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José Mourinho has started the mind games ahead of this weekend’s North London derby, claiming that Tottenham “didn’t have the money” to compete with Arsenal for the signing of Willian.
The Brazilian signed with the Gunners for free last summer following the expiration of his contract with Chelsea. He left the West London club with a significant number of medals, having won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, a League Cup and the Europa League.
Mourinho and Willian worked together during the Portuguese tactician’s second stint at Stamford Bridge, and while the Spurs manager admitted he admires him as a player, Spurs were in no position to compete with Arsenal’s financial muscle.
“We have no money for Willian,” Mourinho told reporters at his press conference, quoted by the
Telegraph. “We cannot pay the salary that he receives at Arsenal, so I did not want to waste time because we cannot pay those salaries.
“He’s still dangerous, he’s still one of the best players in the Premier League. Other than that he’s a good friend. I have nothing to hide in relation to that. We keep in touch, we keep in touch, we call each other. we wish each other good things. He’s my friend and of course he’s a very good player. “
This Sunday’s clash will be the second North London derby Mourinho has taken over for Spurs, having planned their 2-1 win over Arsenal in July.
The game will see the return of 2,000 fans following the easing of blocking restrictions, and despite having been with Spurs for just over a year, Mourinho is well aware of the importance of the clash for his team’s fans.
“It means more when we are not in the position we are in now because we are in such a good position now,” he added. “It’s a bit different because we want the points and we are not like, we want to beat Arsenal because beating Arsenal is the only good thing we can give to our fans.
“It happened last season when we played Arsenal in the last part of the season. It was about beating Arsenal to give something good, to have a good feeling. Right now, we are also looking at the table and we are in a good position, fighting for positions at the top of the table.
“But we never forget the fact that there are historical rivalries and what it means for the fans. Even for people who were not born in Tottenham, and many of us are in this situation. When you arrive at the club you understand the culture, you learn the culture and you share the values with the fans ”.
Spurs currently top the Premier League after an excellent start to the season, while Arsenal, despite their success in the FA Cup in August, are 14th after a difficult start to 2020/21.