Jose Mourinho has admitted that he was left pleasantly surprised with the commitment that the Tottenham players who did not go away on international duty showed in training over the last two weeks.
The commitment and professionalism of the Tottenham squad has been questioned on multiple occasions this season, not least when they were eliminated in embarrassing fashion from the Europa League by Dinamo Zagreb.
In a candid and emotional post-match interview, Hugo Lloris hinted after the 3-0 loss that some fringe players in the squad were not fully committed to the cause when they are not playing.
With Tottenham not involved in European competitions anymore, Mourinho can now afford to limit his rotation and go with his strongest team week-in, week-out.
When asked if that means that more players could potentially be unhappy, the Spurs boss told Football.London: “You know, in one thing you are totally right.
“We have less matches to play, there is no need of the kind of rotation you normally make when you play lots of matches. I believe that we can look at it in two different directions. One is the one that you mentioned [players will be unhappy].
“The other direction is probably the easy one for me, which is ‘merit. One match per week. You play, you play well, you give the team what it needs and the next match you’re there again. Probably for me it will be more simple. More simple.
“But I admit maybe you’re right.
“Less opportunities for people to play. But maybe at the same time, less opportunities, less matches but at the same time fantastic training sessions where everybody uses the session to try to show the potential and motivation to play.”
The Portuguese coach also admitted that the standard of training during international breaks can often leave a lot to be desired. However, he insisted that was not the case over the course of the last two weeks.
Mourinho added: “To be honest, these previous two weeks [of internationals] are normally weeks where the people that doesn’t go to national teams let their level of motivation drop.
“Because they’re not in national teams, they’re in a smaller group, they’re mixed with young players from the academy.
“But I have to say that the last 10 days were fantastic. Every player that stayed back worked very very hard, trying exactly to get the position to play the next match or at least be selected and involved.”
Spurs Web Opinion
The fact that we can now afford to play our strongest team consistently in the Premier League as we have midweeks off could be a big advantage to us in the race for the top four over the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool.
However, the likes of Dele, Winks and Doherty are now unlikely to get too many opportunities to impress until the end of the season, which could mean that there is an even bigger question mark over their futures at the club beyond the summer.
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