Jose Mourinho revealed to talkSPORT he cried and prayed after seeing Christian Eriksen collapse during Denmark’s Euro 2020 game against Finland.
In horrifying scenes, the Inter Milan midfielder fell to the floor during the first half of the match in Copenhagen on Saturday evening and required CPR before being stretchered off the pitch and taken to hospital.
Denmark team doctor Morten Boesen has since confirmed Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest and declared ‘he was gone’ prior to being resuscitated.
The 29-year-old is continuing his recovery in hospital in Copenhagen, where he remains in a stable condition, and has sent a positive message to his Denmark and Inter teammates as he begins the road to recovery.
Mourinho, who managed Eriksen at Tottenham for almost three months before the player left for Italy in January 2020, opened up to talkSPORT on his reaction to the shocking incident.
“It was much more important than football but at the same time I believe that it also showed the good values of football. The love, the solidarity, family spirit. It was not just about his family, it was about the football family. Football bringing people together.
“I prayed yesterday, I cried yesterday, but how many millions did it around the world? I believe many because football can bring people together.
“Yesterday, for the wrong reasons football brought people together, and at the end we can celebrate Christian is alive.
“Of course, I didn’t speak with him but I spoke with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg this morning and Pierre is very positive about Christian.
“The news is good, so I think it’s a moment to celebrate.”
Meanwhile, Tottenham’s Hojbjerg later revealed how he reacted to the nightmare unfolding before him as his Denmark teammate fought for his life.
“I saw Christian lying there and looking towards the field. His eyes were white and I thought it looked very strange,” he said.
He revealed he had spoken to Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who was on the pitch at the time of Eriksen’s collapse, and insisted we should salute his survival and the way football united to show their support for the Dane.
The serial-winning manager, part of talkSPORT’s Euros coverage this summer, said: “Today I cannot stop thinking about what happened yesterday. I think it’s a day to celebrate, not to be sad.
“Hopefully football went in a direction where the organisation, the protocols the level of the doctors and the specialists, and I also believe God was looking at football in that moment. Everything together made Christian to be with us, to be with his family, to be alive.
“I saw [Denmark captain] Simon Kjaer rush off, and then you start thinking what it is. I walked slowly across the bench.
“More and more first aiders came over, and I could see Simon waving his arms. I stood for a long time with the coaches and talked, and I could see that there are some arms that move with the first aid. That was creepy.”
The match later resumed, with Finland going on to win 1-0 and Hojbjerg missing a penalty.
Peter Schmeichel has claimed Denmark’s players – his son Kasper among them – did not want to finish the match but were left with little choice by UEFA.