Jose Mourinho confirmed that Tottenham’s preseason preparations were hampered by multiple players testing positive for the coronavirus and believes the situation contributed to their 1-0 defeat against Everton.
Reports in France suggested that Tanguy Ndombele tested positive for the virus and although Mourinho refused to confirm the identity of the players involved, the 57-year-old claimed his squad had been compromised when discussing why Spurs lacked the requisite intensity on Sunday.
“Look, Harry Kane trained with us once,” he said. “Once. [Moussa] Sissoko, a couple [of times]. I am not going player by player but for different reasons many of our players didn’t have a proper preseason.
“We had cases of positive COVID. Of course, we have the right not to say which players were but we had players with positive COVID. We had other players with quarantine due to the proximity with positive players. We had a player in quarantine because he was on holiday in the country which England implements quarantine.
“We had many of them, they went to the national teams so the preseason was a difficult preseason for many of the players. I couldn’t expect them to be sharp, intense, agile. But I was expecting much more individually and much more collectively.
Mark Ogden thinks James Rodriguez showed great control and vision as Everton won 1-0 away at Tottenham.
“It disappoints me and that’s where I have now to work. Again, I can complain about the free-kick but I couldn’t coach referees. I can coach, I can train my players to deal with these crosses. It doesn’t matter the position where it is.”
Mourinho added that Tottenham have little time to rectify their issues in training given Sunday’s match marks a potential run of nine games in 22 days.
“The players who didn’t have a preseason, we don’t have now the possibility to have a preseason but we have lots of matches to play consecutively, and we have to use these matches not just to try to win them, and the knockout ones are obviously decisive matches, and try to improve the form of some players because some of them were in trouble.
“You can look to [Spurs debutant Matt] Doherty, a player who is normally in an incredible condition, he didn’t have a preseason. He went direct from holidays to national team matches. Not one single training session. He played two consecutive matches and today he was not Matt Doherty like he normally is, so these are the things that we knew could happen to us.”
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live’s Rob Nothman after the match, Mourinho also scoffed at an accusation that his was the poorer side in the first half.
“What is possession? Goal, goals, goals. And shots. We were poor, not good enough at all, but you also are not good enough in your analysis.
“They scored the goal in the second half and we were poor in creating chances and were not aggressive enough. In attack we looked tired, lots of players did not look sharp and we lacked intensity, sharpness and creativity. After the goal, they were the best team.
“You stay with the possession in the first half. I will stay with the two amazing saves from Pickford.”