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Spurs’ Mourinho quotes Mandela in discussing Man Utd return

Ajax v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Final

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - MAY 24: Jose Mourinho, Manager of Manchester United holds the trophy following victory in the UEFA Europa League Final between Ajax and Manchester United at Friends Arena on May 24, 2017 in Stockholm, Sweden. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

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Jose Mourinho is playing down his return to Manchester United, saying he hopes for a fine reception but is simply looking forward to the future with Tottenham Hotspur.

“This is a closed chapter for me,” he said. “I left the club and took my time to process everything that happened and to prepare myself for the next challenge. Manchester United for me is in my book of experiences. A little bit like Mr (Nelson) Mandela was saying: ‘You never lose. You win or you learn,’.”

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United is two points back of Spurs heading into Wednesday’s match at Old Trafford (Watch live at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Mourinho’s answering questions about his side’s future, too, with January nearing and Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, and Christian Eriksen amongst those who either are or might be angling for moves away from the club.

He said he’s spoken to club chairman Daniel Levy and the players about what’s next, and that he has no worries about playing them.

“The important thing, really, is [they are] great professionals, big relationship with Tottenham, amazing understanding of what the club is and what we need from them,” Mourinho said. “So, all three ready to play, all three ready to forget the contractual situation. And that’s the most important thing now because we’re in three competitions. And these boys are great players and Tottenham people. I trust them.”

Follow @NicholasMendola