Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho has questioned the mental strength of his team after their dismal 3-1 loss at Sheffield United on Thursday.
Spurs’ Champions League hopes were left in tatters after the defeat at Bramall Lane, which was underpinned by a poor reaction to a controversial video assistant referee call.
Harry Kane had a goal disallowed after Lucas Moura was adjudged to have handled the ball in the build-up after being fouled and Mourinho’s side capitulated afterwards.
The Portuguese said he learned a lot about his players by their poor reaction.
“You have to be ready to cope with negative moments and go until the last minute,” he said. “In spite of my efforts in the dressing room, now I feel I know more about the profile of my players.
“I felt that in the second half we wouldn’t be strong enough to cope with a team that when they’re winning just defends and counter-attacks. So congratulations to them.”
Mourinho has also called on his side to show the motivation in the remaining six games to finish as high in the table as they can.
The Champions League spots, even if they go down to fifth, look to have gone and a place in the Europa League is not in the bag yet either.
"We had enough time to psychologically react as a team in a different way. We need to be mentally stronger to cope with situations."
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) July 2, 2020
“It’s very easy to motivate myself because it’s my nature,” Mourinho said. “I always say when a professional player needs an external motivation source, then he is in trouble.
“The motivation should be self-motivation, directly related to your professionalism, directly related with respect for your job, your club, the fans. That is the most important thing.
“The manager can just help but the nature of the player as a professional is the most important.
“Clearly if these boys don’t care about results and don’t care about the position we finish at the end of the season we’ll be in big, big trouble for the future.
In spite of my efforts in the dressing room, now I feel I know more about the profile of my players
“So I hope that they care and fight for the best position in the table for the end of the season.”
It could have been different at Bramall Lane had Kane’s leveller stood as Spurs were the better side at the time.
It was one of the most controversial VAR calls of the season and Spurs winger Steven Bergwijn was left scratching his head.
“In my opinion it is a goal, he (Moura) can’t put his hands anywhere,” the Dutchman said. “They also pushed him in the back, so there are two things wrong.
“I don’t understand why we didn’t get a free-kick, maybe it is because we played through but I think he has to give the goal.
“Where is Lucas supposed to put his hands. It is a goal in my opinion.
“When you concede a goal and equalise so quickly it is a good feeling, but it is disallowed, it’s really mixed feelings.”