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Jose gets raw deal

Toon boss Bruce can't believe the criticism Mourinho receives

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Jose Mourinho has been defended by Newcastle boss Steve Bruce

Jose Mourinho has been defended by Newcastle boss Steve Bruce

REUTERS

Jose Mourinho has been defended by Newcastle boss Steve Bruce

Newcastle head coach Steve Bruce has described criticism of Tottenham counterpart Jose Mourinho as "ridiculous" - as he attempts to add to it tomorrow.

The much-travelled Portuguese finds himself under pressure to deliver a trophy - something he has done with almost monotonous regularity during his managerial career to date - for Spurs this season after taking up the reins in November last year.

However, Bruce cannot understand the negativity surrounding a man whose record he believes is second only to that of his former Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson.

The Magpies head coach said: "It gives me all the encouragement that I need that people can criticise Jose Mourinho.

"Let's be brutally honest here, he's going to go down in folklore for what he's already achieved.

"What he's won is probably only bettered by Alex, so how he gets criticised is ridiculous because he is one of the great coaches, managers, certainly of the last decade or two. I've got the hugest respect.

"I know how difficult a job it is to go and win things like he's done in every country he's been to, and the trophies he's won and what he's achieved, where he started from, where he is, you can only take your hat off to him and say as a fellow coach, manager, 'well done'.

"He's been terrific and he still is."

Bruce will pit his wits against Mourinho in North London having himself endured a week of hugely contrasting fortunes.

Newcastle turned in a dreadful display last weekend to lose 3-0 at home to Brighton in the Premier League, but despite making nine changes went on to deliver a resounding 7-0 thumping of League Two side Morecambe in the Carabao Cup in midweek.

"I'm delighted with the response but we've got to find that consistency so we don't throw in a Brighton. They've certainly done their bit, let's hope I do my bit by picking the right team," said Bruce.

Bruce's hand could be forced to an extent by injuries, with full-back Jamal Lewis a doubt after being kicked in the face by Brighton midfielder Yves Bissouma, while striker Allan Saint-Maximin is battling against a twisted ankle.

"Lewis has got an awful eye injury. He's got a bad cut on it and we understand now the way things are with blood, so we're just going to see how he is," said Bruce.

Twisted

"Allan has got a slightly twisted ankle, so we'll see how he is too."

Mourinho, meanwhile, says the EFL has forced his hand into which games he prioritises next week after Tottenham were handed a bye into the League Cup fourth round.

Spurs will host Chelsea on Tuesday night as League Two club Leyton Orient were forced to forfeit their third-round tie after a spate of coronavirus cases meant the game could not go ahead.

The fixture against Frank Lampard's men means Spurs will play four times in eight days, in three different competitions. After playing in North Macedonia on Thursday night in the Europa League, they host Newcastle in the Premier League tomorrow before the game against Mourinho's former side on Tuesday.

They are then back in action 48 hours later against Maccabi Haifa in the Europa League play-off before a tough Premier League trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United next Sunday.

"I think the EFL ranked them by themselves," Mourinho said when asked how he ordered the games in importance.

"We don't need to rank because they did for us. When they want us to play 48 hours after we finish a Premier League game and 48 before we play for our presence in the Europa League, I think they rank by themselves. So I don't need to rank for us."