Nothing surprises Jose Mourinho at this point.
After his Tottenham Hotspur side was held to an improbable 3-3 draw against LASK in the Europa League, Mourinho declared he learned nothing from a night where he predicted his team would perform below their level.
The draw in Linz secured passage to the knockout stages of the for Tottenham, but they will now need to beat Antwerp on the final matchday of the group stage to grab top spot.
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“The result was better than the performance,” Mourinho told reporters after his team surrendered two second-half leads, conceding two goals in the final 10 minutes with three centre backs, three full backs and two defensive midfielders on the field.
Asked if he learned anything from the game, Mourinho was at his vintage best.
“Nothing new, really,” he said. “The fact that the Europa League group phase doesn’t motivate some players — I knew it.
“That some players are fundamental for us and I always need on the pitch in any circumstance, a couple of these players to give a little bit of balance to the team. As an example, (Pierre-Emile) Hojbjerg and Sonny, without them I don’t think we would have a positive result. Nothing really that I learn. The players know and I share my feelings with them, I am normally right.
“When I saw the warm-up before the game I had a feeling and I told the players before the game that there was a huge difference in intensity, communication and enthusiasm in their warm-up and our warm-up because I was looking at both. Nothing surprises me.”
Top of the Premier League table, Mourinho’s men haven’t quite been able to bring that form and energy to the Europa League; something the boss believes is simply an “attitude” problem, with Spurs in Europe’s second-tier competition.
“I have a feeling — which is not a feeling, it’s experience — that some of the players, they feel that they shouldn’t be here,” Mourinho said.
“But the contradiction on that is that players like Son and like Pierre, players who are starting every match, are the examples of guys that doesn’t matter where, doesn’t matter the competition, they are there and they are there for the team all the time.
“So I think it’s a question of attitude that I’ve experienced before.”