Jose Mourinho Says COVID Outbreak Hindered Spurs’ Performance


Tottenham Hotspur got their 20/21 season off to a dreadful start yesterday, putting in an awful performance that resulted in a 1-0 home loss to Everton. Heading into the weekend, it looked this match-up might be the best overall, at least on paper, of the opening weekend.

Instead we got a clunker, with Spurs not showing up to their full potential, and manager Jose Mourinho cites a COVID-19 outbreak as a reason why. Due to privacy concerns, he didn’t specifically name who on the team has tested positive, but there are reports in France indicating that midfielder Tanguy Ndombele has.

While Mourinho said he couldn’t have expected his side to be 100% sharp in the season opener, he did say that he expected a lot more than what he saw.

The Portugese cited a slew of reasons for why his players didn’t have a proper preseason. He referenced those that missed a majority of preseason training, some of which were due to COVID-related reasons.

“Look, Harry Kane trained with us once,” Mourinho said of the Tottenham talisman.

“Once. [Moussa] Sissoko, a couple [of times]. I am not going player by player but for different reasons many of our players didn’t have a proper preseason.

“We had cases of positive COVID. Of course, we have the right not to say which players were but we had players with positive COVID. We had other players with quarantine due to the proximity with positive players. We had a player in quarantine because he was on holiday in the country which England implements quarantine.

“We had many of them, they went to the national teams so the preseason was a difficult preseason for many of the players. I couldn’t expect them to be sharp, intense, agile. But I was expecting much more individually and much more collectively.”

They don’t have much time to get it right. Their next match, a Europa League qualifier against Lokomotiv Plovdiv, is in two days time already.

Then, just four days after that match concludes, they begin a three match in a week stretch, with a league fixtures against Southampton and Newcastle bookending a League Cup clash against an opponent yet to be determined.

jose mourinho

While many managers, including Mourinho, often like to hit out at the schedule makers, you can see why Mourinho was so vocal about his issues with this upcoming slate. In ranting against the fixture list, Mourinho said “it’s not human,” and that looking at it, makes him “depressed.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears in WGNSports Illustrated, Chicago Tribune and SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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