Jose Mourinho has called on Tottenham’s players to “care and fight” for the remainder of the season after Thursday’s humbling defeat at Sheffield United.
Spurs are now seven points behind fifth place, which is likely to be enough to qualify for the Champions League because of Manchester City’s European ban. In-form Manchester United are currently fifth, while Chelsea, Wolves, Sheffield United and even Arsenal all look stronger than Tottenham as things stand.
The Blades eased past Spurs in the end at Bramall Lane, though the Londoners were hard done by when Harry Kane’s first-half equaliser was disallowed because of a questionable Lucas Moura handball in the build-up.
Mourinho’s men failed to recover mentally from the incident and didn’t create any meaningful chances until Kane’s late consolation, leading the Tottenham manager to send a message about mentality to his players after the game.
“It’s very easy to motivate myself because it’s my nature,” Mourinho said in his press conference (via the London Evening Standard). “I always say when a professional player needs an external motivation source, then he is in trouble. The motivation should be self-motivation, directly related to your professionalism, directly related with respect for your job, your club, the fans.
“That is the most important thing. The manager can just help but the nature of the player as a professional is the most important.
“Clearly if these boys don’t care about results and don’t care about the position we finish at the end of the season we’ll be in big, big trouble for the future. So I hope that they care and fight for the best position in the table for the end of the season.”
Spurs’ resilience was also questioned during Mauricio Pochettin’s time in charge despite the Argentine reaching a Champions League final. Mourinho will hope to go one further than his predecessor by winning silverware in the future – if he’s given time.