Eriksen was not fully motivated with Spurs this season, admits Mourinho | Football


José Mourinho has admitted that Christian Eriksen played for Tottenham this season “with the limitations of somebody that wants to leave”, adding that the midfielder was not himself in certain games.

The manager confirmed that Eriksen, who completed a €20m move to Internazionale this week, had told him on his first day in the job that he would not sign a new contract to replace the one due to expire in June. Mourinho praised Eriksen for his professionalism and the respect he showed to his teammates, but conceded that the situation meant he lacked 100% motivation.

Eriksen had been intent on running his contract into its final year to gain greater control over his next move, and Mourinho felt the chairman, Daniel Levy, had done well to raise €20m for a player who would have been available for nothing in the summer. Spurs have reinvested the money in the 22-year-old winger Steven Bergwijn, from PSV Eindhoven, for an initial €30m. He is in the squad for tomorrow’s Premier League visit of Manchester City.

“We didn’t tell because of a moral agreement with Christian, but from the first day I arrived [last November], he told me he was not going to sign,” Mourinho said. “So then it was for me and Mr Levy to manage the situation – for me to have a player without great motivation but still a good sense of professionalism and respect for the club. And Mr Levy, on the business side, managed to do a great deal with six months left on the contract.

“I tried to persuade Toby [Alderweireld] when Toby told me he was having some doubts [about re-signing] but Christian told me the decision was made and no way. From that moment, I was just trying to build the team without him. That was the reason why I didn’t play him many, many times. At the same time, I knew Christian with some limitations – there are always limitations with a player in his situation – would try until his last day to help the team.

“Christian was a good guy in the dressing room, with the limitations of somebody that wants to leave. You could feel in some matches he was not Christian. We were happy to have him here until the end of the season. Christian would always give us some of his talent until the end of the season. But then it becomes about the future of the team and the future of the team needs the deal that Mr Levy made.”

Spurs have loaned another experienced player, Danny Rose, to Newcastle, while Mourinho was quick to point out that he has lost two more, Harry Kane and Moussa Sissoko, to long-term injuries. He described the club’s incoming business – Bergwijn and the 21-year-old loanee Gedson Fernandes – as “two young kids”.

Mourinho added: “There is always experience that is needed and a team of young players – only young players – is a team of some naivety, a team that doesn’t have in some moments the know-how, the capacity to adapt, to even make decisions during the match. But on the other side it is very exciting to work with a young team.”


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