Jose Mourinho has forbidden his players from watching a replay of their humiliation at the hands of Bayern Munich before his appointment, with the Tottenham manager using Wednesday night’s return match to provide a further glimpse into the future.
The 7-2 defeat to the German champions played a part in Mauricio Pochettino’s downfall and Mourinho’s staff have picked through the wreckage of that defeat. But his squad have been spared another viewing, underlining the change of atmosphere and results in three weeks at the club.
“I forbid any image about it,” Mourinho said. “I watched it a couple of times with my staff and the analysts, trying to go through every detail but not one single image for the boys, not at all.
“We are going to focus on us, more than Bayern, to develop our model of play with different faces and different bodies but there is a certain way we try to develop and we are totally focused on us.”
Victory over Olympiakos in Mourinho’s second game means the result at the Allianz Arena will not affect Spurs’ second-place finish in the group.
Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Serge Aurier and Jan Vertonghen have been given a breather in London and Son Heung-min is likely to be on the bench. Mourinho is set to play youngsters Ryan Sessegnon, Kyle Walker-Peters and Juan Foyth but there will be experience in his line-up. Lucas Moura is expected to lead the attack.
Mourinho believes the squad he has inherited are benefiting from his arrival, including the younger players he is ready to introduce this evening.
“The players are very coachable,” Mourinho said. “I feel them in need of my experience. In need of my support and I enjoy it because I always say a player that doesn’t like to be coached, you lose the concept of the team.
“I arrive mid-season without pre-season, without four, five, six weeks to work and know the players and develop, so we have to do everything while we are running.”
Sessegnon is a player Mourinho tried to sign while at Manchester United, with the Portuguese coach making it clear what he thought about criticism levelled at him for failing to develop youth.
“Scott McTominay, only the best player at Manchester United. Rafael Varane is one of the best players in the world. It’s fair criticism, yeah,” he said.
Mourinho also revealed that learning German this summer was not because he wanted a job in Bundesliga, although the Bayern job is available as Niko Kovac was dismissed a month ago.
“The motivation was to learn,” he said. “I try to learn all the time and was not working for a few months. Curiosity and culture. I would love to be able to answer in German which I cannot at this moment.
“It was not related to jobs as you probably think and was written at the time but not at all.”
One of Mourinho’s greatest triumphs as a manager came against Bayern when he completed the treble with Inter Milan and defeated the Germans in the Champions League final.
In Munich itself he has a mixed record, including defeat on penalties while at Real Madrid which saw him miss out on a reunion with Chelsea in the 2012 final. During the 2005 season his Chelsea team won at the Olympic Stadium but Mourinho was watching from the team hotel in the fallout from his criticism of referee Anders Frisk.
“I was in the stands,” Mourinho said. “I couldn’t communicate with the team and I decided the best way was to go to the hotel and communicate from there. When I arrived it was 1-0 to Chelsea. We were winning already.”
Sessegnon is set to make his first start for Spurs since this summer’s £25 million move from Fulham, after injuries have delayed his progress. The 19-year-old is set to play as a winger, although his inspiration as a child was Ashley Cole, the former Chelsea left-back who won the Champions League at the Allianz Arena.
“I definitely had an eye on Ashley Cole when I was growing up,” Sessegnon said. “I was an attacking full-back, very aggressive, but can also go forward and supply goals and assists, and he was definitely one of the players I looked up to.
“It’s flattering to be compared to someone like that, someone who I think is a great player and for someone like the manager to put my name in the same breath as Ashley Cole was big for me.”
Tottenham(4-2-3-1): Gazzaniga - Walker-Peters, Foyth, Alderweireld, Rose - Dier, Sissoko - Eriksen, Lo Celso, Sessegnon - Moura
Bayern (4-1-4-1): Neuer - Pavard, Boateng, Alaba, A Davies - Kimmich - Gnabry, Goretzka, Muller, Coman - Lewandowski