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Mourinho pours on charm to appease Spurs fans but only time will tell if ‘humble’ reincarnation sticks

HE stepped out of his period of darkness and back into the limelight.

The Special One, in his true, natural “habitat”.

Revelling in the attention. Basking in the acclamation of a crowded media theatre at Tottenham’s high-tech Enfield training complex, the TV cameras filling every crevice of the room as the world’s media played a version of sardines for grown-ups.

Jose Mourinho, where he loves to be. At the centre of everything.

Smiling for real, not for show.

Mourinho knows the Spurs fans still need to be convinced he is the right man for the job.

Many harbour doubts over what his football is all about.

Others will contend that sacking Mauricio Pochettino was the most heartless act the club has ever made.

Yet if Mourinho wanted to go out of his way to reassure the supporters he has changed, for the better, he could hardly have poured on the charm more readily.

'A PACKAGE AND A VISION'

A man whose previous arrivals have always been about throwing a great big bucket of dung over his predecessors went out of his way to praise Pochettino as his first act.

Indeed, suggested the Portuguese, if he does realise Tottenham’s hopes and dreams, he will be merely the captain who completed the journey, not the helmsman who deserves credit for the crossing.

Laying it on thick — chairman Daniel Levy would have been smiling too — Mourinho said: “If we win titles it will not be the consequence of me but the consequence of the club’s work.

“This is a package and a vision. Everything starts with a vision.

“The stadium is part of the vision. The training ground is part of the vision. The academy is part of the vision.

“To try to keep all the best players and refuse to let the best players to go away is part of the vision too.

“Maybe to have a manager with my experience is also part of the vision.

“But if we win a title, it doesn’t matter during my period it will not be because of myself. It is just the natural consequence of a vision and a plan.

“That is why I have to speak about Mauricio, to congratulate him for the work and say this club will always be his home, this training ground will always be his training ground. The door is always open for him.”

There was a freshness and vitality about the latest incarnation of Mourinho.

Without, for now, the brashness, the arrogant bravado he wore as a badge of honour when he arrived, ready to slay all the dragons — real and perceived — he saw ranged against him at Chelsea.

'HUGE PILLOWS'

But unlike in his second spell at Stamford Bridge from 2013, when even his claims of “happiness” seemed an effort to convince himself, more than a true reality, with that same, long-discarded, lightness of touch.

After spending 2½ years in The Lowry Hotel in Manchester, there was a joke about the comforts of the “six-star” luxury of the Lodge built at Hotspur Way, where he and his coaching staff were billeted overnight.

“Huge pillows” but not, this time, the same huge ego.

Instead, a man who claimed to have come to terms with himself, able to recognise how and why it had gone so wrong at Manchester United.
He added: “I believe I am better. I have to believe so, to show these 11 months were not a waste of time.

“I have learned to think about many things, to prepare and anticipate. So I am humble, humble enough to try to analyse my career, Manchester, the problems and the solutions.

“From an emotional point of view I’m relaxed, I’m motivated, I’m ready to support the players.

“This is not about me. In your career, your life, you go through moments and periods and I am in a period where it’s not about myself at all.

“It’s about my club, my club’s fans, my players, it’s not about me. I’m just here to try to help everyone.

“You never lose your DNA, you never lose your identity, what you are.

“Don’t ask me what are the mistakes but I realise I made them. I am not going to make the same mistakes, I am going to make new mistakes.”

Humility and Mourinho have rarely been seen in the same room, of course, which led to an obvious question, dealt with in the same way.

Mourinho smiled, not for the first time and said: “No. I was always humble.

“The problem is that you did not understand that. I was always humble in my way. My way. No problem with that.”

Time will tell if we actually saw Dr Jekyll on parade, with Mr Hyde merely crouching around the corner.

Yesterday, master of his new house, Mourinho appeared like the cat that had got its cream.

Jose Mourinho shows he still has great comic timing in first press conference for Tottenham
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