Football News

Spurs boss Mourinho says he couldn’t miss chance to identify “hidden skills” during RB Leipzig scouting trip

By Ben Green

Published: 18:13, 10 February 2020

Jose Mourinho says he couldn’t pass on the opportunity to scout RB Leipzig ahead of Tottenham Hotspur’s Champions League encounter with the German club later this month.

The Portuguese coach took an unorthodox approach to his winter break, snubbing the subterranean climes of Dubai and Marbella to brave the chilly Bavarian weather and catch a glimpse of his last-16 opponents in action against Bayern Munich.

How is Mourinho prepping Spurs for Leipzig? Five things to know…

  • Spurs face RB Leipzig in the Champions League last-16 later this month.
  • The north London club will first contest at home on February 19 before taking to the Red Bull Arena on March 10 for the second leg.
  • For the first time in Premier League history, there is a two-week winter break currently taking place. 
  • Some clubs have jetted off to warm-weather training camps in Dubai, while others have simply gifted their players some time off.
  • Mourinho recently said he “doesn’t care about the break” and was pictured in the stands for Bayern Munich 0-0 RB Leipzig.

Julian Nagelsmann’s side produced a tame 0-0 draw with the Bundesliga champions, firing a blank for only the second time in the league this season.

For the neutral, the scoreless stalemate proved a damp squib, but for Mourinho, every second played out at the Allianz Arena would have been an invaluable nugget of information as he preps his side for a tantalising Champions League double-header.

He could have opted to watch the match from the comfort of his home, but the Spurs boss says nothing is comparable with the experience of watching a match from the terraces.

“It’s very important. I can see small details. Even the warm-ups. I can see what TV and video don’t give me. To see the warm-ups and to see what the players do individually,” he told Sky Sports.

“Some skills that sometimes during the game are hidden. It’s a different intensity. It’s a different experience. I couldn’t miss the opportunity.”

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Mourinho: The winter break is “not for me”

Although Mourinho believes a short hiatus from the hustle and bustle of Premier League football can help rejuvenate the spirits in his camp, he insists a brief pause from his own duties is not necessary.

He said: “The players needed some days off. For their body and soul, they needed a rest. But not for me.

“I think the best way to try and help the team is to work.”

Spurs’ first encounter after the winter break is against Aston Villa on February 16, before the aforementioned bout against RB Leipzig in Europe’s flagship competition.