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Jan 25, 2020 at 3pm UK at ​St Mary's Stadium
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Ralph Hasenhuttl reveals "running gag" at Jose Mourinho's expense at Southampton

Ralph Hasenhuttl reveals
© Reuters
Boss Ralph Hasenhuttl says his staff took the insult from Tottenham's manager with good humour.

Ralph Hasenhuttl has revealed that Jose Mourinho branding Southampton goalkeeping coach Andrew Sparkes an "idiot" became a running joke among his staff.

Tottenham manager Mourinho grabbed headlines with his barbed comments about Sparkes following a surprise 1-0 Premier League loss to Saints on New Year's Day.

The Portuguese could face a frosty reception from home fans on Saturday when he returns to St Mary's for an FA Cup fourth-round tie.

Saints boss Hasenhuttl, who has repeatedly spoken of his admiration for Mourinho, feels no animosity towards his fellow coach and revealed the controversial incident has provided a source of humour.

"I don't think so, it's emotion, they are part of the game," replied the Austrian when asked if he expected the argument to resume.

"Jose is a fantastic guy and Andrew is also a fantastic guy.

"It was a running gag after the game, also in our office, but he is a good guy and I think this is normal sometimes in a game, that emotions are coming up.

"But don't hang it too high, I think."

Mourinho received a yellow card from referee Mike Dean after a touchline altercation with Sparkes.

His frustration boiled over due to perceived time-wasting from Southampton as he watched Tottenham labour in defeat and lose star striker Harry Kane to a long-term injury.

Speaking immediately after the game, the former Chelsea and Manchester United boss said: "I think the yellow card is fair because I was rude, but I was rude to an idiot."

That impressive win for resurgent Saints, secured by an early Danny Ings strike, is part of a run of seven victories from 11 top-flight games which have propelled the south coast club away from relegation danger.

Hasenhuttl hopes to see a handshake between Mourinho and Sparkes ahead of the rematch.

"Yeah, maybe, yes," he said.

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