Jose Mourinho has hit back at Paul Merson after the former Arsenal striker suggested the Spurs boss regretted taking over at White Hart Lane.
Writing in his column for the Daily Star last week, Merson claimed Mourinho’s time at Tottenham is already beginning to resemble the miserable end to his Manchester United tenure.
“It’s starting again, isn’t it?” Merson wrote. “All the issues he had at United. He’s having them at Spurs now.”
Spurs have won their last two games despite being outplayed by Manchester City in the Premier League and Southampton in the FA Cup, leading to Merson suggesting Mourinho’s relationships with senior players such as Jan Vertonghen are strained.
But speaking in Germany after watching Tottenham’s Champions League opponents RB Leipzig draw with Bayern Munich on Sunday, Mourinho denied Merson’s suggestions and took a swipe back at the pundit.
“Contrary to some people who want to be in the news and tell things that are not true – I am really happy at the club,” Mourinho told Sky Sports.
“You know me quite well, enough to know that I am really happy. Difficult? Yes, but if it was not difficult it wouldn’t be for me.
“I like the players and who they are. I like very much the relationship I have with them. If you see a bad face from me it is because of a bad result. I cannot change myself.
“That’s just me. The reality is that I am happy and I look forward to what is coming, and even more for what is coming next season. I want to start working with them in July.”
Mourinho is not the kind of manager who will pass up the opportunity to respond to his critics, so Merson must have been expecting some sort of reply. It probably won’t stop the Daily Star columnist from continuing to criticise Spurs in the future.
Tottenham will aim to make it three wins from three in the Premier League when they face Aston Villa this weekend.