Tottenham Hotspur’s manager Jose Mourinho has taken some moments to reflect on his relationship with late Argentina football icon Diego Maradona. The Portuguese tactician said when Maradona was alive, the late football icon used to call him whenever he suffers a big defeat.
Diego Maradona died on Wednesday, less than two weeks after undergoing surgery to treat brain clots. He reportedly died of a heart attack at his home in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The 1986 World Cup winner was serving as the football manager of Argentina club, Gimnasia de La Plata before he died.
Since he died, tributes have been pouring out in honor of the former FC Barcelona and Napoli football icon. After Tottenham Hotspur’s Europa League match against Ludogorets on Thursday which ended 4-0, Jose Mourinho was asked about his relationship with Maradona during the post-match press conference.
The Portuguese tactician said he wished he had spent more time with Maradona because every moment he spent with him was always filled with laughter. He noted how the legacy of Maradona who died at the age of 60, would last forever.
He said: “Maradona the world knows, the world never forgets. I made sure that my son knows a lot about him, even being born after he was a player. I know my son will make sure when he is a father he will not let his kids forget.
“It was a bit similar with [Alfredo] Di Stefano; I never saw him play football, but my dad made sure I knew a lot about him. With these generations, we have players of our generations, and in my generation was what everybody knows.
“Then there’s Diego the guy. That one, I miss. I feel sorry that I didn’t spend more time with him, I would have loved to. I think his family, his friends, and colleagues are very privileged to know him well and spend time with him.
“I know him well enough and in my big defeats, he would always call me. In my big victories, never. But I will miss Diego, and I am very sad but I have a smile because, with him, every minute I spent with him was to laugh.”
So far in Tottenham Hotspur’s Europa League campaign, the Premier League current table-toppers have garnered 9 points from 4 matches after winning three games and losing one. They are currently second to Antwerp with the same number of points but inferior head-to-head.
After the Europa League match on Thursday, Mourinho said: “Normally nine points would be job done, but it’s not done. You need a result, but if you can finish first, we are going to try. Today it was important we made lots of changes, it was important to take it seriously, and it was good.
“Every game is important, we don’t look to a certain competition, we look to the game after game. To play the same players is not good for their condition, or the mentality of the ones who are not playing. If you work hard, you deserve to play, I can only start 11 but I want to give chances to everybody.
“I’m happy for them, some players had nice performances, Japhet Tanganga had his first match after a long injury, it was a nice opportunity for the kids to get into the club history and make their own.”
Tottenham need a draw away against Austrian club LASK on Thursday, December 3, to qualify for the next round of the competition. They need to win their last two games especially the one against Antwerp on December 10 to leave group J as the group’s leaders.