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  • By Yann Tear

Mourinho takes heart from Kane-less Spurs' display - and debutant Tanganga

Jose Mourinho praised his players for coming so close to being only the second side to avoid defeat to Liverpool all season in the Premier League.

Tottenham could not quite claw back the 1-0 half-time deficit against the league leaders, but pleased the boss for the way they shrugged off the absence of an injured Harry Kane and Moussa Sissoko to almost claim a draw.

“I think we tried everything,” Mourinho said. “We are speaking about probably the best team in the world in the maximum of its potential and we are a team with the difficulties that you know.

“I think we deserved more than what we got. I have only reasons to be proud with the players. For me lots of positives from the players – from a team in great difficulties in this moment without many solutions to compete against such a good opponent.

“Our plan was good. What we didn’t plan was to concede a goal, obviously, but we knew that without a striker [Harry Kane ruled out until April with a hamstring strain] but with creative players like Erik Lamela and Giovani Lo Celso, with 25-30 minutes, they could turn the game.

“So I think we did the maximum we could do.”

A big plus point for Spurs was the top flight debut of defender Japhet Tanganga – the 20-year-old holding his own against both Sadio Mane on the right flank and Mo Salah when he was switched to the left later on.

“He did well,” said the Spurs boss. “ I think the kid has reason to be happy with his debut. It couldn’t be a bigger one and he did amazingly, first on the right, then on the left. First Mane, then Salah and I think he was fantastic.

“I don’t want to take any credit from that. I work with him only for a couple of months, but I think the academy coaches, people that worked with him for so many years, it’s a good moment.

“It’s also a message for the kids in the academy that when player is the right player with the right attitude, with the right qualities, the opportunity arises.”

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