Jose Mourinho has insisted that Tottenham are feeling the strain of pushing for a top four finish in the Premier League.

The London derby on Sunday was billed as a shootout for the fourth spot with Spurs having the chance to go above Chelsea with a win. However, it was Frank Lampard’s side who prevailed on the night going six points clear of Tottenham.

Spurs managed to cut the gap back down to three points on Thursday courtesy of their win over Brighton and Chelsea’s 2-0 defeat at home to Southampton.

Speaking about the top four race, Mourinho compared the situation he inherited at Spurs this season to the time when some of the Italian clubs started the Serie A season with a points deduction due to their involvement in the match-fixing scandal.

He insisted that it was always going to be difficult to close the twelve-point gap which Tottenham had to the 4th spot when he arrived at the club last month.

Speaking to Football.London, the Spurs head coach said: “Look in one of the seasons in Italy, when Juventus was relegated, some other teams not relegated but started the season with minus 10 or minus 6, minus 8 depending on how involved they were.

“Basically you go to the end of this season and you could see how these teams were affected by the minus. I started with minus 12 here. With minus 12 you have to recover 12 points. It’s a lot of points. A couple of days ago we were minus three and we had a chance to go to zero. Right.

“But the problem is during the recovery process we’re not going to win all the time and the other teams aren’t going to lose all the time. It’s very difficult to get 12, 9, 7, 6, 0 to recover. It’s very difficult to recovery a distance of 12 points.

“If we’re in contact, we’re in contact. At this moment we’re minus three. If we start next season with everyone on the same number points, it’s a different story. Now it’s hard. The players they feel it. And it’s not easy but we go for it.”

Spurs Web Opinion

With the young side that Chelsea have they were always likely to hit a rough patch. I believe we are now favourites for the fourth spot since we have it in us to be more consistent than Chelsea. However, if they do splash the cash in the January transfer window, the race might go down to the wire.

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