Jose Mourinho insists he has no split loyalties ahead of Tottenham’s festive blockbuster with his former club Chelsea.
Spurs take on their London rivals, who Mourinho managed across two trophy-laden spells, on Sunday in a battle which will see the winner spend Christmas in the Premier League top four.
Mourinho has a place in Chelsea folklore for the six trophies he won at Stamford Bridge, which include three titles, but says now he is “100 per cent Tottenham”.
“For me, it’s a game. I am 100 per cent Tottenham, 100 per cent my club always , all my career,” he said.
“No space at all for my previous clubs. I gave everything to all of them. Everything. I kept nothing.
“I gave everything but they are my previous clubs. I give everything to my club – my club is Tottenham.
“It’s so easy for me to play that game. Difficult because of Chelsea’s quality but not difficult from an emotional point of view.”
Mourinho will come up against a familiar face in the opposition dugout in the shape of Frank Lampard, one of the key players his two reigns at Chelsea.
The Portuguese says there will be a big hug waiting for his former midfielder, but will not be inviting him for a post-match drink
“I don’t think so because our stadium is built in the way that our office is completely on the inside our private headquarters,” Mourinho explained.
“Until now I didn’t invite any managers to go there and I don’t think I’ll do that with Frank.
“But like I used to say, a big hug before the game and another after the game, that’s for sure independent of results and who is happy.
“I think our feelings will be forever. I’ll always be grateful to him for what he gave me as a player.
“Nothing is going to change that. I love the guy, I will always love the guy. I hope he loses on Sunday.”
The fact that Spurs can overtake Chelsea in the table is testament to contrasting runs of form as Spurs have won four of their five league games under Mourinho, while Chelsea have lost four out of five.
That has allowed Spurs to cut the deficit from 12 points to just three ahead of Sunday afternoon.
“In terms of position, I’m ahead of where I expected to be,” Mourinho added.
“You depend always on results of your opponents. And I couldn’t imagine and control that Chelsea and Arsenal lost a few matches.
“The only control we had was to beat Wolves, who were ahead of us and now they are behind. Apart form that we couldn’t control.
“When we arrived we were 12 points distance, we were closer to the bottom than the top.
“But of course we knew where we belong and we knew it was a question of time to leave this awful position and to have an approach.
“We know we can end this year in the top four but end of the year is not important. End of season is important.
“This is not just between us and Chelsea. Manchester United is involved, Wolves is involved, there are many teams involved in this top four, top six fight.
“Every point is crucial; every match is a big match.”
Spurs have handed a new contract to defender Toby Alderweireld, but Mourinho does not expect this to mean other out-of-contract players will follow suit.
Alderweireld was expected to leave the club on a free transfer in the summer after talks broke down while Mauricio Pochettino was boss, but Mourinho’s arrival has changed matters.
Jan Vertonghen and Christian Eriksen are free to discuss moves with European clubs in 12 days time
“I don’t think it’s a domino effect, I think every player has a different situation,” Mourinho said.
“I think for a player in the last year of contract to sign a contract must be a union of desires: the club, the manager, the player, the agent, eventually the family or friends.
“It must be a union of desires. With Toby, that expression of desire comes at the same time from every person involved.”