Jose Mourinho has told Tim Sherwood to prove he is the right man to manage Tottenham Hotspur in the long term ahead of this evening’s Premier League match between the teams at Stamford Bridge.
Spurs are still fighting to secure a Champions League qualifying place, while Sherwood, who took over from Andre Villas-Boas in December, is still trying to assert his credentials to manage Spurs beyond this season.
“Now it’s up to Sherwood,” Mourinho said. “He has a chance. A chance that lots of people are waiting for. A chance. Now it’s up to him.”
While Sherwood was Spurs technical coordinator before becoming head coach, Mourinho suggested that his own start in management had not been quite as easy. “When I went to Benfica, I went from my house to Benfica,” Mourinho said. “Not from the office or the Under-21s or assistant coach. I arrived in the club to start my job. Sherwood has been in the club for a long time, so it’s different.”
Mourinho also gave a glowing character reference for Alan Pardew, as the Newcastle United manager prepares for his personal Football Association hearing after his head-butt on David Meyler last week. He said that “every one of us can make mistakes. Alan is a great guy, a good friend, and that is more important than the mistake.”
The Chelsea manager, who is no stranger to touchline confrontations himself, said that he is behaving better than ever thanks to the moderating role of the fourth officials at games this season.
“In this country it is easier to behave,” he said, “because almost everybody behaves and almost everybody has a good relation.
“Especially this season, I am having good experiences with the fourth official. Before the referee comes to send you to the stands, the fourth official is there, going from one bench to the other: ‘Jose, calm down, don’t say that, don’t create a difficult atmosphere.’ They are not going there like policemen.
“I have a better emotional control than one year ago, five years ago. I know experience helps normally.”
Chelsea can move nine points clear of Manchester City at the top of the table if they beat Spurs, but Mourinho insisted again that he will not feel they are leading until City play what would then be their three games in hand.
“I’m not top of the league,” Mourinho said. “That’s the problem. I’m top of the league the day I have played the same number of matches as the other teams, and I have more points. At this moment, I am not.”