Jose's verdict on Liverpool
Sat 11 January 2020, 21:14|Tottenham Hotspur
Jose Mourinho could only speak positively after the team’s performance against champions-elect Liverpool on Saturday. There was just one thing missing - the result - as we suffered a 1-0 defeat at the new stadium.
With Academy graduate Japhet Tanganga impressing on his Premier League debut, the players gave everything, piling on the pressure searching for an equaliser in the second half.
Two late gilt-edged opportunities came our way, but Heung-Min Son skied his effort after Giovani Lo Celso won possession and then Gio slid just wide after a fine ball across goal from Serge Aurier.
We eventually edged attempts on goal 14-13 but the key stat was Roberto Firmino’s goal on 37 minutes, the game’s decisive moment taking Liverpool 16 points clear with a game in hand on second-placed Leicester.
“Apart from the result, so many positives,” said Jose. “Sometimes football is cruel and today was one of those days. The boys gave absolutely everything and Liverpool, on top of being a fantastic football team, today they can say they are a lucky team.
“We created chances and started creating chances when we felt the game was completely under control.
“When Liverpool have games broken is when they kill opponents. We never let that happen. We were always very solid and then we felt we had to have a real go with players like Lamela, who hasn’t started a game for three or four months, we put everything in, fantastic effort, great individual performances, for some players, it was their best performances since I arrived, absolutely good performances.
“We did what was possible to do and we deserved much more than this, so disappointed with the result, but proud of the boys.”
After a busy spell over Christmas and New Year, Toby Alderweireld - captain for the first time - pointed to the week’s training under the players’ collective belts making a difference. That has been a rarity in Jose’s short time at the Club.
Jose added: “We trained properly, the boys knew what they had to do and the only frustration from the game is that we conceded a goal from a throw-in, and yesterday (Friday), we spent half-an-hour on defensive throw-ins.
“I don’t know if the boys were disappointed because the throw-in was our throw-in and became their throw-in, I don’t know if there were a couple of seconds where it’s ‘my ball’ and now a throw-in against us, but that’s a bit of a frustration.
“Apart from that, they were fantastic, and without a striker, without a number nine, we managed to create situations and arrive in many situations. I saw the ball in the net a few times, so it’s a pity.”
The last word belonged to Japhet, 20, who performed so well at right-back in a back four and then shifted to left-back for the final 20 minutes when Danny Rose was replaced.
“In spite of the result, I think a bottle of champagne for him and everybody in the Academy who worked with him in the years of his formation,” said Jose. “I’m really proud of the kid and I know that everyone in the Club is happy, because he showed composure, very good personality and playing Salah and Mane is not the same thing as the players you play in the Under-19s, and the kid was very, very good. A game for him to remember, of course, the result to forget.”