‘Why should we do that?’ – Mourinho defends second-half approach against Arsenal

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Jose Mourinho has hailed Tottenham’s display after their 2-0 win over Arsenal and defended the way his side approached the second half.

The home side were clinical on the break in the first half as Son Heung-min and Harry Kane both got on the scoresheet with brilliant finishes, which came on the end of two well-worked counter-attacks.

In the second half, Mourinho’s men decided to sit deep and defend with a low block as the Gunners failed to break them down despite huffing and puffing.

Mikel Arteta’s men were reduced to putting hopeful crosses into the box in the second half which were dealt with ease by the Tottenham backline for the most part.

However, the Lilywhites did come under some criticism for their lack of ambition in the second half, with some pundits labelling the performance ‘boring’.

Mourinho argued in his post-match press conference that his side had no need to press Arsenal high up the pitch in the second half, which could have potentially left spaces for the away side to exploit.

The Tottenham boss told Football.London: “For me the performance was very, very good against a team that is probably going to be criticised because their points and their position in the table are not good, but I have to say very good team.

“Very good coach and a team with different ways to play. A team that is able to change during the game. A team that is able to build with four or five, with a centre-back or a midfield player dropping, a team with a lot of work.

“So it was a very complex game for us. In the first half of course we put ourselves in a position of good advantage. In the second half, we accept what they did to us.

“When they dropped Xhaka to build with a third man we could press, but to go and press with one more man we would open spaces in other areas. Why should we do that?

“So have the ball, try to hurt us but it’s going to be difficult for you because we defended very well. Great performances individually and great mentality, great effort and so happy with the players.”

Spurs Web Opinion

People who are criticising Spurs and Mourinho for their approach to the second half are missing the fact that Arsenal failed to create a single clear-cut chance despite having almost all of the possession.

We put ourselves in a position to do what we did since we were 2-0 up at half time. Had we just gone into the interval with a one-goal lead, I am sure we would have shown more ambition in the second 45 minutes.

 

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