Jose Mourinho has dismissed suggestions he is under mounting pressure as Tottenham head coach and insisted he can still end the club’s 13-year trophy drought this season.
Mourinho lost back-to-back league home games for the first time in his career and having led the table on Dec. 6, they now sit in eighth place, 14 points adrift of leaders Manchester City.
Spurs now face a scramble to get into the Champions League places given they are seven points adrift of fourth-placed Liverpool but Mourinho pointed out the upcoming EFL Cup Final against City in April when asked whether he was feeling the heat.
“I put pressure on myself every day,” he told a news conference on Friday. “I don’t need others to pressure on me. I put pressure on myself every day. So, since 2012 without three defeats in a row? Correct? Since when without a title? Maybe I can give one.”
Spurs have not won any silverware since the League Cup in 2008 but of more immediate concern is arresting the slump in their league form, starting with Sunday’s home game against West Brom.
Tottenham badly missed captain Harry Kane in attack and, with the striker unlikely to recover from his ankle problems until Wednesday’s FA Cup fifth round clash against Everton at the earliest, Mourinho urged other players including back-up forward Carlos Vinicius to fill the void.
“It is always the old story of a team is not a player, it cannot depend on a player, other players have to step up,” he said. “That’s the reality of things but there are players that are special in the different teams and even the biggest teams in the world, when ‘Player X’ is not there, they miss him.
“We can have many examples of what these players mean for certain teams and for sure, Harry is very important for us. He leads, he creates, he has dynamics of closed eyes with Sonny [Son Heung-Min] for example but of course, other guys have to step up,
“To be honest, Vinicius tried his best… I am happy with him. Period. I don’t want to say much more. I am happy with his effort.
“The other guys, apart from Sonny, we know they are not goalscorers. They are not the kind of players that as attacking players, they can score eight, 10, 12 goals a season. We know that these are not their characteristics. So we have to fight with what we have. Against West Brom without Harry Kane, we have to win that match.
“It is a big game for West Brom because they need a victory. They need points, they need to survive. They need to get out of where they are. It is a big game for us because we need to leave the position where we are, which is not a dramatic position as theirs is but a very bad position for us.
“We need to break the dynamic of three defeats. It is very important but the reality is until the end of the month, we have great motivations in front of us. Europa League is something that since the beginning we put a lot on.
“I cannot forget that we had to play how many games to qualify for the group phase, games with two days in between, travelling around Europe to do it. The team is waiting for that and maybe the squad needs that.
“But let’s focus on West Brom because it is the next match and after three defeats we have to win, we cannot even think a different thing.”