Jose Mourinho missed the smell of the grass and being out on his “green carpet.”
It was a fascinating insight into what makes the Special One tick and Mourinho is happiest when he is with his “family” out on the training pitch.
For Mourinho, that family means his players because this is a manager so dedicated and obsessed by his job that he moved in with his backroom staff during lockdown.
Now, after the clubs voted unanimously to begin phase two of contact training, the Tottenham manager is desperate to get back to playing games as soon as possible.
“It was obviously an amazing feeling for everybody to be back to the green carpets because I think we all miss even the smell of it,” said Mourinho.
“The difficult thing was not to have a clear target. But after the Zoom sessions, when we were allowed to come to the training ground was a new chapter, even working individually like we did for a few weeks, even moving to the groups of five where we are now.
“It’s not the perfect situation but it’s step after step after step and now we are waiting for one more step and hopefully we can have a target for when the Premier League they feel it’s the right moment and it’s safe to go back to football.”
It has been a surreal world for Mourinho who went weeks without direct contact with the players, his staff could leave their house and come into the training ground together.
Mourinho still thrives from working day-to-day with the players and coming into the club’s state-of-the-art training ground was odd as there was no-one there.
“It was a decision that we made to stay all together and by staying together we could easily communicate, not breaking rules, you know I had one episode with Tanguy (Ndombele) but with my assistants we were living in the same house.
“There was a period when we were coming here – just a couple of minutes in the car – but when we were coming we would play the music from the Rolling Stones, Living a Ghost Town, because it was what we were experiencing.
“But of course what I found more difficult was not having a target, not having a day we could say: ‘On the X day of the X month we are going to the training ground and on the X day of the X month we are going to play football again.”
Mourinho can now see it, the games returning as Tottenham’s clash with Manchester United is already marked down as Sky’s first live game back, although no date has been set.
The clubs have voted to step up training, the next step will be deciding on a date when the fixtures will come back and every football fan will be desperate to see it return.
But even though they have now been training together, Mourinho feels that the Zoom video training sessions with the players have been a good bonding exercise – even if there were a few interruptions with the players doing workouts from home.
“It was fun, we had dogs, we had cats, we had babies, we had family, we had lots of things going on and it was funny and at the end of a couple of weeks, the guys were bringing their kids from the beginning of the session or for the end of the session and it was really fun,” he said.
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