The complaints may not be echoing around the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with supporters still shut out, but they are getting through to the club’s board and Jose Mourinho needs to quickly improve his team’s performances.
Mourinho’s position is not thought to be in imminent danger, although that would quickly change if Tottenham were to lose what the Portuguese admits is a must-win game against West Bromwich Albion tomorrow.
Pressure is on him not only to stop the slump of three successive league defeats, but to improve a run of dismal displays that have increasingly upset fans.
Tottenham have a tradition of trying to play entertaining football and Mourinho cannot simply get away with dangling the carrot of the possibility of a first trophy in 13 years with the Carabao Cup.
The fact Spurs are in the final and still in the FA Cup, and with the top four in reach, certainly works in his favour. But concerns about the way they are playing, and the negativity that has become a feature of recent performances, are increasing and have made their way into the dressing room, with some players believing they are being stifled.
Mourinho is popular with the majority of his squad, but even some of those who like and respect him are not entirely happy with the way the team are playing.
Faced with questions about whether he was starting to feel under pressure, following Tottenham’s worst run since 2012, when they last lost three successive Premier League games, under Andre Villas-Boas, who was eventually sacked, Mourinho said: “I put pressure on myself every day. I don’t need others to put pressure on me. So, since 2012 without three defeats in a row? But since when without a title? Maybe I can give one.”
Mourinho admitted that he could not contemplate anything other than a victory over West Brom, who have conceded 28 goals in 10 games since Sam Allardyce replaced Slaven Bilic as manager.
Not only will Tottenham be expected to win, but the hope is they will do so in style to build some momentum and optimism ahead of a tough run of games against Everton in the FA Cup, Manchester City, Wolfsberg in the Europa League and London rivals West Ham United, who are above Spurs.
“The most important thing now is West Bromwich,” said Mourinho, whose team are eighth. “Sometimes big games are just against the top six, or the London derbies. Other times big games can be games like this. West Bromwich need points, they need to survive.
“But the reality is that, until the end of the month, we have great motivations in front of us. Europa League is something that, since the beginning, we put a lot on. So, the team is waiting for that, and maybe the squad needs that. But let’s focus on West Bromwich, because we have to win.
We cannot even think a different thing.”
Tottenham failed to score without the injured Harry Kane against Brighton and Chelsea and, although the striker is due back soon, Mourinho insisted that other players must shoulder the goal burden.
“A team is not a player,” he said. “A team cannot depend on a player. Other players, they have to step up.”
© Telegraph Media Group Limited 2021
Telegraph Media Group Limited