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Aurier blames Mourinho's 'tough guy' assistant for Spurs struggles and losing dressing room support

13:29 GMT+3 26/04/2022
Jose Mourinho Joao Sacramento Tottenham
The Ivorian defender spent 17 months working under a Portuguese coaching regime in north London and has revealed why things turned sour

Serge Aurier has pointed a finger of blame for Jose Mourinho’s struggles at Tottenham in the direction of the Portuguese coach’s assistant, Joao Sacramento, with a “tough guy” approach from backroom staff members resulting in the support of a star-studded dressing room being lost.

A proven winner inherited the reins of north London heavyweights in November 2019 and was, given his track record of success, considered by many to be the ideal candidate to bring a long wait for major silverware to a close at Spurs.

The former Chelsea and Manchester United boss was, however, to last just 17 trophyless months before being relieved of his duties, with Aurier suggesting that his close associates were responsible for an underperforming side losing trust in those calling the shots.

Why did Mourinho fail at Tottenham?

Singling out Sacramento while talking to the Daily Telegraph, Aurier – who left Spurs for Champions League semi-finalists Villarreal in October 2021 – said of Mourinho’s struggles: “Football is different compared to 10 years ago.

“[Mourinho] is still a great coach, but there are things that have evolved. Sometimes players need more love and attention.

“I’m not speaking for Jose, I’m speaking for his assistant. Joao is a tough guy and he didn’t have a good relationship with the dressing room, that’s why everything deteriorated. There was a lack of good communication.

“It was one of [Sacramento’s] first experiences in a first team and he lacked calm with the players. He needed to be more concerned about the person behind the player.

“Sometimes when you don’t play a lot of sh*t goes through your head, and you need someone to calm you down and help you, to give you good vibes, not to send you negative messages. And I think it all started there.”

Did Aurier fall out with Mourinho at Spurs?

While the Ivory Coast international was not always a favoured option of Mourinho and his coaching team, he did take in 42 appearances across all competitions in the 2019-20 campaign.

He admits to butting heads with the outspoken manager at times, but insists he never had any issue with the now Roma coach and enjoyed working under a man that delivered considerable success in the past at Porto, Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid.

Aurier added on his relationship with Mourinho, who was sacked shortly before the Carabao Cup final in April 2021: “One day we argued, but it was over a tactical issue. I wasn’t happy with his decisions and I went to talk to his office. I know I could talk to him without any problems because he likes the player to be honest. The day after, the problem was solved.

“I love it because Mourinho listens to you, and then he tells you what he thinks. Sometimes you hate him and you want to kill him, but then you love him because his character is that of a born winner and I identify with him a lot. I have nothing against him.

“But we were not in a good mood and the club was not happy. Imagine if we had won that final with him. Maybe they would have gone crazy for him to stay and they would have offered him a contract renewal just for short-term thinking after winning a title. And if the club really wanted to sack him, it would have been impossible to do that after winning the Carabao Cup.”

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