'I was rude to an idiot': Jose Mourinho's angry swipe at rival

Jose Mourinho has branded a rival coach an "idiot" after a fiery match that saw the veteran manager yellow carded.

Jose Mourinho said he was "rude to an idiot" to earn a "fair" yellow card in Tottenham's 1-0 defeat to Southampton on Wednesday.

The Spurs head coach was booked by referee Mike Dean after approaching the Southampton bench and leaning towards a home coach as he appeared to be making tactical notes.

Mourinho acknowledged he was right to be reprimanded but showed little remorse, hinting at an issue with the Saints coaching staff.

"I think the yellow card was fair, because I was rude," the Portuguese told a news conference. "But I was rude to an idiot.

"For some reason, I was rude. But I was. And because I was rude, I deserved the yellow card."

However, when it was put to Mourinho that he seemed to be reading his rivals' notes, he replied indignantly: "What? I don't know what to say."

Tottenham had a Harry Kane goal ruled out for offside following a VAR review and, although Mourinho admitted to not having seen a replay, the coach is unhappy with the current use of technology.

Spurs had benefited from a tight call when Norwich City striker Teemu Pukki was deemed offside as he netted in their match on Saturday.

"I think, at this moment, the referees are not the referees," he said. "I think VAR should change its name.

"Video assistant referee? That's not true. It should be VR - video referee - because they are the referees. It's strange. You see the referees on the pitch, and they're not the referees - they're the assistant referees.

Jose Mourinho called a member of Southampton's coaching staff an idiot after the match. Pic: Getty

"The other guys in the office are the ones that make the big decisions of the game."

He added: "This is going in a very bad direction - sometimes in our favour, like it was in Norwich, sometimes against us.

"But the direction is really, really wrong. I think the first step should be to change the name, VAR to VR - video referee. That's the way it is."

Kane injury gives Mourinho major headache

Of more pressing concern to Mourinho is the hamstring injury to Kane that looks set to rule his star striker out for a number of weeks.

The Spurs striker - their stand-in captain in the absence of Hugo Lloris - pulled up as he scored a goal against Southampton on New Year's Day that was subsequently ruled out for offside.

Kane had to be substituted, nursing his left hamstring, and Mourinho had not been updated on his status before his post-match news conference.

"It is negative. For Harry to come out is negative," he said. "The hamstring is always negative.

"Is it a tear? Is it a small thing? Is it a spasm, a contraction? At this moment, I cannot say."

Mourinho felt Kane's absence, with Son Heung-min suspended, was a particular hindrance to his side late on at St Mary's Stadium as they chased an equaliser having been trailing since Danny Ings' goal in the 17th minute.

"The game was not easy. The second half was not easy," he said. "They were winning, they were defending, basically with 10 players, fighting hard, being aggressive, the good aggressive.

"There were lots of fouls, lots of stoppages. The ball boys were well coached in the delaying of the game. There was not much play.

The injury to captain Harry Kane is concerning for Jose Mourinho's Tottenham side. Pic: Getty

"When we lose our target man Harry Kane, we know we don't have the part of the game where we are normally more dominant. We play the last 15 minutes plus added time without a striker. That is even more difficult."

Mourinho was similarly downbeat on the fitness of club-record signing Tanguy , who was substituted just 25 minutes into only his 10th Premier League start.

"He's always injured," Mourinho said. "He's injured, he's not injured, he plays one match, next week he's injured, he plays another match, we are full of hopes.

"This is it since the beginning of the season. Of course, it is a concern.

"You think you have a good player, you think he is in an evolution process, he plays very well against Norwich City, you are full of hopes that today he is ready for it.

"And he is not ready for it. I cannot say much more than that. It's a situation from the beginning of the season."

With agencies