Jose Mourinho once again criticised Tottenham’s defending but felt his side were ‘unlucky’ as they suffered yet another league defeat, this time at London rivals West Ham.
The Hammers outlined their top-four credentials with a 2-1 win over an unravelling Spurs, who lost for the fifth time in six Premier League games to leave Mourinho feeling the pressure.
The Hammers climbed into fourth position thanks to goals from Michail Antonio and Jesse Lingard, giving them their highest ever points tally at this stage of the season in the Premier League era.
They are nine points above their London rivals and David Moyes celebrated his first win over Mourinho at the 16th time of asking after withstanding a late assault by Spurs, who gave themselves hope through Lucas Moura.
But Tottenham could not find a leveller, hitting the woodwork twice, and their demise has been stark as from a position at the top of the table in mid-December they have won just three of last 13 games, meaning their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League through the league are all-but over.
Speaking after the game, Mourinho told Sky Sports: “I feel sad, obviously. I feel the result should have been a different one from what we played especially in the second half. That is my feeling and a little bit of deja vu.
“Their defensive line was brilliant. Their centre-backs gave us a very difficult match. We started the game with a mistake and started the second half with another one.
“The team in the second half was trying absolutely everything. We had the chances, hitting the post, great crosses across the face of goal. We had easy shooting positions to score so we should have scored more goals.
“I have spoke about this for such a long time and it is not always good to stay on the same page. I believe people who watched the game understood completely the nature of the goals we conceded.
“They fought, this is not a criticism it is to praise their spirit. They fought, they fought hard but they just fought. We were the team that tried to play but the boys were not lucky.”
Bale not ready to start back-to-back games
Mourinho also discussed his decision not to start Gareth Bale after an impressive midweek appearance in Europe.
The Wales winger cam off the bench and looked lively again, striking the bar with a thunderous effort that would have earned Spurs a point.
Mourinho added: “I know his quality. I cannot say everything to you, I shouldn’t.
“I believe as a coach I don’t have to speak so much about the situation but with a Gareth Bale completely fit and ready to play 90 minutes of every game of course he would.
“We are trying everything with him to recover him to be at a good level.
“To play 65 minutes like he did Thursday then today he couldn’t start the game today, he wouldn’t have 90 minutes to give us but I am happy because we know what he brings, he brings his quality.
“Very unlucky shot because in that situation we had a double shot to score but we didn’t.”