end of June after Daniel Levy and Spurs struggled to find a long-term replacement for Mourinho, who joined Roma over the summer.
Nuno’s former coach praised the ex-Wolves boss after he was handed the Spurs head coach role earlier this year, with Mourinho expecting ‘big things’ from his former goalkeeper.
‘I really think he’s doing fantastic work,’ said Mourinho when Nuno was appointed in June. ‘We are in a generation when sometimes coaches get jobs and nobody knows why.
‘In this case it is just about his work. He works and works and works, and proves how good he is.
The Special One (second right) coached ex-goalkeeper Nuno (fourth right) at FC Porto
‘In my opinion – I hope that Wolves’ fans and board forgive me – I think he has conditions for bigger things. I hope that one day, the bigger comes because he’s doing fantastic work.’
Mourinho will now watch on from Italy as his arch-rival Conte picks up the reins at Tottenham, with the pair clashing during their time together in the Premier League between 2016 and 2018.
The pair’s rivalry really came to the surface just a few months into the 2016-17 season when Mourinho was livid at Conte’s wild touchline celebrations during Chelsea’s emphatic 4-0 win over United at Stamford Bridge in October.
Mourinho’s (left) comments also appear to be a dig at new Spurs boss Antonio Conte (right)
Conte was appointed as Nuno’s successor the day after the Portuguese coach was sacked
At full time he said to Conte: ‘You don’t celebrate like that at 4-0, you can do it at 1-0, otherwise it’s humiliating for us.’
Since that moment, Conte took aim at Mourinho style of coaching, hinting that the Portuguese coach just want to ‘go to kick an opponent’ while Mourinho hit back over the Italian’s two years in England with jibes about the former Blues boss’ hairline and history in match-fixing scandals.
On the pitch, Conte became the first Chelsea boss since Mourinho to win the Premier League title in 2017, while the Italian also defeated the Special One’s United team in the 2018 FA Cup final.