Tottenham Hotspur head coach Jose Mourinho has voiced his frustration towards his side only being able to pull out good performances when they are looking to bounce back from humiliation.
Spurs crashed out of the Europa League in midweek at the hands of Dinamo Zagreb, who overturned a two-goal deficit with a 3-0 victory to advance to the next round, but Tottenham responded well with a composed 2-0 win away at Aston Villa on Sunday.
It was a solid performance from Spurs, who looked like a side determined to fight for a spot in Europe next year, but Mourinho questioned why they could only put on that kind of show with their backs against the wall and not in every game.
“OK, I am really happy with that, but it is sad we need such a bad defeat to have this kind of reaction,” Mourinho told BBC Sport.
“This should not be a reaction, this should be a permanent state of mind, permanent soul in the team. I think that is our next challenge – to have this standard in terms of effort, commitment, sacrifice.
“Independent of results, this has to be always there to dignify our jobs, the people that love us, the club and the fans. I am a bit sad by realising we can have this soul and we haven’t in the last couple of matches.
“I opened my heart as a guy with more than 20 years in football and lots of experiences, I just care that they did it and the next challenge as a group is we do it every match.”
Despite being disappointed, Mourinho was keen to praise his players for their ability to put the past in the past and get their heads screwed on eventually.
“They deserve individual praise – there was a crazy performance of Lucas Moura and Harry Kane, but for me, this was a victory of the dressing room of a group that felt ashamed of what happened last week,” said Mourinho (via The Times).
90min selects the starting lineup which Jose Mourinho should pick for Tottenham Hotspur’s clash with Aston Villa this weekend
Harry Kane is open to a transfer away from Tottenham, but Spurs will demand in excess of £120m
It was not pretty, in fact, at times it was close to unwatchable, but Tottenham’s 2-0 away win over Aston Villa suggested that, for better or for worst, the Jos
Goals from Carlos Vinicius and Harry Kane were enough to give Tottenham a much needed 2-0 win over Aston Villa on Sunday.
“To be ashamed is a man’s reaction. To not care or give a s**t is not a man’s reaction. That match on Thursday will be a scar for a long time. Total credit to the players — they fought with the dignity and honesty every football player should have in every match.”