GIVE Jose Mourinho some stale Spurs stars on plenty of bread and he can rustle up three tasty victories. No problem.
But ask him to cook a meal and he freely admits he would struggle. Unless it is sausages and eggs.
And do not even talk to him about ironing or cleaning.
The Special One gave a fascinating insight into his lack of domestic prowess as he revealed why he loved living like spoof radio and TV creation Alan Partridge during his spell as Manchester United boss from May 2016 to last December.
New Tottenham boss Mourinho returns to Old Trafford for the first time tonight since being axed by United almost 12 months ago.
He looks far happier and relaxed now than he did in his final days at the Red Devils, which were frankly depressing.
It was claimed that one of the reasons he was so miserable was because he spent his entire 2½-year reign living in a hotel, albeit in a very splendid one in the shape of The Lowry.
This obviously led to comparisons with Steve Coogan’s TV character Partridge, the radio presenter who resided in the Linton Travel Tavern in Cambridgeshire.
But it turns out being holed up in a hotel was NOT the cause of Mourinho’s misery in Manchester.
When a reporter at yesterday’s pre-match press conference pointed out to him it was a strange way to live, he replied: “Is it? You know how I would be unhappy? I would be unhappy if I was in a house on my own.
“I would have to clean, I don’t want that. I would have to iron, I don’t know how to.
“I would have to cook. Fried eggs and sausages — that’s the only thing I can do. I would be very unhappy.
“I lived in an amazing apartment, it was not a room. It was mine all the time.
“It was not like after one week I had to leave. No, it was mine. I left everything there, I had my television, my books, my computer.
“It was a flat, with a phone. ‘Bring me a coffee latte, please’ or ‘I don’t want to go down for dinner, bring my dinner up’.
“I was watching football or doing work with one of my assistants I would ask ‘Bring us food’. I had everything. If I was alone in an apartment it would be much more difficult. I was fine, more than fine.”
The hotel where he stayed was one of the few topics Mourinho was keen on talking about when asked about his spell at United.
After taking over in May 2016 he won the Europa League and the Carabao Cup and led them to runners-up spot in the Premier League in 2018 before it all started to go pear-shaped.
He was axed after the board became concerned about his results, style of play, relationships with their top stars and the lack of return on their investment in the transfer market that had seen them squander — sorry spend — almost £400million on 11 players.
Mourinho, perhaps surprisingly, is still popular among most Stretford Enders who will give him a warm welcome back tonight.
He claims to have remained on good terms with players and staff, including executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.
But he was as reluctant to talk about United yesterday as he was when he was first booted out. He told reporters: “For you it’s like I left Manchester United yesterday.
“It was not yesterday, it was almost one year ago. I am now Tottenham. Again, if you want to speak about United as an opponent, let’s speak about them as an opponent.
“As for my history there, go to my office upstairs and I still have a couple of pictures of my Man United time and that’s it.
“One with the Europa League and my son in Stockholm and one with the Carabao Cup when you get the cup at the top of Wembley.”
Asked if they were his most cherished memories of United, he replied: “Of course, yeah.”
So with Mourinho for a change, it was a picture — or rather two — that paints a thousand words.
But make no mistake, his arrival at his press conference TWENTY MINUTES early indicated he is itching to show his old employers how he has changed.
He would love nothing more than to extend his 100 per cent record as Spurs boss to four games and extend their lead over United in the Premier League to five points.
All the talk is of Mourinho going back to Old Trafford, even if he was not keen on talking about it.
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When Tottenham’s press guru asked hacks to stop asking their manager questions about United, Mourinho said: “What they are doing is trying to make me speak about something I didn’t want to speak about when I left.
“It’s not now the moment because I have a new club, a new life, that I do something I didn’t want to do when I left. It’s a closed chapter.”
But with a helluva epilogue in prospect tonight.
This post written by William Pugh originally appeared on Football news - transfers, fixtures, scores, pictures | The Sun. Read the full post here.