Mourinho not anticipating January business as he questions 'unprofessional' Fulham postponement

By Patric Ridge 2 January 2021 41
Mourinho not anticipating January business as he questions 'unprofessional' Fulham postponement

Jose Mourinho does not expect Tottenham to do much business in the January transfer window, while he was left frustrated by the postponement of Wednesday's scheduled match with Fulham.

Spurs brought in Matt Doherty, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Joe Hart, Sergio Reguilon, Gareth Bale, Carlos Vinicius and Joe Rodon in the last transfer window, as Mourinho aimed to bolster his squad.

An 11-match unbeaten run following an opening day defeat to Everton seemingly put Spurs in the title race, though two successive losses and a draw in their previous three outings has seen Mourinho's team drop off the pace.

Dele Alli and Harry Winks have both been linked with moves away from Tottenham, but Mourinho insists he is not expecting the club to be busy this month.

"Not expecting, no. Times are not easy," he told a news conference ahead of Saturday's clash with in-form Leeds United.

"The club made a big effort in the summer to try and build a good squad. Honestly, if something good happens to us it will be a big surprise for me.

"I don't feel the right to ask for something. One thing is to analyse, which of course I do. One thing is to commit to the analysis and write a report and be committed to that, which of course I do, because I have to be professional.

"Another thing is to demand, which I never do, and another thing is to ask [for a player], which I never do, because I respect the effort that the club has made."

Spurs do now have a game in hand following the postponement of their clash with Fulham, which was cancelled just hours before kick-off due to a coronavirus outbreak in the Cottagers' squad.

It is a decision that left Mourinho frustrated.

"I don't want to speak too much about it, just to say that it felt unprofessional, but that's the way it is, that's the way it was," he said.

"We were preparing ourselves for that match. Of course, we didn't play, and that is disruptive of what is a week of work.

"The training sessions before that, they would be different if we weren't going to play that game. People can say it is good that we didn't play.

"It would be good for me if we didn't play and I knew that we don't play, because then I could have a different cycle in the training sessions. But not to play, not to train how we would like in the days before, of course it doesn't help."

Asked if an element of fairness has been lost amid the disruption, Mourinho said: "It's a special season with special circumstances. I think we have to say that it is going to be fair. If we don't say that, it is better not to be involved, but I believe that even from before the season started, it was immediately in the wrong way.

"To start the season with clubs having a match in hand is immediately a wrong start, and the season started in September and only in the last week of December were we informed about when these matches would be played.

"Now it is not about just these matches, but a few more. There are lots of things that are not right, but it is what it is, what is possible to have. We have to say it's fair."

𝗖𝗢𝗠𝗘 𝗢𝗡 𝗬𝗢𝗨 𝗦𝗣𝗨𝗥𝗦!#THFC  #COYS pic.twitter.com/4TgFsIMLfS

 

— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 1, 2021

SKRINIAR THE SOLUTION FOR SPURS?

If Spurs were to move into the transfer window in January, then what areas of their squad would be the priority?

Spurs had just three attempts on target against Wolves, with their last coming in the 21st minute, but they have plenty of attacking talent. Vinicius was signed as a back-up to Harry Kane in 2020, though has played just 12 minutes of Premier League football. The Brazilian has netted three times in five Europa League appearances, however.

Further support in the forward areas comes from Bale, though the Welshman has struggled for fitness so far.

Hojbjerg and a revitalised Tanguy Ndombele have impressed in midfield, and though Sami Khedira has been linked, perhaps the biggest need for Spurs is in defence.

Tottenham have now dropped nine points this season due to conceding goals in the last 10 minutes of matches, the most of any side in the Premier League.

Milan Skriniar was reportedly a target in the close season, and the Inter defender is a commanding, composed presence.

He has tallied up 24 clearances and 15 tackles – more than any other central defender in Inter's squad – in 10 Serie A games this season, while he ranks joint-fourth in the team for interceptions (11).

Those clearance numbers would rank him behind just four Spurs players, though Tottenham's tendency to sit deep and allow crosses into their box perhaps skews those figures.

Last season, with 39 tackles, Skriniar ranked behind only Marcelo Brozovic (67) in Inter's squad, and Stefan de Vrij for clearances (83 compared to 115).

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Patric Ridge

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