Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho surpassed himself yesterday morning as his defender passed something else entirely.
Mourinho helped another man go.
He delivered the world’s first motivational sports speech inside a toilet.
Remember Al Pacino’s turn as a bombastic NFL coach in Any Given Sunday or Sylvester Stallone’s “sunshine and rainbows” ode to his son in Rocky Balboa?
Neither of those classic speeches was performed to a toilet door.
But Mourinho did just that. He did his best work in the bog.
With Spurs 1-0 down in their League Cup tie against Chelsea yesterday morning (Singapore time), he evacuated the pitch as Eric Dier threatened to evacuate himself.
As the centre-back clutched his nether regions and waddled off like a penguin, Dier must have thought – not for the first time – that he really does have the worst surname in such circumstances.
Clearly, Dier had hoped to leave the pitch incognito, without drawing attention to himself or his exploding constitution. He needed his manager galloping after him like he needed the toilet to be another 50m away.
A sheepish Dier later said, “There was nothing I could do about it… Some things you can’t stop,” which made him sound more like the moderator at the US presidential debate.
He simply couldn’t help himself, finding it impossible to hold back this foul, fetid stuff in front of the cameras. But enough about the presidential debate, let’s get back to Dier.
Apparently, Mourinho followed his man into the bathroom like a panic-stricken father chasing a toddler’s trumpeting bottom through a supermarket.
At which point, a weird incident only got weirder.
According to Mourinho, he “went there to try to make it happen faster, to put pressure on him”.
Not literally, one hopes.
Already, the Portuguese manager has conjured unwanted images that are now impossible to erase. Was he banging on the door? Slipping toilet rolls through the gap? Kneeling on Dier’s back?
Or just repeatedly singing, “I like to move it, move it! Do you like to… MOVE IT!”
Naturally, Mourinho wasn’t quite done (and nor was his traumatised footballer by the sound of it).
“I was just pushing (Dier) to come back as soon as possible,” he said. Again, not literally, one hopes.
But a miracle was performed deep within the bowels of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Dier returned to the pitch in a matter of moments, slotted back into central defence, made a match-changing intervention, watched his team equalise and even scored the first penalty in Spurs’ victorious shoot-out.
Mourinho’s inspirational speech to a toilet door must have made Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King sound like a couple of old men bickering in a US presidential debate.
Any man reading this will know that interruptions are not generally appreciated during the act of passing anything inside a public toilet.
Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler once stood beside me in a urinal, said “hello” and I couldn’t pee for a week.
Imagine sitting on a toilet and trying to concentrate while a mad man with a Mediterranean accent rambles on about the pressing need to stop the runs of Cesar Azpilicueta.
And yet, somehow, miraculously, Dier managed to get the job done. He returned to the pitch happier, healthier and presumably emptier.
With a serious stomach complaint, he delivered what his manager later called a “superhuman” performance. At least, Mourinho seemed to say that.
What he actually said was Dier did “something not human”. We can only pity the stadium’s poor cleaners.
Of course, Mourinho was referencing Tottenham’s farcical fixture list. The League Cup win was Spurs’ fifth game in 13 days. The sixth game – the Europa League play-off against Maccabi Haifa – takes place tomorrow morning.
Spurs just keep going, a bit like… no, no, some of them should pass through.
But Dier’s herculean efforts left him dehydrated, having been the only outfield Tottenham player to complete the full 90 minutes against both Chelsea and Newcastle United last weekend. He will be rested against Maccabi Haifa.
The centre-back has made himself available for selection against Manchester United on Sunday. And Mourinho will make himself available for toilet breaks.
Indeed, the Spurs boss is currently giving his unique motivational talk to Dele Alli. The club want him to go as well – preferably to Paris Saint-Germain.
But credit must be given to the always unpredictable and reliably enigmatic Mourinho.
On paper, he’s still a decent coach. On toilet paper, he’s the best in the business.