West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini has insisted that new Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho is not his enemy as the Hammers prepare to host the Portuguese manager’s first game in charge on Saturday.
Mourinho was announced as Spurs head coach on Wednesday morning, less than 12 hours after Mauricio Pochettino’s shock dismissal on Tuesday evening.
Pellegrini has had several tussles with the 56-year-old, including when Mourinho took a swipe at the Chilean while the pair were in La Liga with Real Madrid and Malaga, before the pair clashed again in the Premier League.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash, however, Pellegrini played down their rivalry saying: “Maybe I can think in a different way, but [Mourinho’s] not my enemy.
“Everyone has their options to play football in the way they want, to talk what they want to say. We have different ways of thinking about it all.”
West Ham have struggled for form in recent weeks, with five defeats and two draws from their last seven matches, but will be hoping for an improvement against a new-look Tottenham outfit.
Pellegrini expects some subtle tactical changes under their new head coach, despite Mourinho being at the helm for just two days.
“Of course I think that the philosophy of [Mauricio] Pochettino is not the same as the philosophy of Mourinho, but he’s just in charge of the team,” the coach said. “I don’t think that in two days he will try to change anything properly.
“So we will see Tottenham playing a similar way, of course with some touches of what Mourinho’s football is but that is not the most difficult problem to solve during the game. The important problem is to have a good performance as a team.”