Scott Parker came with a strong XI and he refuses to apologise to Jose Mourinho for doing so.
In typical Jose Mourinho style, the Spurs manager attempted to play something of a mind game ahead of Wednesday’s Premier League clash with Fulham by revealing that he expected an apology from Scott Parker if he fielded a strong team at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Ahead of the game, Parker branded the short-notice rescheduling of the game – which had to be postponed from its original December 30 date due to a Covid-19 outbreak at Fulham – “scandalous” but Mourinho always expected to come up against a strong, well-prepared side.
😠 | "It's scandalous, to be honest with you."
😳 | "Are you serious?"
— Sky Sports (@SkySports) January 12, 2021
Spoils were shared when an Ivan Cavaleiro header cancelled out a first-half Harry Kane goal and Parker confirmed after the match that he has no plans to apologise to his former manager.
“I owe no one an apology, this football club owes no one an apology,” Parker said.
“You can talk from the outside and people can see what they want to see and work out exactly what the script is but it was far from that. There were two players on that pitch that had only trained for one day, they’d come back from Covid-19 and played in that game. I had players on the pitch that had just three or four days of training. The issue for me regarding this fixture wasn’t having just two days to prepare for it. I understand that.
“The issue was 16 days ago this game was scheduled in but since then we’ve had 10 positive cases, including a couple of staff and then on Monday morning we got told we had to play this game. That was my issue. People understood the predicament we were in – we wasn’t making it up. We’ve been very open, in terms of the safety of others too.
“This team came with a purpose and two days of hard work. In the end, we go away with a pleasing result.”
Rather than focus on the pre-game comments, Mourinho used his post-match interview to criticise his players for not killing the game off.
📉 Tottenham have dropped 10 points from winning positions in the PL this season. Only Brighton (12) & Sheff Utd (11) have dropped more points after leading pic.twitter.com/a4t7cyrBtc
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) January 13, 2021
Mourinho did take the opportunity to hint at having inside knowledge of Parker’s plans and explained that “it’s very difficult to keep secrets” in football nowadays.
Mourinho told Sky Sports: “Look, I truly believe, I have to believe and I know the top hierarchy at Fulham Football Club and we’re dealing with honest people and of course they had problems. Of course, the reason why we didn’t play the game when we should, there were reasons for that. Let’s put that very, very, very clear.
“The reason why they were not happy to play today is different, questions you have to ask Scott not me. But in the football world, it’s very difficult to keep secrets.
“Somebody tells somebody who tells somebody who tells somebody and it arrives to somebody else. And of course we knew for a few days that they were ready and had the players to come.
“Mitrovic is not a Covid situation, [he] had a small injury from the last match. We knew that so it’s something you have to ask Scott. But make things very, very clear. Of course, they had problems and of course, there was a reason for them not to play the game a couple of weeks ago.”