Tottenham players have been shocked by Jose Mourinho’s public fitness session.
While they accept he was trying to do the right thing, senior players are frustrated it sent the wrong message while the whole of the country is in the middle of lockdown.
They believe it is vital that footballers observe the rules and set a strong example because many fans look up to them and follow their lead so a training session in a public place is a terrible own goals.
Spurs boss Mourinho has been keen to work with Tanguy Ndombele and it would be hard to imagine a player in that situation declining the manager’s offer.
But it looked even worse after Davinson Sanchez and Ryan Sessegnon started running side-by-side in Hadley Common with all of the players living nearby.
Mourinho and his coaching staff have been taking regular training sessions via a video link but the Portuguese has found it difficult to switch off because he is so determined and intense.
Mourinho was already facing pressure even before the virus as he battles to turn the club’s fortunes around and get them into the top four places.
He knows he must keep the players onside while the club will face a difficult task of rebuilding the squad with limited funds moving forward because of the coronavirus crisis.
This could be a major test for Mourinho and he is clearly itching to get back to work which perhaps explains his impromptu training session.
But Mourinho’s statement admitting he got it wrong will serve as a wake-up call but is also yet another own goal for the club which is enduring a PR disaster during the coronavirus lockdown.
Tottenham have placed its staff non-playing staff on furlough but that came despite it being announced chairman Daniel Levy was paid £7m last year, including a £3m bonus for delivering the stadium on time.
Levy has pushed through the furlough scheme for 550 non-playing staff and, while other clubs have made up the difference to ensure staff are paid in full, they have not done that.
It has caused a fierce backlash against Tottenham and, in particular Levy, but the Spurs hierarchy have no intention of reversing their decision despite criticism of wealthy football clubs dipping into the Government scheme when it was brought in to save ailing companies and employees.
MPs have spoken out against football and Liverpool reversed their decision to furlough staff which has only intensified the criticism aimed at Tottenham.
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