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keano rant 'I have huge respect for Roy' - Jose Mourinho responds to Keane's Tottenham jibes

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Jose Mourinho knows Harry Kane wants to win trophies (John Walton/PA)

Jose Mourinho knows Harry Kane wants to win trophies (John Walton/PA)

Jose Mourinho knows Harry Kane wants to win trophies (John Walton/PA)

Jose Mourinho has side-stepped a question asking him to respond to Roy Keane's claim that he is managing an 'average' squad at Tottenham this season.

Keane was involved in a heated on-air row with Jamie Redknapp about the quality of Tottenham's squad last Sunday, yet Spurs manager Mourinho has refused to be drawn into the debate.

Sky Sports pundit Redknapp looked a little stunned as he fended off a passionate argument from Keane, who suggested Harry Kane and Son Heung-min were the only Spurs players who would get into a top six team.

I think Tottenham have got so many average players," declared Keane, who singled out Ireland full-back Matt Doherty amid his rant.

"We talk about the pressure Spurs have on them to get in the top four, but if you take Kane and Son out of that team, Spurs are an average Premiership team and I’m being polite.

"I think Spurs were better two or three years ago with (Kieran) Trippier, (Christian) Eriksen and when (Dele) Alli had the hunger. Spurs are good on their day, like lots of teams. Jamie makes the point there that they’ve got lots of internationals.

"If you trap the ball, you’re going to play for your country. If you don’t play for your country now, you are a bad player.

"Playing for your country doesn’t make you a good player. If you can trap a ball you can play for your country these days. It doesn’t make you a top player. (Eric) Dier has been giving goals away every week, last week he gave a goal away."

Now Mourinho has been asked to give his verdict on the discussion and while the Spurs boss has often been keen to engage in such debates, he was keento avoid the topic ahead of his side's game against Fulham on Thursday.

"You know, I didn’t watch it. It’s not for me to comment on the pundits’ opinions," said Mourinho.

"I have huge respect for Roy. I love to work with him when I was at Sky, but independent of that, a winner like he is, I have lots of respect for Roy, and for his job as a pundit.

"But I'm not going to make any comments. Because if I do that, probably I will be asked week after week with other people."

Mourinho also gave his verdict on why Gareth Bale has taken so long to reach the levels of performance he has produced in last two weeks, with the Welsh forward finally living up to his billing after a slow start to his loan spell from Real Madrid.

"Why for the past two years he had what he had in Madrid," added Mourinho. "Maybe if they answer to you, you can understand better why it took a while, or maybe to be patient was the main reason for him to reach the level that he showed in the last couple of weeks.

"Of course the plan is to get the best out of the players. The plan is always for the players to always give everything they have to the team. The team is the most important thing and the team needs top players to perform. So, of course that's the plan, that's always been the plan since day one."

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