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Mourinho ‘idiot’ joke about Saints coach Sparke-d running joke at Southampton

Ralph Hasenhuttl has revealed that Jose Mourinho branding Southampton goalkeeping coach Andrew Sparkes an “idiot” became a running joke among his staff.

Tottenham manager Mourinho grabbed headlines with his barbed comments about Sparkes following a surprise 1-0 Premier League loss to Saints on New Year’s Day.

The Portuguese could face a frosty reception from home fans on Saturday when he returns to St Mary’s for an FA Cup fourth-round tie.

Saints boss Hasenhuttl, who has repeatedly spoken of his admiration for Mourinho, feels no animosity towards his fellow coach and revealed the controversial incident has provided a source of humour.

“I don’t think so, it’s emotion, they are part of the game,” replied the Austrian when asked if he expected the argument to resume.

“Jose is a fantastic guy and Andrew is also a fantastic guy.

“It was a running gag after the game, also in our office, but he is a good guy and I think this is normal sometimes in a game, that emotions are coming up.

“But don’t hang it too high, I think.”

Mourinho received a yellow card from referee Mike Dean after a touchline altercation with Sparkes.

His frustration boiled over due to perceived time-wasting from Southampton as he watched Tottenham labour in defeat and lose star striker Harry Kane to a long-term injury.

Speaking immediately after the game, the former Chelsea and Manchester United boss said: “I think the yellow card is fair because I was rude, but I was rude to an idiot.”

That impressive win for resurgent Saints, secured by an early Danny Ings strike, is part of a run of seven victories from 11 top-flight games which have propelled the south coast club away from relegation danger.

Hasenhuttl hopes to see a handshake between Mourinho and Sparkes ahead of the rematch.

“Yeah, maybe, yes,” he said.