Skip to main content

Gary Neville says Tottenham and Jose Mourinho is nothing more than a “marriage of convenience”

Jose Mourinho

Gary Neville believes Jose Mourinho is using Tottenham as a “bridge” to re-establish himself as a top-class manager.

The Portuguese replaced Mauricio Pochettino as Spurs boss last week, ending an 11-month absence from management following his sacking by Manchester United last December.

Mourinho got his Tottenham career off to the perfect start with a 3-2 win against West Ham at the weekend, before overseeing a 4-2 victory over Olympiacos on Tuesday.

That triumph saw the north London outfit qualify for the knockout stage of the Champions League, while Saturday’s success moved them to within nine points of the top four.

But Neville thinks Tottenham and Mourinho have entered into a “marriage of convenience” which is unlikely to last in the long-term.

"Historically, if you'd said to me Daniel Levy would appoint a manager of Jose Mourinho's stature that would stand up to him, I would have said not in a million years," he told Sky Sports.

"Winning big games is not a primary reason for Mourinho's appointment, it's a bonus. I think the appointment is to protect finances, it's to protect revenue. This is the new stadium. This is the fact the team's half falling apart in terms of contract running out, a little bit of destabilisation in this squad and trying to keep them together by bringing in a big-game manager.

“For me, this is absolutely a bridge for Daniel Levy. It's a bridge for Jose Mourinho. Mourinho needed to get back into the Premier League to reset himself, to re-establish himself. He wanted to be in London.

“Daniel Levy needed someone who could get the football club quickly back up to a level that is acceptable and into the Champions League. This is a marriage of convenience.

“People said to me last week that it's a three-and-a-half-year contract. Daniel Levy is not stupid enough as an operator to expose himself to a £25m pay-out to Jose Mourinho, unless there are certain triggers hit and certain achievements made.

"Jose Mourinho is not stupid enough and not soft enough just to allow Levy to mess him around and let him sack him after one minute and damage his reputation. This has got pre-nuptial written all over it like you would not believe.

"They are using each other. It's a hard, cold conversation between two men, who respect where each other are at, but probably never saw each other working with each other. And essentially, they are using each other as a bridge to where they need to be.”

Tottenham return to Premier League action against Bournemouth this weekend.


How one 1957 England friendly still leaves its mark across the country

Napoli are the only team to have beaten Liverpool this season – but now they're falling apart. Where has it gone wrong?

Andy Mitten column: Chris Smalling is in the form of his life at Roma – and could still return to Manchester United’s defence