‘We are not as ready as Sterling as he was resting for a week’: Jose Mourinho aims a fresh dig at Manchester City after their star attacker dropped out the England team to play Iceland… but the forward is only a sub for Pep Guardiola against Tottenham Hotspur after injury scare
- Jose Mourinho has questioned whether Raheem Sterling has really been injured
- Sterling did not feature at all for the Three Lions before returning to his club
- The winger had a calf complaint and trained on Friday ahead of the crunch clash
- Mourinho said Spurs had been more honest about Eric Dier’s injury situation
- Long-time adversary Pep Guardiola was exasperated by Mourinho’s mind games
Jose Mourinho wheeled out his customary mind games before Tottenham Hotspur’s crunch match against Manchester City, questioning whether Raheem Sterling had really been injured over the international break.
The winger was named on the bench by Pep Guardiola for the game in north London after he was called up for England’s three latest games, but did not feature against the Republic or Ireland or Belgium, before returning to his club due to a calf complaint before the comfortable Nations League win over Iceland and training with Man City on Friday.
‘We are not as ready as Sterling because he was resting the whole week,’ Mourinho jibed. ‘But we are fine, we are ready for the game.’
Raheem Sterling featured in Manchester City training on Saturday after leaving England duty
Jose Mourinho couldn’t resist a few digs ahead of another clash with arch-rival Pep Guardiola
Guardiola responded: ‘He’s trained one day (for us) in the last week, but he’s not perfect.’
The dig came after the Portuguese said in Friday’s pre-match press conference that Man City’s dishonesty was in stark contrast to his own club, with Mourinho citing Eric Dier’s absence for Spurs after withdrawing from England duty as evidence that his team could be trusted.
‘We all know Sterling is going to play (against Spurs),’ said Mourinho. ‘When Eric Dier left the national team injured last month, he didn’t play two matches for Tottenham. He needed a couple of weeks to recover. And Raheem is going to play.’
Guardiola was exasperated, replying: ‘Mourinho has to speak to the doctor for the national team of England and the doctor for Manchester City,’ he said. ‘Except maybe Mourinho is a doctor, I don’t know.’
Mourinho also had a pop at Gareth Southgate in the same press conference after the national team boss had said that clubs were putting pressure on their stars not to join up with England.
The former Chelsea manager said: ‘Gareth Southgate, I read, told how some club managers put pressure on the players not to play for the national team.
Mourinho cited Eric Dier’s injury issue last month as an example of Spurs’ superior honesty
‘And because of that he feels sometimes the need to call club managers to cool down the emotions and control a difficult situation for him.
‘I would like him to say who. Which coaches are putting pressure on the players not to play? I would like him to say which coaches he calls and speaks on the phone with?’
If Spurs win, they will go top of the league, with City unusually finding themselves sitting mid-table.