Jose Mourinho has taken aim at Pep Guardiola by suggesting the Manchester City manager pressured Gareth Southgate into omitting Raheem Sterling from the England squad.
Southgate this week made headlines by revealing there was a ‘huge pressure’ from Premier League clubs regarding international call ups, amid concerns over player welfare due to a congested fixture schedule.
The England manager’s comments came as he defended his stance on fielding his best side for the Three Lions’ Nations League dead-rubber against Iceland, though his squad was depleted by the withdrawals of Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling through injury.
Mourinho – who saw Harry Kane, Harry Winks and Eric Dier all feature against Iceland – has called on the England manager to name the Premier League coaches who pressurised players to withdraw and suggested he is unconvinced by Sterling’s withdrawal.
Tottenham face Manchester City in the Premier League tomorrow evening and Mourinho admits he is expecting Sterling to feature in the crunch clash for the visitors, before calling for an explanation from the England boss and suggesting this weekend’s opponents have been afforded preferential treatment.
“I have read that Gareth Southgate has said some football club managers put pressure on their players not to play for the national team,” said Mourinho at his pre-match press conference.
“Because of that, sometimes Gareth feels the needs to call some of the club managers to cool down the emotions. I would like him to say which are the coaches that put pressure on their players, and which are the coaches he calls.
“He has the right to call the players he wants. He wants to win matches and, of course, we all know Raheem Sterling is going to play tomorrow.”