Mourinho Updates on Tottenham Hotspur Players and Progress

Tottenham Hotspur's Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho (Photo by MATT DUNHAM/AFP via Getty Images)
Tottenham Hotspur's Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho (Photo by MATT DUNHAM/AFP via Getty Images) /

José Mourinho spoke primarily about Tottenham players this week, giving us some insight to the ongoing trials and tribulations of managing a professional football team.

Ted Lasso he is not, but José Mourinho faces many of the same challenges that Lasso or any other coach, real or fictional might face, including player injuries, innuendo, and availability at Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. With a busy December and a January that is “not going to be easy” according to Mourinho, Spurs need all-hands on-deck and the team is nearly there, but some will be out for Thursday’s group deciding match. So what else did José say in his presser?

Who is Out for Tottenham vs Antwerp?

While there are not injuries per say, José Mourinho did indicate that both Serge Aurier and Pierre Højbjerg would be missing the match on Thursday. Aurier had some minor issue prior to the Arsenal match and was questionable heading into that game. Serge played the full 90 minutes and according to Mourinho “of course had a reaction from the game” and needs some more time to recover.

As for Pierre Højbjerg, there are “no problems” rather with “Pierre it is just the fact that he’s playing every match. He played last week 3 matches of 90 minutes” so “now is his time” to rest. Mourinho indicated that he always tries to rest one player or another on a rotation and well now it is Pierre’s turn. With the run to come, this is probably a good time to get some rest for the all-action Dane.

With “Pierre it is just the fact that he’s playing every match. He played last week 3 matches of 90 minutes” so “now is his time” to rest.

José Mourinho

The only other player that may be out is Erik Lamela. Ali Gold did ask about Lamela and Mourinho talked about Erik, but we did not get any clue as to when the Argentine would be back in action. He said that has “nothing to hide” with Lamela, but the oft-injured attacker did come on and participate after the live camera session.

Lamela was “doing some work in the gym” when the cameras were on, but then “came to the pitch and he started training progressively”. This was the point where Mourinho shifted gears a bit and instead of telling us more, started talking about the fixture congestion in December and “also January” with “so many matches and so many competitions and hopefully Lamela will be back for that”. Now if that is Thursday, Saturday, or January, well, José did not make ‘that’ clear. Ultimately, we left all three out of our projected XI, but sure hope we see Erik again soon.

Where Was Hugo? Who Talked about Hugo?

Last week, almost as a reaction to Joe Hart’s tough day against LASK rumors hit the internet that Hugo Lloris was going to miss the Arsenal match. Rather than spread rumors, which had no factual basis other than Lloris missing a midweek game he has often missed, we talked about what Tottenham might do if the captain was absent.

Ultimately, there was nothing wrong with Hugo and José Mourinho kind of indicated as much when asked about ‘what happened with Lloris’. José said, “I don’t know why you thought Hugo was not playing the game Sunday”. Mourinho went on to say, “we had doubts with many players, we had players with problems”.

José then talked about Serge Aurier’s problem, which was never really clarified. José mentioned Toby coming back from his well-documented muscular injury and how lucky Spurs were compared to Arsenal and Thomas. Mourinho mentioned Reguilón and Tanguy were doubts, but “I never told that Hugo was not ready to play”. Guess the point is we cannot believe everything we read on the internet.

Other Musings from Mourinho

On Winning the Group

Besides the players, José did talk a bit about the game and how he would like too but does not have to win. Of course, they want to win and winning the group would be “an advantage” but it is not necessary for Tottenham to succeed. HotspurHQ wrote about the importance of winning the group yesterday, from both a match-up and financial perspective, so we want the advantage.

On Covid Testing

José Mourinho was asked about Covid testing and his answer was quite interesting. Apparently, Tottenham players and staff are tested twice each week, once by the FA and once by UEFA. What is interesting about this is that they are tested on the same day, with one in the morning and one after training in the afternoon. You would think that it would be more efficient and effective to test on different days, but no one has ever accused either the FA or UEFA of efficiency.

Ultimately, we got some insight into the players and the playing experience but not much on the match itself as José can only answer the questions he is asked. Of course he was asked about Manchester United, but there will be plenty of time for that, with United now in Europa League.