Not confident? Then stay at home, Mourinho tells Spurs players
The odds are stacked against Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur side inflicting a first English Premier League loss on runaway leaders Liverpool on Sunday morning (Singapore time), but he says his team should stay at home if they don’t believe they can win.
Tottenham will be without leading striker Harry Kane for the visit of Liverpool who have won 19 and drawn one of their 20 league games so far and lead the table by 13 points.
Kane is ruled out until April with a hamstring tendon injury that requires surgery and Mourinho is also without midfielders Moussa Sissoko and Tanguy Ndombele, while goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is still out following elbow surgery.
Tottenham have won only once in their last four league games after initially enjoying a bounce when Mourinho replaced the sacked Mauricio Pochettino – hardly encouraging with the Liverpool juggernaut heading to north London.
“They are the best team in our competition, just to say that – I could say more,” Mourinho said of Liverpool. “It’s a big challenge for us to play them.
“We would prefer to play against them with everybody available, prefer to have more options.
“We have injuries but I have to focus on what we did in the week, concentrate on the effort and enthusiasm the boys put in this week and the motivation you need to play the best teams.
“If you are not confident, it’s better to stay at home. If you’re confident, it’s not going to be easy but, if you’re confident, you’re going with everything that you have and that’s what I want the boys to do, go with everything we have.”
Mourinho described Kane as “irreplaceable” and said Sissoko has been has been one of his “best performers” since taking over, but despite the setbacks, he prefers to look at the positives.
“Good news is that before the end of the month we have two new players, Hugo Lloris and Ben Davies. This is good news,” he said of the imminent return of goalkeeper Lloris, who has been injured since Mourinho took over, and left-back Davies who has made only one appearance in that period.
“I don’t want to speak about Harry because if I speak too much I get depressed, and then you say I’m miserable and in a bad mood. It’s better to speak about things that make me laugh.”
While Son Heung Min has performed admirably as a striker in Kane’s previous injury lay-offs, Mourinho said he will effectively be without a recognised forward against Liverpool.
“We don’t have another one. There is not a striker in the squad. We have only one, he is not fit, we don’t have another one,” Mourinho said.
Mourinho played down suggestions Tottenham could sign a replacement this month.
“January is a difficult market,” he said. “If the (chairman) arrives with a solution that can help us to face this difficult months ahead of us then it’s welcome.
“But if we don’t find the right solution the right opportunity then we are going to wait for next summer. Let’s be calm, my focus is totally on the players we have available.”
When he arrived at Chelsea in 2004, he used owner Roman Abramovich’s financial muscle to stunning effect. That is unlikely to happen at Tottenham who run a tighter ship.
“Of course, that was quite simple. Which one is the central defender that I want? That one. Thank you very much,” Mourinho said of his spending power at Chelsea.
Re-shaping Tottenham into his image, he says, will require more patience and he has ruled out gambling in January with players that might not improve the side.
“When I arrived the train was on the run,” he said. “It’s a situation I decided to accept and a situation where I have to give my best to improve. I didn’t expect Harry (Kane) and Moussa Sissoko and Ben Davies to be out with big injuries but it doesn’t change my approach to the situation.
“I think I have to go with more eyes on the future.” Mourinho pointed to the example of Liverpool at how transfer windows can transform a club.
“Liverpool needed a keeper and they got Alisson Becker, one of the best three in the world, the problem was resolved in one transfer window,” he said.
“It depends on the situation but we are a different club and have to do things in a different way. If you have amazing transfer windows you need less time.
“Balanced tranfer windows you need more time. We need more transfer windows because we are never going to be the transfer window kings.” – REUTERS