Paul Merson told Soccer Saturday on Sky Sports (16/01/21 at 12:25 pm) that Jose Mourinho’s comments before Tottenham’s 1-1 draw against Fulham have ‘backfired big time’.
A lot was made of Tottenham’s Wednesday night encounter against their London neighbours because Fulham were given 48 hours notice about that game being played because COVID-hit Aston Villa couldn’t fulfil that fixture.
In the lead up to the match, the outspoken Mourinho made it clear that his opposition number should apologise if he fields a strong team.
Whilst Parker did field a strong XI, Merson thinks Mourinho made a costly mistake by talking too much about the rescheduled game pre-match, as he was urging him to ‘just be quiet’.
On whether the league would ask the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United to play in such circumstances: “I am going to go no,” said Merson.
“I don’t know what the rule is. I don’t know if the Premier League have sat down with all the CEO’s of the football club and said ‘we might have to call on you’ and that’s the problem.
“I was saying to Tim [Sherwood] that the longer Mourinho kept on going on about it. I was thinking ‘just be quiet now. Just be quiet’ because this is going to be a cup final for Fulham now.
“And he was going on and on, ‘Oh, if he plays his best team. He should be apologising’. He [Parker] won’t have to say anything, at the moment and it backfired. It backfired big time.”
Whether or not Parker used Mourinho’s pre-match words as fuel for his players will never be known.
But Tottenham dropped more valuable points against a Fulham team that looked well up for the challenge.
In truth, Fulham’s performances have improved tenfold since the opening weeks where they looked like a team already heading for the drop.