José Mourinho is aware of Tottenham fans’ discontent, which makes him and the players unhappy, but has promised to provide them with a better season next time out.
Spurs have gone from beaten Champions League finalists last June to ninth in the Premier League and with a return to Europe’s elite competition next season looking all but impossible.
There is anger among some supporters and a protest against the chairman, Daniel Levy, and the club’s owners, Enic, has been considered for Sunday’s home derby with Arsenal. There has been an online attempt to crowdfund a plane to fly over the stadium, trailing the message “Levy and Enic Out”.
Mourinho took over from Mauricio Pochettino as the manager in mid-November with the team 14th, 11 points off fourth and three behind fifth. At the time, Pochettino’s points-per-game record for the season was 1.17. Mourinho’s is 1.59 but his team are 10 points off fourth and nine behind fifth. Spurs have taken eight points from an available 15 since the league restarted, scoring five goals and infuriating with their lack of direction and incision in attack.
“If supporters are not happy, nobody in this club is happy,” Mourinho said. “My message to our fans who of course are not happy is that the thing that keeps me strong and optimistic and 200% loyal to the club and to the project is to know that the club wants to improve.
“Next season is going to be different because I start working from day one and because we are going to make some changes in our squad and for that we don’t need a huge investment like last summer.
“I cannot believe next season is going to be so full of negative episodes like we’ve had since practically day one [this time]. I have no problems to say next season we are going to be better than this season. No doubts.”
Mourinho mentioned how “there is a past before I arrived which was already a very difficult situation to manage”, and he dwelt on the impact of the Champions League final defeat by Liverpool. He also brought up the long list of injuries and the Christian Eriksen saga, in which the midfielder ran down his contract to force a January move to Internazionale.
“The Champions League final was quite an isolated success if you compare it with the last half of the previous season,” Mourinho said, with a nod towards how Spurs’s league form flatlined from last February. “It was [then] difficult for them to digest [losing to Liverpool], difficult to believe the next day the sun would be shining again.”
Mourinho was asked how long his Spurs project was from coming to fruition. “How long for Jürgen [Klopp] and Liverpool?” he said. “Four seasons. I am focused on my three-year contract and I believe that in that we can win trophies. If we don’t, but the club does it in the new era, if I stay here only for three years, I will be happy.”