Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

16.23 20 Nov 2020


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The pre-match needle between Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola now has an unintended proxy in Gareth Southgate. 

Tottenham entertain Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday evening, where a Spurs win will send them top of the table.

But Mourinho's been unhappy with the disparity in treatment of players away on international duty for the past fortnight.

Last week, England manager Southgate claimed "huge pressure" was being put on players not to report for international duty.

He added, "That is going on in the background, for sure. That is the landscape, whether it is made public or not. That is the reality. It manifests itself in different ways but that is what happens."

Southgate's comments didn't escape Mourinho, who saw Harry Kane play 76-minutes of England's dead rubber Nations League game with Iceland.

"A national team match should never be a dead rubber like you call it," Mourinho told his pre-match press conference, "The only problem for me is should be the same for everybody, not just for some."

The Spurs boss was pressed on Raheem Sterling's withdrawal from the England squad with a minor hamstring problem.

Dialling up the heat on Guardiola and Southgate, Mourinho said, "Gareth Southgate, I read, I don’t think I’m wrong in what I read, he supposedly told that some football club managers, they put pressure not to play for the national team and because of that he feels sometimes the need to call club managers to try to cool down the emotions and try to control the difficult situation for him.

"I would like him to say, who?

"I would like him to say which are the coaches who put pressure on the players not to go?

"And I would like him to say which are the coaches that he calls and speaks on the phone with them. Apart from that, he has the right, he has the power to call the players he wants.

"He wants to win matches, especially after a defeat, the next match even being a dead rubber is an important match. I sympathise with that.

"And of course we all know Sterling will play tomorrow.

"When Eric Dier left the national team injured in the previous month, he didn’t play two matches for Tottenham. He didn’t play a Premier League match and a Europa League match. He needed a couple of weeks to recover and Raheem is going to play tomorrow.

"These are the little details I think Gareth should explain to us all. Apart from that, I totally support him in the fact that in the national team, in a country like England, the Three Lions on the shirt is always to be respected and he plays with the players he wants to play."

Andy Mitten | Solskjaer future, Pep new deal, Messi unhappiness | OTB AM


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England Gareth Southgate Jose Mourinho Mourinho Premier League Raheem Sterling Southgate Spurs Tottenham Tottenham Hotspur

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