Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho has denied media reports that he is seeking to delay the Premier League’s Project Restart which aims to resume the 2019/20 on 12 June.
With government confirmation that professional sport may be able to return after 1 June if it is safe to do so, the Premier League has continued to explore ways in which the season can restart.
But there have remained doubts over the plausibility, especially since it was claimed by one newspaper that discussions have even included the possibility of players being advised to turn their heads away while tackling one another.
A story originally published by the Daily Mirror reported that Mourinho ‘led concerns over player welfare’ during a meeting between Premier League managers on Wednesday, which it was claimed would lead to a ‘delay’ for Project Restart.
It was said that Mourinho particularly raised concerns over fitness and a lack of training before action resumes after spending the last seven weeks training individually.
But in a statement released on Thursday morning, Mourinho declared that his role in the meeting had not been ‘reflected fairly’ and that he has ‘not asked for any delay’.
Instead, Mourinho described himself as ‘desperate’ for the Premier League to return as soon as it is safe and praised his Spurs players for their dedication to training while isolated.
“I don’t think my position in the meeting has been reflected fairly at all today in media reports. I have not asked for any delay,” Mourinho said in his statement.
“I want to train, and I am desperate for the Premier League to return as soon as it is safe to do so, particularly now we are seeing other leagues preparing to return to action. I am extremely proud of the way my players have maintained their fitness – they have shown great professionalism, passion and dedication.
“We have all been working extremely hard through remote squad training sessions and isolated running now the pitches are available to use again at the training centre.
“Every player has been extremely committed in terms of their individual work and now we wait for clearance to commence working in small groups again, which I will fully support.”
Only around 13 hours after its report claiming Mourinho to be a leader in the calls for a delay, the Daily Mirror published another piece conversely claiming the Portuguese told some reluctant fellow managers to ‘stay home and watch Bundesliga’ if they are worried about playing.