Jose Mourinho insists he wouldn’t swap Giovani Lo Celso for Bruno Fernandes despite the former Tottenham target’s impressive start to life at Manchester United.
Tottenham held talks with Sporting Lisbon over a deal for Fernandes last summer before securing the capture of Lo Celso from Real Betis, the latter signing on a season-long loan deal before making a permanent switch to north London.
Fernandes subsequently signed for Manchester United during the winter window and has enjoyed a sensational start to his career in the Premier League, establishing himself as the club’s chief creative threat scoring five goals and providing three assists in just eight league appearances.
Mourinho, however, says he has no regrets over the club’s failure to capture his compatriot during Mauricio Pochettino’s reign at the club, admitting he wouldn’t swap Lo Celso for any player were he given the opportunity.
“I don’t know anything about that,” he told Sky Sports. “But if that is true, and if Giovani Lo Celso was the player that came to Spurs [instead of Bruno Fernandes], then I would say I wouldn’t change Giovani Lo Celso for any player.
“[I wouldn’t swap Lo Celso] for any player. It’s not just for Bruno, but for any player.”
Lo Celso has shown promise for Spurs this season despite a limited tangible output and injury problems, and Mourinho believes the Argentina international will continue to improve after impressing since his arrival as the club’s new manager.
“I came to the club and he wasn’t playing,” he continued. “I think the only match he started was Red Star Belgrade away in the Champions League – apart from that he was not playing.
“When I arrived I went in other directions and he did exactly what I love a player to do: ‘I’m going to show you’.
“[There was] no spoiled kid reactions, no crying, no moaning, no agents and family throwing messages to the press and to the social media. It was just between him and me: ‘I’m going to show you’, and he showed me step-by-step.
“The way he was working every day, the way he was coming to matches, the way he was changing matches.
“I remember the match against Liverpool: he was on the bench, he came on for the last half-an-hour and he changed the game. The only thing that didn’t happen was us changing the result because we were so unlucky, but he changed the game.
“When he had his first start: ‘Goodbye, I give you no chance and this place is mine’. In this moment, what people can see from him is an injured player playing, or a player that during the week is not working like the others.
“He’s working with lots of different conditions to try to play and to try to resist until the end of the season so what you see from Gio now is not the end product – he’s a fantastic player for us.”