Jose Mourinho admits he loves the romance of the FA Cup and even helped an opposition team celebrate after they beat his Chelsea side in 2015.
The Portuguese, who takes his Tottenham team to eighth-tier Marine on Sunday for the biggest mismatch in the competition’s history, was leading the Blues to Premier League glory in his second spell when Bradford pulled off a fourth-round shock.
The then League One side came from 2-0 down to win 4-2 at Stamford Bridge and celebrated by having pictures with Mourinho in the away dressing room.
“The FA Cup is absolutely beautiful,” Mourinho said. “I had a big defeat at home and luckily it was in a season where we were champions.
“So because we were champions we could forget the fact that we lost an FA Cup tie at home. But even that day I managed to be happy for them.
“At the end of the game I was with the feeling about, ‘How is this possible?’ But I remember that I went to their dressing room and I wanted to live myself that crazy happiness.
“And I went to that dressing room and I asked the coach to go inside and I was speaking to the guys in the end and I took pictures with the guys.
“Ten minutes after being knocked out of the FA Cup instead of me crying in my office I was laughing and enjoying with their guys in the dressing room.”
Mourinho has promised to take a strong squad to the Marine Travel Arena. The non-league outfit are 161 places below Spurs in the football pyramid.
“Even knowing that I would like to rest all my guys I cannot do it,” he said. “It is not about being afraid of being knocked out. It is about giving the guys what the guys deserve.
“I don’t promise I take everybody, I am not taking everybody. I will give two to three guys a rest but out of 20 I will take 20 first team players so you can imagine how strong we go.
“It is for respect for the guys, they want to play a good Tottenham side and they will play a good Tottenham side.”
Giving a helping hand
Marine had the rug pulled from under their feet when the latest lockdown meant that the biggest game in their history will now be played behind closed doors.
As a result, the Northern Premier Division North West League club are running a raffle with the prize of managing the club during a pre-season friendly.
Mourinho says he will be in the hat, even if he cannot claim the prize.
“I am buying. I am buying but even if I win I cannot do it normally because we have our pre-season and I don’t think I will have conditions to do that,” he said. “But the meaning of it makes me say yes to buying it.”
Spurs could have Erik Lamela back for the game. He completed his self-isolation following being pictured breaking coronavirus rules over the festive period.
Giovani Lo Celso remains out, though, with Mourinho ruling him out for several weeks.
“Gio is injured,” he said. “I don’t know for how long but he is not playing in the next few weeks, it is not a simple situation, he is not going to play in the next few weeks.
“Lamela maybe. I am waiting for tomorrow. So tomorrow last day. Lamela possible.”