Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham host the reigning champions Liverpool on Thursday, as Spurs try to pile on more misery for Jurgen Klopp’s side, who have not won in their last five Premier League matches.
Spurs are unbeaten in the Premier League since their defeat to Leicester City in December, and progressed to FA Cup fifth round after defeating a spirited Wycombe side. Speaking ahead of the Liverpool game, Mourinho provided updates on transfers and Liverpool’s form.
On Dele Alli’s situation
Alli has been in the news since former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino’s appointment at PSG in December. The Spurs forward has struggled to earn a place in Mourinho’s side, and has managed to make just four Premier League appearances this season.
Speaking on Alli’s potential departure, Mourinho said “I am saying that since the beginning of the transfer window, I was not expecting anyone to leave, I was not expecting anyone to come.”
“At January 27, not long until the end, I don’t believe anything is going to happen. Football is football. The transfer window is open, sometimes unexpected things happen, but I don’t expect it.”
“The transfer window is open, anything can happen until the last second. But I am convinced nothing is going to happen. If something happens, it would be a huge surprise.”
On Ndombele’s progress
Ndombele has been a revelation under Jose Mourinho this season after having fallen out of favour with the Portuguese last season. The Frenchman has scored three goals for Spurs in the Premier League, and Mourinho believes the improvement is due to Ndombele’s responsibility.
Speaking on his midfielder, Mourinho said “Was him, his responsibility. We always showed him the right way and demand a lot from him. If I did anything positive with him I believe it was not to play him when he was not in real conditions to play. I believe that we used some of matches last season to expose his fragilities at the time.”
On Liverpool’s poor league form
The reigning champions have failed to win in their last five league games, and have not scored in their last four. A poor run of results have seen Liverpool slump to fifth position in the table, a point above sixth placed Tottenham.
Mourinho dismissed suggestions that Liverpool’s recent form could be an advantage to Tottenham. The Tottenham manager added “No. I don’t feel that at all. Playing Liverpool is playing Liverpool, independent of all the context.”
“I don’t feel it is an advantage, I don’t feel it is a disadvantage. Simple.“
“Would anyone expect Liverpool to have a similar run to last season when winning, winning and winning non stop? I would not expect that as what they did was so difficult. And to win it the second time in the same way is even more difficult. But to win the title again I think they believe they can and I believe that is what they really want.”
“Everybody had difficult periods, some early, some later, some in the middle. Liverpool had that difficult period where the results were not going in their direction. But the coach is the same and the team is the same.”
On Liverpool’s centre-back situation
Having lost Virgil van Dijk early in the season due to a long term injury, Liverpool had to cope with injuries to their other centre-backs – Joe Gomez and Joel Matip. Jurgen Klopp has been enforced to play Fabinho as a centre-back, along with different compatriots over the past few weeks.
Mourinho admitted its hard to replace Van Dijk, but insisted Liverpool have talented players to play in different positions when required. The Spurs manager added “There are some players you cannot replace.”
“We played half of last season without any attacking players. You cannot replace Harry Kane. You cannot replace Van Dijk. You can only replace Van Dijk with Van Dijk when Van Dijk is back.”
“They have good players, they have experienced players. Fabinho, he can play everywhere. Joel Matip is back, experienced player. Jordan Henderson is another guy that with his experience and knowledge of the game, he can play everywhere too.”
“And then they have also a couple of young players that they did OK. Sometimes it happens to clubs. Some players are really impossible to replace and you have to wait until they’re back and that’s what’s happening with Van Dijk.”