Return of the 'Special One' is a boost for the Premier League, says Burnley's Jack Cork

Burnley’s Jack Cork believes that Jose Mourinho’s return to management is a major boost for the Premier League.
Jose Mourinho and Dele Alli during the Premier League clash between Spurs and AFC BournemouthJose Mourinho and Dele Alli during the Premier League clash between Spurs and AFC Bournemouth
Jose Mourinho and Dele Alli during the Premier League clash between Spurs and AFC Bournemouth

The former Manchester United boss had been out of the game for 11 months - his longest stretch without work as a coach - when Spurs came calling on the back of Mauricio Pochettino’s shock exit.

And he’s already negotiated their passage through to the knockout stages of the Champions League as last term’s finalists overturned a two-goal deficit to beat Group B rivals Olympiakos, who were the Clarets’ adversaries in a Europa League play-off two seasons ago.

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Having also clocked up six points from his first three league games in charge, Cork said: “I think it’s great for the league.

Jack Cork battles with Club Americas German Villa in CaliforniaJack Cork battles with Club Americas German Villa in California
Jack Cork battles with Club Americas German Villa in California

“It’s a tough one because Pochettino was a great manager, he did a lot for that club, so it’s a shame to see him go.

“Mourinho will be great coming back in to the league, he’s a great character and a great manager, he’s won things before and it’ll make that top six and title race even more interesting.

“It might not happen this season because they’ve got a lot of catching up to do, but in the future it’ll be a great addition in the new stadium for Tottenham to push on.”

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Cork is more than familiar with Mourinho’s work. The Clarets midfielder was part of Chelsea’s youth system when, just short of his 15th birthday, the self-proclaimed “Special One” was introduced to England’s top flight for the very first time.

The one-time England international was being tutored by Brendan Rodgers at the club’s old training facility in Harlington - since upgraded to the Cobham Training Centre - when the former Barcelona assistant, who worked under Sir Bobby Robson, made his move to Stamford Bridge from Primeira Liga champions Porto.

And Cork clarified that the positivity transmitted by Mourinho on his arrival was felt by everybody associated with the Blues.

“I was in the youth team at Chelsea; it was when I signed my first schoolboy forms and he’d come in as manager then,” said the former Southampton and Swansea City man.

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“It was around the same time that [Roman] Abramovich came in and he brought a really good feel to the place.

“He had a good group of players, he brought in a lot of ambition and drive to do well and the players all bought in to it.

“It came through the whole set up; we signed a lot of players in the youth team that ended up doing well. It was just a really good group to be a part of and I really enjoyed it.”

The 30-year-old, who was selected to go on Chelsea’s pre-season tour of the United States in the summer of 2007, just months before Mourinho’s departure, added: “I was only a young kid, but he was top with me.

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“I went on one pre-season with them and he was great to be around. He was always trying to help and he had a good set up and the players bought in to everything he was saying.

“He was really helpful with all the kids and it was a good place to grow up and learn your trade.

“He was what you see on the tin, that’s what he’s like out on the pitch. I think Brendan [Rodgers] learned a lot from Jose and I can imagine they’re similar in a sort of way.

“With the way he worked he just tried to get you to believe in yourself and enjoy playing football.”

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Cork, who made his first appearance for the first team against Club América under Mourinho’s reign, is confident that the three-time Premier League winner, who added Serie A and La Liga titles to his collection, can once again become a big hit.

He said: “Mourinho has got that big sort of personality that the media like and it’ll be good to see how he does at Tottenham.

“The only time I felt he was a little bit different was when he was at Manchester United and we saw a different Jose to the two times that he’d been at Chelsea.

“Hopefully that will be the Jose that turns up at Tottenham and he returns to being the character that he was.”