Jose Mourinho has called for ‘leadership’ from football’s authorities and has highlighted what is at stake for English football amid the ongoing threat of the coronavirus pandemic.
Fulham manager Scott Parker has been hugely critical of the timing of the clash and his side’s lack of preparation for the contest, labelling the decision to hand the west London side just 48 hours notice as ‘scandalous’ this week.
Mourinho hit back at those claims and has now discussed the continued threat for football this season amid rising Covid-19 cases, warning there is little room for further postponements and says the season could be in danger without clear leadership from the authorities.
“Do you want to finish the season or not?” Mourinho said at his pre-match press conference. “Do you want football to keep going or not?
“Do we want to be the only country in Europe without football or not? Do we want the end of the season with champions, a cup winner, with relegation, with Europe, or not? That’s the main question.
“Do you football journalists want to keep working or not? Do we want to have our salaries, yes or no? What do we want?
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 12, 2021
“Since pre-season when I was told that if you have 14 players available, you play football, I thought, ‘We are going to play, we are going to end the season and we are not going to have problems’.
“That rule, for some reason, changed. We had matches postponed and, since that moment, the situation became a little bit more difficult.
“Then, we needed leadership. We needed decisions to be made. So if we all are very selfish, or if you all want the perfect situation for ourselves, it is going to be very, very difficult for the Premier League to make it amazing for everyone.”
An inability to finish the season on time could lead to disastrous consequences for English football with clubs having been forced to pay a significant rebate to broadcasters following the three-month pause and subsequent delay to the 2019/20 campaign.
Several clubs have suffered financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic and this week it was announced that Arsenal have taken out a £120m short-term loan from the Bank of England to cover costs, and Mourinho says clubs must accept the current nature of football and be prepared to play at short notice to complete the season.
“I could also ask why Aston Villa played against Liverpool in the cup, but Villa doesn’t play against me tomorrow,” he said.
“I’m not crying about that. I’m crying about that fact that for Europa League teams we cannot have any more matches postponed.
“Let’s wait for tomorrow. Let’s see Fulham’s team, their starting line up, their bench and the players not involved in the game. Then we can all feel sorry for them. Or we can all think that they shouldn’t speak.”