Jose Mourinho has revealed that he is “very upset” never to have managed Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic, despite their paths almost crossing multiple times.
The incoming Roma boss has been in charge at all of Kovacic’s previous clubs – besides Dinamo Zagreb – but never managed to be at the same club as the 27-year-old at the same time.
And Mourinho even joked that Kovacic would be off to Tottenham next, where the Portuguese was sacked from last season.
Heaping praise on the Croat, Mourinho said on talkSPORT [via Metro ]: “Kovacic I always feel he's much better than what people think.
“And I am very upset with him because he played in every club I've been, but never with me!
“He played for Real Madrid, but not with me. He played for Chelsea, but not with me. He played for Inter, but not with me.
“So I love the guy and the guy followed my clubs… maybe he goes to Tottenham! Maybe he goes to Tottenham next season! But he never played for me.”
Can England beat Croatia on Sunday? Comment below
Kovacic will face off against England on Sunday in their opening Euro 2020 clash at Wembley.
Croatia go into the tournament as World Cup finalists, but few are predicting them to go as far this time out.
And Mourinho fired a warning to the Three Lions that Croatia’s midfield was still a very dangerous weapon.
“I think England is going to face probably one of the best midfields in the tournament,” he continued. “[Marcelo] Brozovic, [Luka] Modric, Kovacic for me is top of the tops.
“Brozovic in England we don't know him so well, fantastic player, very aggressive, great positioning, but at the same time good technique, good arrival in the box even coming from a more defensive position.
“Modric, we don't need to say anything.”
To counteract Croatia’s midfield, Mourinho believes Gareth Southgate needs to turn the game into a midfield battle, warning him not to go with a five-back system.
“When you play against such a strong midfield, it's there that you have to control.
“So why play with three at the back when their power is not there? Since Mandzukic finished, where is the top striker for Croatia? That's their problem.
“They have Perisic on the side, they have Rebic who plays around. [Their strength] is there in midfield.
“So for me [England] should play with two centre-backs, you don't need more than that, and you concentrate your midfield to play there.”
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