Gary Neville has claimed Jose Mourinho is using Tottenham as a “bridge” to return to the European elite, but the former Manchester United defender also believes Daniel Levy is using Mourinho to get the club back to where it should be.
Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino as Spurs manager last week and tasted victory in his first game at West Ham United on Saturday. The Londoners face Olympiacos in the Champions League on Tuesday night – check out our predicted line-up here.
Talking on Monday Night Football, Neville labelled Mourinho’s appointment on a three-and-a-half-year contract as a “marriage of convenience”, suggesting it is not a long-term solution for the Portuguese or Tottenham.
“Historically, if you’d said to me Daniel Levy would appoint a manager of Jose Mourinho’s stature that would stand up to him, I would have said not in a million years,” Neville said (via Sky Sports).
“Winning big games is not a primary reason for Mourinho’s appointment, it’s a bonus. I think the appointment is to protect finances, it’s to protect revenue. This is the new stadium. This is the fact the team’s half falling apart in terms of contract running out, a little bit of destabilisation in this squad and trying to keep them together by bringing in a big-game manager.
“For me, this is absolutely a bridge for Daniel Levy. It’s a bridge for Jose Mourinho.
“Mourinho needed to get back into the Premier League to reset himself, to re-establish himself. He wanted to be in London. Daniel Levy needed someone who could get the football club quickly back up to a level that is acceptable and into the Champions League.
“This is a marriage of convenience.”
Neville’s comments could be read as slightly negative, but he is essentially saying the appointment makes sense for all parties, at least in the short-term. Mourinho has the credentials to finish the job Pochettino started five-and-a-half years ago.
Speaking of the short-term, the new Spurs manager will be focussed on getting out of the Champions League group stage before dreaming of glory in the competition.