Belfast Telegraph

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini plays down rivalry with Jose Mourinho

Mourinho took over as Tottenham head coach on Wednesday, less than 12 hours after Mauricio Pochettino was sacked.

West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini says Jose Mourinho is not his enemy (Daniel Hambury/PA)
West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini says Jose Mourinho is not his enemy (Daniel Hambury/PA)

By Sonia Twigg, PA

Manuel Pellegrini insists new Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho is not his enemy as West Ham prepare to host the Portuguese boss’ first game in charge.

Mourinho was announced as Spurs head coach on Wednesday morning, less than 12 hours after Mauricio Pochettino’s shock dismissal on Tuesday evening.

Pellegrini has had several tussles with the 56-year-old while in charge of Malaga and Manchester City, but the Chilean played down their rivalry during Thusday’s press conference.

When asked about facing Mourinho, Pellegrini said: “Maybe I can think in a different way, but he’s not my enemy.

“Everyone has their options to play football in the way they want, to talk what they want to say. We have different ways of thinking about it all.”

West Ham have struggled for form in recent weeks, with five defeats and two draws from their last seven matches, but will be hoping for an improvement against a new-look Tottenham outfit.

Pellegrini expects some subtle tactical changes under their new head coach, despite Mourinho being at the helm for just two days.

“Of course I think that the philosophy of (Mauricio) Pochettino is not the same as the philosophy of Mourinho, but he’s just in charge of the team,” Pellegrini said.

“I don’t think that in two days he will try to change anything properly.

“So we will see Tottenham playing a similar way, of course with some touches of what Mourinho’s football is but that is not the most difficult problem to solve during the game.

“The important problem is to have a good performance as a team.”

Mourinho had been out of work since losing his job at Manchester United in December 2018 and faces a difficult task with Spurs currently in the bottom half of the Premier League on just 14 points from 12 matches, but Pellegrini still expects a tough challenge at the London Stadium.

“Tottenham has a very good team with important players, that make the difference. You cannot know what has happened there but the results were not what they are used to having.

“Now they have a new manager, unfortunately for Mauricio Pochettino who did a very good job over a lot of years. I don’t know their reason why he was sacked.

“Now they have another experienced manager in Jose that will bring important things to his team.”

PA

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