Tottenham Hotspur defender Jan Vertonghen has insisted that neither he nor his teammates will take any notice of Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho before the two sides meet on Sunday.
It’s an important clash for both clubs, as a win for Spurs at Old Trafford would see them move nine points clear of United in fifth place and help them apply further pressure on the top four.
In contrast, if Mourinho’s side were to lose and rivals Manchester City win, that would open up a 12-point gap between the Red Devils and the top four which would cast major doubt over their ability to qualify for the Champions League.
As a result, it’s a massive game and Vertonghen has insisted that no-one in the Spurs camp will be falling into the trap of becoming involved in mind games with Mourinho.
“He is a good manager, he says things in the media but it doesn’t really affect us,” he is quoted as saying by ESPN FC. “It’s part of the job and he plays it the way he wants to.
“He is a great coach first of all, done great things with different teams. He has shown he is a very good coach and a colourful character, but football needs that.”
The Belgian international was on the end of a furious tirade from the United boss in 2013 after he was branded a “disgrace” and a “cheat” following a clash with Fernando Torres during Mourinho’s time as Chelsea manager.
Rather than become involved in a war of words or offer United further motivation to win this weekend, Vertonghen kept it diplomatic and will hope that he can play a leading role on the pitch and help his side pick up an important win while dealing a huge blow to a direct rival.