English Premier League (EPL) clubside, West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini says Jose Mourinho is “not my friend, but not my enemy” ahead of facing the new Tottenham head coach in Saturday’s London derby.
Concise News reports that the pair will re-ignite their rivalry at the London Stadium in Mourinho’s first game as Spurs boss, after he was appointed on Wednesday following Mauricio Pochettino’s sacking.
Mourinho and Pellegrini have a chequered past with Mourinho first aiming a dig at the Chilean in his time at Real Madrid, before they clashed in the Premier League when the Portuguese was at Chelsea while Pellegrini was at Manchester City.
Pellegrini said of Mourinho: “He’s not my enemy. Everyone has the option to play football the way they want, to talk how they want to and you can’t be criticising always what I think.
“That’s why he’s not my friend, but he’s not my enemy.
“We have different ways of thinking about things, that’s the only difference we have.
“The philosophy of Pochettino is not the same as Mourinho, but he’s only been in charge of the team in two days so I don’t think he’ll try to change it properly.
“We’ll see Tottenham play a similar way [on Saturday] with some touches of what Mourinho thinks football is.”
Asked whether the 66-year-old will have a drink with Mourinho after Saturday’s game, he replied: “Maybe. I don’t have any problems [with him].
“We have been together a lot of times outside of football, and I repeat, he’s not my enemy.”
‘Pochettino is always welcome at Tottenham’ – Mourinho hails sacked Spurs boss
Meanwhile, Mourinho has praised Mauricio Pochettino for his “great work” at Tottenham, insisting he will “always be welcome” at the club in the future.
Following Spurs’ poor start to the 2019-20 season, Pochettino was relieved of his managerial duties on Tuesday night after over five years in charge of the first team.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) November 21, 2019
Club chairman Daniel Levy wasted no time in appointing his successor, with ex-Manchester United boss Mourinho’s arrival in north London confirmed the following morning.
Tributes for Pochettino have poured in since his dismissal, with the Tottenham supporters’ trust expressing their belief that the Argentine should have been given more time to turn things around.
Mourinho has also expressed his sympathy towards a former Premier League colleague, but believes the 47-year-old will “find happiness” again at another club very soon.
“I’ve been smiling for two days. First of all, I do it with a bit of sadness, I have to speak about Mauricio,” the new Tottenham manager told a press conference on Thursday.
“I have to congratulate him on the incredible job he did. I share with you what we shared inside. This club will always be his home, this training ground his training ground. He is always welcome here.
“Tomorrow is another day. He will find happiness soon. He will give everything like he did at this club. He will leave with sadness with the feeling that he did great work. It is what everyone at the club felt.”