Jose Mourinho goes for Pep Guardiola and Gareth Southgate as he demands answers on WHY Raheem Sterling pulled out of England duty but is fit for Man City – and which bosses get special treatment
- Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho hit out at Pep Guardiola and Gareth Southgate
- Mourinho is searching for answers after Raheem Sterling withdrew for England
- Despite the injury scare, Mourinho believes the star will feature against his side
- Top flight managers were concerned with their players’ international workload
Jose Mourinho renewed hostilities with his old foe Pep Guardiola on Friday by accusing Manchester City of pressuring Raheem Sterling to withdraw from England duty.
Tottenham boss Mourinho demanded to know which players England boss Gareth Southgate feels are under pressure to miss internationals, with Spurs expecting to host a City side complete with Sterling in the Premier League on Saturday night.
The 25-year-old joined up with England for the recent international triple-header but did not feature against Ireland or Belgium, and returned to his club before Wednesday’s game against Iceland. He has now missed his nation’s last six games.
Jose Mourinho demanded Gareth Southgate to explain Raheem Sterling’s absence for England
The Three Lions boss says his players are pressurised to manage their international workloads
‘We all know Sterling is going to play (against Spurs),’ said Mourinho. ‘When Eric Dier left the national team injured last month, he didn’t play two matches for Tottenham. He needed a couple of weeks to recover. And Raheem is going to play.’
Guardiola was visibly exasperated by the jibes. ‘Mourinho has to speak to the doctor for the national team of England and the doctor for Manchester City,’ he said. ‘Except maybe Mourinho is a doctor, I don’t know.’
Ahead of the Iceland game, Southgate said he thought that, with so many clubs involved in the title race, everyone was looking to ‘gain an advantage’ and the players were ‘under huge pressure from their clubs’.
Mourinho said: ‘Gareth Southgate, I read, told how some club managers put pressure on the players not to play for the national team.
‘And because of that he feels sometimes the need to call club managers to cool down the emotions and control a difficult situation for him. I would like him to say who. Which coaches are putting pressure on the players not to play? I would like him to say which coaches he calls and speaks on the phone with?
Sterling had left the England squad during the recent break as a precaution due to a calf strain
But Mourinho believes that old rival Pep Guardiola will field Sterling against his team
‘These are the little details that Gareth should say to all.’
Sterling — who trained with the City team on Friday — has failed to start only one City match so far this season. He has missed just 83 minutes of his club’s campaign and completed nine of the last 10 games.
Sterling was unavailable for international duty last month, ruled out with a hamstring injury, and yet started City’s next game, scoring the only goal in a win over Arsenal.
Tottenham’s Harry Kane started for England in the defeat in Belgium on Sunday and the win against Iceland at Wembley, his 20th appearance this season.
‘I’m OK with that,’ said Mourinho. ‘He has the right to call the players he wants. He wants to win matches, even a dead rubber.
‘The only problem for me is it should be the same for everybody. Apart from that, I support him in a country like England where the shirt is always to be respected.
‘In Harry’s case, he came back from the national team after playing 90 minutes plus 75, but he was fine. He was not complaining with super-fatigue, just normal fatigue.
‘We are giving him everything we can to have him in top condition. And, of course, he is going to play.’
Mourinho said midfielder Harry Winks had returned from England duty with a ‘little problem’ and was doubtful for the City game.
Mourinho was angry after Eric Dier suffered a hamstring strain last month while with England
Guardiola also bristled when reminded of Mourinho’s jibe earlier this month that City’s players dive by ‘falling with a little bit of wind’.
He said: ‘Listen, I’m not going to answer anything about Jose. I said the doctor because he accused us of something we have done that is not true.
‘You have to speak to the doctors about these other things, don’t ask me. I’m almost 50. I’m old enough to understand.’