Jose Mourinho has claimed that he can only be as good as his players allow him to be as his Tottenham side prepare to face West Ham on Sunday in the Premier League.
Mourinho led Spurs to a 4-1 over Austrian outfit Wolfsberg in the Europa League on Thursday, but as he looked ahead to Sunday’s clash at the London Stadium he insisted that he only has so much control over his team’s progress.
“We coaches are as good and as bad as our players make us,” he said in his pre-match press conference. “I think we depend a lot on them. Especially coaches with lots of experience and long histories. We went through every possible experience we get into a stage of our career where we feel much more stable, more able, realise with all the experience that we have that the ones who are really responsible for our career are the ones that play for us.
“Hopefully this weekend we can have a great performance and they can make me look good, because they are the ones who make us look good or bad!”
Mourinho’s record in London derbies is impressive, having won 40 out of 66, however his side threw away a 3-0 lead in the reverse fixture to draw 3-3, with Manuel Lanzini scoring a stunning injury-time equaliser to deny Spurs the three points.
“The first game against West Ham is a little bit of a reflection of our season and a reflection of some of our problems,” Mourinho added. “If we win that game, you would all say that we played amazingly well, which we did. We had an incredible first half, lots of quality. We played really well in that match, but we didn’t win. This is a reflection of many of our matches, we play well, we should win, but the final result is not a victory.
“I think the team played so well but made mistakes. If you want to go also to West Ham, to my first match when I arrived, it was a match that was not very different. We started very well, we dominated the game for 70-75 minutes, we were winning 3-0 and then we conceded two goals and we finished the game looking like we were in trouble.
“So this team many many times plays very very well, should get different results, but in the end by different results we don't get it.”
Harry Kane is expected to return after missing Thursday’s Europa League win, and there is also good news about Sergio Reguillion’s recovery. However, Giovanni Lo Celso will miss Sunday’s game.
“[Lo Celso is] not close. I think Reguillion next week against Wolfsberg, the home match, I think [he will be fit], but not Gio. Gio is still a few weeks to go. And of course we need him to give us lots of qualities and options and we are missing him for quite a long time.”
Spurs currently lie ninth in the Premier League, six points off the top four with a game in hand, but Mourinho isn’t worried about league positions just yet.
“Let’s go until the end and see what the table will give us, because in the end the table always gives you what you deserve. It is very premature to think about the finish of the table.
“People still have matches in hand. Okay, we already played two matches against Liverpool, two matches against Chelsea, two matches against Manchester City. There are other teams that didn’t play a second game against the top teams.
“We have a match in hand. Because Southampton has to play the quarter-final of the FA Cup on the weekend that we should play, I know already that we are not going to play that match. When are we going to play against West Ham? I don’t know, maybe 24 April, one day before the [League Cup] final! Who knows?
“It is very complicated but we have to fight and wait until the last match to see what happens because anything can happen. We can finish top four, top six, outside top six, we must make sure the best possible thing is going to happen.”
Tottenham are priced at 7/4 to beat West Ham with Betfred and kick off is at 12pm on Sunday.