Tottenham Hotspur head coach Jose Mourinho has rejected claims he wants a delay to the resumption of the Premier League.
Reports had suggested the 57-year-old voiced concerns during Wednesday’s League Managers’ Association (LMA) meeting at which various elements of the proposed return of competitive action were discussed.
The Premier League is aiming to resume on June 12 but there are growing fears that date may be pushed back by at least a week as players voice their concerns over safety protocols around group training and matches.
Mourinho was said to have argued that squads need a month to build up match fitness after a seven-week hiatus.
With group training expected to start next week, that would have made a June 12 target unfeasible in his opinion.
However, Mourinho sought to clarify his position this morning.
“I don’t think my position in the meeting has been reflected fairly at all today in media reports,” he told reporters.
“I have not asked for any delay. I want to train, and I am desperate for the Premier League to return as soon as it is safe to do so, particularly now we are seeing other leagues preparing to return to action.
“I am extremely proud of the way my players have maintained their fitness. They have shown great professionalism, passion and dedication.
“We have all been working extremely hard through remote squad training sessions and isolated running now the pitches are available to use again at the training centre.
“Every player has been extremely committed in terms of their individual work and now we wait for clearance to commence working in small groups again, which I will fully support.”
Mourinho did not contest another quote attributed to him by one media report which quoted him during the LMA meeting telling rival bosses: “If you don’t want to play, stay home and watch the Bundesliga.”
Sources have told ESPN that Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy and Mourinho are united on restarting matches as soon as it is safe to do so.
Spurs were one of the clubs opposed to the use of neutral venues, an issue that is set to be discussed later on Thursday in a meeting between the football’s governing bodies and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
Tottenham were also one of the last clubs to stop group training prior to the nationwide lockdown in March.