It’s pretty clear that Jose Mourinho doesn’t rate that Tottenham player pool, and that’s reflected in his comments after Tottenham were arguably second-best in a 2-2 draw with lowly Newcastle at St. James’ Park.
Spurs will finish the season taking just two points from Newcastle, who becomes the fourth team that Tottenham failed to beat this season (West Ham, Liverpool, Chelsea).
[ MORE: Three things from Newcastle – Tottenham ]
Suffice it to say the other three teams are in a different class than the Magpies, who led 1-0 through Joelinton and then overcame a 2-1 deficit when Arsenal loanee Joe Willock struck late.
While Jose Mourinho is left to deconstruct just how his team failed to produce more than a pair of Harry Kane goals while allowing two goals to a Newcastle team that had scored one of fewer in the previous six matches (no wins).
“I don’t really understand how or why we let it go,” said Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. “I’m annoyed that we don’t kill the game and don’t see it out.”
The problems for Tottenham are their mental mistakes, which usually aren’t plentiful as much as they are glaring and schoolboy.
Davinson Sanchez is having one of the worst seasons of a regular Spurs back in ages, and the club’s saving graces have been all the way up the pitch and way at the back. Harry Kane leads the PL in goals and Hugo Lloris has been terrific in goal.
The World Cup winner made four saves as Newcastle truly shocked anyone paying attention to their season.
Yes, the Magpies have twice beaten Everton and have now drawn Spurs twice, but consider:
- Newcastle’s 3.30 expected goals on Sunday was their best day of the year.
- The 3.30 xG on Sunday Is not far off the 5.05 xG the Magpies produced in their previous seven games combined.
- Newcastle had won two of its previous 18 league fixtures, losing 11 including two to Leeds and one each to Brighton, Sheffield United, and Palace.
- Tottenham allowed 22 shots to Newcastle, six on target; That’s equals a season-high for Newcastle, who’ve only taken 20+ shots thrice and average 10.3 shots per game (15th in PL).
“It’s a bad result,” Mourinho said, via Football.London. “I’m not being disrespectful with Newcastle but I think that is a match to win, so the result is not a good one. And the performance, if I analyze the performance separated from so many mistakes that lead to instability and instability leads to hope in the opposition, if I want to analyze separately from that, I think we were good, very good in some moments. A great period in the first half also a solid period in the second. I cannot do it. The game belongs to every moment and I cannot separate the game from these moments of instability and that’s the reason why we didn’t win the game because that instability also affects the ball possession, the way you build, the way you go to attacking situations, so that’s my view.”
But defensive errors have been the Achilles heel of Tottenham’s season, and it doesn’t take a tactical wizard to diagnose what went wrong on Joelinton’s back post smash and Willock’s late rescue.
Just ask Mourinho, who gave a damning verdict on the goals.
“We had chances to kill the game but we create instability to ourselves,” Mourinho said. “You don’t need me to analyz the goals we concede.”
“We could have scored a couple more, but in defensive situations we create instability with our mistakes – and instability brings hope to our opponent, and our opponent didn’t give up. I had the same feeling and I’m on the bench. It’s difficult to have the feeling of absolute control because I know that what happened can happen.”
Mourinho also lamented the ambition of his build-up play, as Newcastle’s high-press combined with some miserable passing from Tottenham in the midfield to keep the game in. the balance for Willock to level the score.
“We have situations where we have the ball and I know already the ball is going to end with Hugo Lloris,” Mourinho said. “That’s the way we sometimes create instability to ourselves. We gave the chance to the opportunity to push up.”