Hazard says Mourinho should show more humility as Spurs prepare to face Chelsea
Former Tottenham and Chelsea midfielder Micky Hazard says Blues manager Jose Mourinho has lacked dignity this season and believes the Portuguese could benefit from showing greater humility.
Hazard made over 100 league appearances for Spurs across two separate spells that bookended his playing career, while winning the 1982 FA Cup and 1984 Uefa Cup with the Lilywhites.
But he also enjoyed five years with Chelsea after moving across London in 1985, and will therefore be an interested observer when his former clubs clash at White Hart Lane on Sunday.
Hazard believes Chelsea, who narrowly beat Norwich 1-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday to grab only their fourth top-flight victory of the campaign, can recover from their abysmal start to their title defence – but the 55-year-old has called on the club’s manager to lead by example.
“Obviously it’s shocking what’s happened as they’re a side with very good players, but I think some of it has been self-inflicted,” said Hazard.
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‘Sometimes [as a manager] you have to be the bigger man and not involve yourself in the little scuffles and little wars that have gone on. He ought to have risen above it all and treated everyone with dignity, as then you are treated with dignity yourself.
‘There’s no-one better to bring them back [than Jose Mourinho], but I think he needs to be a little bit more humble in his approach to the ordinary, average human being.
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“People are employed to do their jobs and sometimes they get it wrong – as we all do – but within that you need to show humility and not be so head-on.”
Tottenham look the more likely title contenders as they prepare to host the defending league champions at the weekend, lying 10 points ahead of Chelsea and just four points off the top.
But Hazard said: “It’s going to be a very tough game, as every game is against Chelsea.
“We bashed them last season at our place 5-3 in a great game and I’m confident about this one, with them in a little bit of disarray – but beware the wounded animal.
“We have to approach the game the same as we did last time, when they were top of the league, and not take it for granted that we are going to do the same to them.”
Hazard was born in Sunderland but was spotted by a London scout in his schoolboy days and was invited to train with Tottenham as a 14-year-old before ultimately making his league debut as a 20-year-old in April 1980.
He is delighted with the current regime’s emphasis on blooding youngsters in the first team, and hopes the focus on youth development will remain a priority under Pochettino.
“If you go through the history of the game, every club that’s been successful over any period of time has had the nucleus of homegrown talent,” said Hazard.
“When I look back to my era at Spurs for instance, that was successful, there were at least five or six homegrown players breaking through and playing regularly in the team. I believe this is what gives a club its heart and soul.
“What I mean by that is that when you come through the system you know the history and traditions of the club. You know its greatest rivalries. This then transmits itself through to the non-homegrown talents – people like Ossie Ardiles, Steve Archibald and Ray Clemence.
“Of course, every great side needs to be supplemented with big-name signings but I’m a great believer in using the academy. I love what Pochettino is doing with homegrown players.
“I do still believe we need a wonder signing to turn us from where we’re at into a top-drawer team but there is a real chance of finishing in the top four this season.
“Last year was a transitional season where the manager had to come in and implement his style with a group of players that weren’t his. But he’s now worked with them for over 18 months and got rid of those he didn’t want and brought in some of those he feels can improve the side. Now we’re starting to see the fruits, and we’ve seen the direction is upwards.”