‘Same coach, different players’ – Mourinho backs his record, but is he right?
Tottenham leading and then dropping points has become a bit of a habit this season but, according to manager Jose Mourinho, it is not his fault.
The 58-year-old has earned a reputation as a master tactician and defensive-minded coach, but his Spurs side have now lost 15 points from winning positions this campaign after Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Newcastle.
Tottenham fell behind at St James’ Park through Joelinton’s precise finish, but Harry Kane’s double put them ahead, before on-loan Arsenal midfielder Joe Willock pounced on a loose ball to earn Newcastle a point with an 85th-minute strike.
So, who is to blame for letting leads slip?
“Same coach, different players,” was Mourinho’s response when BBC Radio 5 Live reporter Juliette Ferrington pointed out his teams are usually good at defending leads.
The latest setback saw them miss out on climbing back into the top four – and a Champions League qualification spot – for the first time since 2 January, after Chelsea’s defeat by West Brom.
Eleven of those 15 dropped points have been lost in the final 10 minutes of games – the most of any side in the Premier League – while the north London side have also failed to win six games in which they led at half-time, again the most in the league.
So how does that compare with Mourinho’s time at other Premier League clubs?
His side only need to drop one more point from a winning position for it to be the worst season in that regard – with his 2014-15 Chelsea side also dropping 15 points.
During his initial three-year spell at Stamford Bridge, which covered 120 games, he only dropped 14 points from winning positions. His Manchester United side dropped 18 in just over two seasons.
Asked if he has more work to do with Spurs’ players, Mourinho said: “I don’t think so. We work well, we work hard.
“But there are mistakes which I probably shouldn’t even call mistakes because they are related to qualities that players have.
“Looking at the second goal, it’s easy to understand because there’s three different moments – the cross, the ball at the far post where they won it, and then the ball in the face of the goal where our two centre-backs were in position. You can analyse it easily.”
And speaking to Match of the Day, Mourinho added: “It’s not just about the defensive mistakes that lead to goals. We have situations where we have the ball and I know already the ball is going to end with [keeper] Hugo Lloris.
“That’s the way we sometimes create instability to ourselves.”