Jose Mourinho has reportedly ordered a molehunt to find out which Tottenham players have leaked negative stories about his training methods.
Spurs went through a woeful run of form at the turn of the year, with Mourinho losing three Premier League games in a row for the first time in his managerial career. That led to rumours of the Portuguese facing the sack after his 16 months in charge in north London.
A turnaround in form appeared to lessen those rumours. However, a north London derby loss to Arsenal and a disastrous Europa League exit saw the knives come out again.
There has even been talk of RB Leipzig’s Julian Nagelsmann coming in as a replacement, with constant stories of discontent within the squad.
After the loss to West Ham, The Athletic claimed that players were questioning his defensive approach in games. The report added that training sessions were too geared towards negating opposition’s threat.
It was even suggested that Mourinho spent ‘hours’ in the build-up to facing Liverpool simply working on defending throw-ins.
Now, the Daily Mail claims that an angry Mourinho is seeking to identify the players who may have been behind the stories.
The Portuguese coach was asked about his coaching methods during Spurs’ woeful run and blasted suggestions they needed changing.
Questioned on whether there were doubts about his methods, Mourinho replied: “No, not at all. Not at all. Zero.
“Because sometimes the results are the consequence of multiple situations in football. Mine and my coaching staff’s methods are second to nobody in the world.”
Bale agent clears air over Real return
Gareth Bale’s agent has claimed that the Tottenham winger’s comments on his “plan” to return to Real Madrid have been taken out of context.
Speculation over Bale‘s future has emerged in recent weeks amid his return to form for Spurs. The 31-year-old, who returned to north London in September on loan from Madrid, struggled upon his comeback. However, he has scored two goals and assisted two others in six Premier League games.
As such, he faced questions over his end-of-season plan in a press conference earlier this week.
The Wales international, speaking ahead of Wednesday’s defeat to Belgium, said: “There’s no distraction for me.
“I think the main reason I came to Spurs this year was to play football first and foremost.
“Going into the Euros I wanted to be match-fit. The original plan was to do a season at Spurs and after the Euros still have a year left at Real Madrid.
“My plan is to go back, that’s as far I have planned.”
Barnett bites back
However, his agent, Jonathan Barnett, has claimed that the comments have been “taken completely out of context”.
The intermediary told ESPN that it is “too early” to speculate on his client’s plans after the delayed European Championships.
Furthermore, the source, indirectly quoting Barnett, claims that Barnett believes his client intended his comments as a ‘statement of fact’.
Bale made his comments to ‘reflect the reality of a one-year loan’, rather than a ‘statement of intent’.
Bale and Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho have faced negative press amid the player’s general lack of game time this term.
The winger played in only six of the first 21 Premier League games of the season, but has considerably improved in recent weeks. Indeed, he has shown the sort of form which made him a four-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid.