November 24, (THEWILL) – Japan caused a major upset at the ongoing Qatar World Cup when they came from behind to beat Germany 2-1, and in response to a question regarding how that happened, Jose Mourinho claimed that there is a “big focus on egos” in European football.
The stunning victory was not “a crazy surprise” for the Roma manager because he said it was obvious that the Japanese players “do not play for themselves”, something he noted he learnt from Son Heung-min’s mentality in comparison to some European players, while coaching at Tottenham Hotspur.
He said: “I think in this moment in European football, there is a big focus on the individual, a big focus on egos. When I look to your profile as people, your profile as a country, I have never coached Japanese players, but I have coached Asian players.
“In my case, I was lucky because I have coached the best Asian player, [Son Heung-min], and I understand that the mentality is really special. The team is the most important thing. People play for the team, they do not play for themselves.”
He continued, focusing in particular on Japan’s triumph over Germany: “Of course, it is a fantastic achievement, but to be honest, it was not like a crazy surprise. Japan is a good team, it has good players, and it is getting experiences at these events. The majority of their players play in Europe, where they develop faster and they understand better what is the high-level game. I think the mentality of the players and the team can also make a difference.”