Tottenham: Mourinho’s defiant response to pressure
Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has asked his players to take it upon themselves to fill the void left by talisman Harry Kane in their upcoming matches. The England captain injured both ankles against Liverpool last month and is expected to miss out on at least a few weeks of action as he continues his recovery.
Kane has played a huge role for Tottenham this season, helping to establish the club as Premier League title contenders with 12 goals and 11 assists in just 19 matches since the start of the campaign.
However, Spurs have experienced a dip in form since mid-December with the additional blow of Kane’s absence leaving the north London club’s dream of top-flight glory in ruins.
Mourinho’s side have failed to score since the defeat at Anfield, losing their last two games by a single goal against Brighton and Hove Albion and Chelsea respectively.
The charismatic Portuguese boss experimented with his attacking trident during both matches, fielding both Steven Bergwijn and Carlos Vinicius in Kane’s usual position but without success.
Ahead of Sunday’s meeting with strugglers West Bromwich Albion, Mourinho has urged his fit attackers to stand up and be counted as he targets an immediate return to form.
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“It’s always the old story,” he told reporters. “A team is not a player. A team cannot depend on a player. Other players, they have to step up.
“That’s the reality of things. But there are players that are special players in different teams. Even the biggest teams in the world, when Player X is not there, they miss him.
“We can have many examples of what these players mean for certain clubs, and for certain teams. And for sure Harry is very important for us.
“He leads, he creates, he has dynamics of closed eyes with Sonny for example. But of course, other guys, they have to step up to be honest.
“(Carlos) Vinicius tried his best against Chelsea, he couldn’t score his goal. I’m happy with him, period, I don’t want to say much more. I’m happy with his effort.
“The other guys, apart from Sonny, we know they are not goal scorers. They are not the kind of players that, as attacking players, they can score eight, 10, 12 goals in a season, you know that these are not their characteristics.
“So we have to fight with what we have and against West Bromwich, with Harry Kane, without Harry Kane, we have to go, we have to win that match.”
After facing the Baggies, Mourinho’s side will take on Everton in the FA Cup fifth round before a huge test against title hopefuls Manchester City next Saturday at the Etihad Stadium.
Spurs currently sit ninth in the Premier League, seven points adrift of fourth-placed Liverpool and 14 short of City, who are leading the way ahead of rivals Manchester United with a game in hand.
The club’s poor recent form has led to speculation surrounding Mourinho’s immediate future, with those at the top rumoured to be growing increasingly frustrated with his negative approach to games.
However, The Athletic has claimed that chairman Daniel Levy is taking a patient approach while Spurs are still technically in contention for all three available trophies.
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