Mourinho: A point is fair but we played the game to win three
By Ben Pearce at Selhurst Park
Jose Mourinho says his Tottenham team were forced onto the defensive by Crystal Palace in the second half of Sunday’s 1-1 draw, and were not intending to sit on their lead.
After Harry Kane’s first-half opener at Selhurst Park, a Spurs side that had kept clean sheets in their four previous Premier League matches seemed happy to drop back and play for a 1-0 win.
But, after Jeffrey Schlupp bundled in an 81st-minute equaliser, Mourinho revealed he had called for very different tactics.
“At half-time I told the players exactly the opposite that we did in the second half,” he said. “But if they didn’t [do it], it was because they couldn't do it. I give credit to Palace for that.
“This is the kind of game where you need the ball, and it is the kind of game where you cannot accept a low block. “There are opponents when you can have a low block and be there for three hours, and they don’t hurt you.
“There are other opponents like Crystal Palace when you have a low block and they put the giants in the box. They look for pressure, second balls, rebounds, corners and lateral free-kicks - and you cannot accept that.
“We prepared a team not to do that and in the first half we did that very well. In the second half we didn’t, but I don’t want to blame the players, because they want to do it.”
Tottenham remain top of the league but will rue their inability to beat Palace given that Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United have all dropped points this weekend.
“We can look at it in two different perspectives,” said Mourinho. “We have more points than three hours ago, so we add a point. But at the same time you play to win three points, so if you get one, you lose two.
“If I look to the game, I would say the first half where the feeling is we have to win it, so we lost the points. But then comes the 30 minutes in the second half where they deserve to equalise so you accept it, because a point is fair, But then in the last 10 minutes you should win it, so you get the feeling you have dropped two.”
The top two teams meet on Wednesday as Spurs visit Liverpool, and Mourinho expects Gareth Bale to be available after missing the trip to Palace.
“He was ill,” said Mourinho. “Not Covid, not even flu that keeps you in bed for a week. I believe for Wednesday he will be fine.”