Jose Mourinho has reeled off a long list of goalscoring stats of strikers he has managed in his career after Paul Merson had expressed concerns over Harry Kane’s goal output under the Spurs boss.
Mourinho is widely considered as one of the games more pragmatic managers, particularly in comparison to some of today’s more modern, forward-thinking coaches.
In their opening game following the Premier League restart, Tottenham seemed happy to concede possession and attempt to hit Manchester United on the break, with Harry Kane a largely anonymous and isolated figure throughout. The striker touched the ball just 36 times on his long-awaited return from injury, failing to trouble David de Gea with his only shot of the game which was blocked.
His performance on Friday night prompted Paul Merson to express his concerns of the England captain under Mourinho.
“When Jose took the job I worried for Harry Kane,” Merson said on Soccer Saturday. “He played under [Mauricio] Pochettino and Tottenham had a go wherever they went. There were goals, there were crosses, there were shots.
“He’s going to be playing up front on his own and it is going to be hard work. In the end he is trying to hit 60-yard passes just to get involved in the game and that’s not Harry Kane.
“He’s not fit, he’s definitely not fit, they played virtually with 10 men, I can’t remember how many times he touched the ball in the whole game.”
“I think he’ll have a serious think at the end of the season, I really do,” he added.
“I don’t see him getting 25-30 goals a season the way Jose will want to play, and he [Mourinho] won’t want to play like it was when he first got in there, 4-2’s and 5-3’s, no way.
“He’ll like those games last night, the 1-1’s.”
However, the former Chelsea boss was keen to deliver a ‘nice’ response to Merson in defence Kane’s performance.
“I feel a bit strange about some comments, especially because it looks for me that the beginning of some comments and analysis started from Paul,” Mourinho said at his pre-match press conference ahead of Tuesday’s game with West Ham.
“I have to say I respect a lot, people like him. And because I respect a lot I want to be nice in my answer. I don’t think he is ready for a bad answer.
“I try to be nice and I try just to say something where people can think a little bit. First of all Harry played his first game for six months and if you watch the game and analyse the game, compare Harry Kane with Anthony Martial.
“It was not a game of many chances. Do you give credit to my defence for Martial’s game? Do you give credit to the United defence to the occasions we did create or didn’t create? I think you have to look at it in a balanced approach.
“In our case Harry doesn’t play a game for six months. The record of goals that Harry has with me is easy for you, just go to your data and it is easy to see how many matches Harry played with me before his injury and how many goals he scored.”
Mourinho then decided to reel off a whole host stats, some of which were incorrect, about a number of the more prolific goalscorers who he has worked with over the course of his career.
“I had one guy called Drogba. He played four seasons for me, he scored 186 goals, which gives an average of 46 goals per season,” he said, though Drogba did, in fact, score 73 goals in four seasons under the Portuguese.
73 – Didier Drogba scored 73 goals during his club career under Jose Mourinho, with his most prolific season coming in 2006-07 (33 goals in 60 games). Check. https://t.co/6NOBpFduDs
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 22, 2020
“I have one guy that is not also bad. He plays for Juventus now (Cristiano Ronaldo). He played for me three seasons, he scored 168 goals, which gives an average of 56 goals per season.
“I have another guy that is not also bad called Karim Benzema. He played for me three seasons, he was not always starting because he was quite young, but he scored for me 78 goals in three seasons, which gives a 26-goal average per season.
“I had another one called (Diego) Milito. He played one season for me, he scored 30 goals, he won three titles. Of course, the average is 30. I had another guy that plays for me one-a-half seasons, because in the other half he had a big injury. Tall guy called Zlatan. He scored 58 goals, which gives a 29 average per season.
“So, dear Paul, I have lots of respect for you, I think Harry Kane has no problems at all to score goals in my teams, especially when he is fit, when he has routines of playing. So that’s my message to somebody that I have lots of respect for.”
Spurs go into their game against the Hammers nine points behind fourth-placed Chelsea in the hunt for Champions League football.