Jose Mourinho was thrilled at Tottenham Hotspur’s response to a surprising setback last week in the Europa League, but also spoke at length about one of his scorer’s need to get fitter.
Spurs followed up an emphatic group stage-opening win over LASK Linz with a loss to Royal Antwerp in Belgium last week, and Thursday saw the North London outfit back to bright play with a 3-1 win over Ludogorets Razgrad in Bulgaria.
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Harry Kane and Lucas Moura set each other up for goals and Giovani Lo Celso put the game away at the hour mark following a Razgrad goal after halftime.
Mourinho was happy that his team tried to “kill” the game before halftime.
“We completely dominated and I don’t remember one single situation for them of danger,” Mourinho said. “That made a difference because in Antwerp we gave an advantage to the opponent and then when they were good they were winning. They closed everything the way they could and we couldn’t react.”
Impact sub! Son comes off the bench, sets up Giovani Lo Celso.
Tottenham have their two goal advantage again 💫 pic.twitter.com/cX9sBDFU18
— Champions League on CBS Sports (@UCLonCBSSports) November 5, 2020
As for the goal scorer Lo Celso, Mourinho didn’t keep his opinions close to the vest.
Lo Celso has made nine appearances for Spurs but only three have gone more than 45 minutes.
“Good with the ball and not very good without the ball,” Mourinho said of the Argentine. “His physical condition is not good. He didn’t have a preseason. During the lockdown during the previous season he had problems. He didn’t train in that period when other guys were training so he has been up and down in his preparation. So he’s been coming now, step-by-step.”
Mourinho said he’s waiting to see the player who impressed him last season, as fitness and a pair of minor injuries have cost the 24-year-old regular run in a team that looks like a contender.
“I feel that when he plays he’s not the Gio that we know, not the Gio that we know that he can be an amazing player. But with the ball of course great criteria and he knows what he’s doing of course, and understands the way we want to play. But we need more intensity to be fitter, to be more intense and to be stronger in the transitions.”
Spurs head to West Bromwich Albion on Sunday before the international break. Then it’s a huge visit from Man City on Nov. 21 to kick off a three-match league run that continues with Chelsea and Arsenal, all with UEL matches around them.
Lo Celso will be needed.