Serge Aurier has admitted that even though he argued with Jose Mourinho a lot during his time at Tottenham, he still had a lot of respect for the former Spurs boss.
Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino at the helm in 2019 and the Portuguese coach’s 17 months in charge did not go according to plan, with the club finishing outside the top six for the first time since 2009 in the 2020/21 campaign.
The 59-year-old was sacked in April just before the Carabao Cup final while Aurier left the North London club at the end of last season after his contract ended.
The Ivory Coast international reportedly fell out with Mourinho on a couple of occasions, even allegedly leaving the stadium at half-time after an argument with the former Spurs boss once (Telegraph).
Aurier has now insisted that he does not hold anything against Mourinho and always identified with his winning mentality.
The Villarreal defender further added that perhaps the Spurs hierarchy would have had no choice but to give Mourinho more time had he managed to win the Carabao Cup last season.
Aurier told The Telegraph: “One day we (he and Mourinho) argued, but it was over a tactical issue. I wasn’t happy with his decisions and I went to talk to his office.
“I know I could talk to him without any problems because he likes the player to be honest. The day after, the problem was solved.
“I love it because Mourinho listens to you, and then he tells you what he thinks. Sometimes you hate him and you want to kill him, but then you love him because his character is that of a born winner and I identify with him a lot. I have nothing against him.
“But we were not in a good mood and the club was not happy. Imagine if we had won that final with him.
“Maybe they would have gone crazy for him to stay and they would have offered him a contract renewal just for short-term thinking after winning a title.
“And if the club really wanted to sack him, it would have been impossible to do that after winning the Carabao Cup.”
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It was evident that the mood in the camp had become quite toxic towards the end of last season and the Spurs hierarchy did not have much choice but to pull the plug on the experiment.
The timing of his sacking was probably justified, given that many players did not get along with him and would have known going into the final that they would have been buying the 50-year-old more time by beating City.
However, I am in the minority of Spurs fans who will always have a lot of respect for Jose. He was not the right fit for us but he exuded a lot of passion and covering his press conferences and interviews was a pleasure.
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