Football

100 goals not bad for a negative team: Jose Mourinho

Spurs manager aims jibe at detractors after reaching century mark this season

Tottenham Hotspur's 4-1 win over Crystal Palace yesterday morning (Singapore time) has given manager Jose Mourinho a perfect chance to have a dig at his critics.

A brace each by Gareth Bale and Harry Kane at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium not only helped Spurs secure their third straight win in the Premier League, but also made them only the second club in Europe's big five leagues to reach 100 goals in all competitions this season.

Mourinho, who found himself under scrutiny as Spurs suffered five defeats in six league games before this three-match winning run, could not help but aim a jibe at his detractors.

"If the stats I was given are correct - 100 goals scored in the season, which for a very defensive team, a very negative team, is not bad," Mourinho said.

The only other club in Europe's big leagues to reach 100 goals in all competitions is Bayern Munich (106).

Tottenham have risen to sixth on 45 points - just two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea ahead of the Blues' clash with Everton this morning.

Mourinho's men have a Europa League last-16 tie against Dinamo Zagreb on Friday morning, followed by a North London Derby against Arsenal barely three days later.

There is also a League Cup final to look forward to next month as their season comes back to life.

"It was a good week for us. Three matches, nine points, and for next week when we play a crucial match in the Europa, and against Arsenal, nothing could be better for us than to win nine points this week," Mourinho said.

Bale scored after 25 minutes but Christian Benteke's header earned Palace an equaliser on the stroke of half-time.

A few weeks ago, that might have knocked the stuffing out of Mourinho's side, but they responded with Bale restoring their lead before Kane struck with a sublime goal and then wrapped it up with a header from Son Heung-min's assist.

"It looks a silly to say but I'm happy with the goal we conceded," said Mourinho.

"My feeling in the 10 minutes of the first half was that if we finished 1-0, then maybe we would start the second half the same way.

"We lost a little bit of the hunger and desire to attack. Gareth and Harry scored some incredible goals. Harry's first one was magnificent."

Mourinho added that Bale has recovered from the "psychological scars" of previous injuries .

The Welshman, 31, rejoined Spurs from Real Madrid on a season-long loan last September, after enduring his worst season in Spain in 2019-20 with three goals in all competitions.

He had a slow start to life back at Spurs due to a knee problem and a lack of first-team football, but has rediscovered his form with six goals in the last six games for the club.

BALE'S SCARS

"I found psychological scars," Mourinho said. "When you have a couple of seasons with lots of injuries, I think it is not about the muscular scars but the psychological scars - that brings fears and instability.

"There is a moment when you are working very well and everyone around you is giving everything we can give, there is a moment where that psychological barrier has to be broken.

"And he broke it. It was him, not us. We just supported him." - REUTERS

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