The Tottenham boss would not tolerate a player who put in the level of effort he used to in his younger years
Jose Mourinho admits he was a lazy and annoying player of the type he would immediately get rid of on a free transfer now that he is a successful manager.
The Tottenham boss, an undistinguished midfielder in his playing days, was asked about comments made by Baltemar Brito, his team-mate at Rio Ave between 1980 and 1982.
But rather than contest the assessment, the Portuguese, who has gone on to achieve considerably more success as a manager, completely agreed when Brito’s views were put to him at Spurs’ news conference before facing Burnley on Saturday.
“Me as a player? Correct – absolutely correct,” he said of Brito’s comments.
Asked what Mourinho the manager would do with Mourinho the player, the 57-year-old gave an honest response.
He said: “I wouldn’t play him. I wouldn’t play him. That’s so easy. Offered [to other clubs], take him! Take him for free!”
Brito had explained that Mourinho, contrary to popular belief, was not lacking in ability.
But he felt Mourinho’s mindset held him back, telling Bleacher Report: “He was an attacking midfielder, usually playing behind the target man.
“He had great ability, but what may have held him back is that he already had his life sorted in a way at the time – his mother was a teacher, his father, a coach.
“Our impression was that football was like a hobby for him.
“Although he enjoyed playing it, he was a bit lazy, he didn’t work as hard as he should have done physically. He did what he had to do and that was it. He didn’t go the extra mile.
“He wanted the easy life, to have the ball at his feet; he was not willing to go to war for that. Perhaps, this is what stopped him from being a better footballer.
“I don’t think he came to Vila do Conde to play, but rather to spend some time at a Portuguese league club, have this experience and also kill some time while his university plans were on hold.
“He wasn’t there to fight for a place in the team – he didn’t have that ambition.
“Mourinho bagged a lot of goals for the reserves. He was always asking for the ball. When we didn’t pass it to him, he moaned a lot – he was a bit annoying on the field.”