I’ll get us back to where we belong, says Mourinho

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Jose Mourinho says he intends to get Tottenham back “where we belong” after they qualified for the Europa League with a hard-fought draw at Crystal Palace.

The result saw Spurs leapfrog into sixth place above Wolves, who lost at Chelsea.

“When all the players are available, we showed in this last period where we belong,” Mourinho said.

“I don’t know, maybe in this period, after lockdown, we finished third or fourth in the table. So that’s where we belong.

“I want to have my team, my players, not a medical room full of players. I want a pitch full of players.

“Of course as a squad, the main thing is to keep our very good players and after that improve the squad.

“Are we going to buy 10 players? No. Are we going to buy players for £100m? No. We are going to improve.”

Harry Kane opened the scoring for Spurs, dispatching a low finish into the bottom left corner after collecting Giovani lo Celso’s pass.

However, Jeffrey Schlupp levelled for Palace with a close-range finish after some poor Tottenham marking at a corner.

It was no more than Roy Hodgson’s side deserved, as they ended a run of seven straight defeats.

They matched their London rivals for endeavour and could have snatched all three points, with Scott Dann heading a late effort wide.

While this was a welcome point and performance from Palace, it also perfectly characterised their entire campaign.

The Eagles may well have steered clear of the relegation battle but they ended the season with their lowest points tally since Hodgson took charge in September 2017.

That has largely been due to a lack of goals, with Palace having the second-worst scoring record in the top flight, after bottom club Norwich.

It has not helped that the contributions of both Wilfried Zaha and Serbia midfielder Luka Milivojevic have dropped off significantly this term.

Both reached double figures in 2018-19 but have mustered just seven goals between them this time around.

To underscore the point, Palace registered 13 efforts against Spurs, but just two were on target.

“Even if the intention and desire from the board is to spend some money and rejuvenate the team, whether it’s a possibility in the market is another matter,” Hodgson said.

“Unless we get help soon, the job gets harder and harder. We need some players who can do what Harry Kane did for Tottenham today.”

Dann and Jordan Ayew should both have at least worked Hugo Lloris from close range on the left side of the Tottenham penalty area.

And Hodgson, who has repeatedly stressed his desire to bolster his squad, now has around seven weeks to rectify the issue before the 2020-21 Premier League gets under way on 12 September.

Mission accomplished for Spurs

Mourinho with his staff
Mourinho with his staff

It appeared to be a case of mission accomplished for Mourinho and his staff at the final whistle as they celebrated the prospect of playing in Europe next term.

The result means that Spurs are guaranteed to earn a minimum of around £10m for their involvement in European competition next season.

However, few Tottenham supporters could have imagined such a difficult campaign – or that the Portuguese boss would take charge less than six months on from their appearance in last season’s Champions League final.

When Mourinho succeeded Mauricio Pochettino as manager, the club were languishing in 14th in the table.

“Of course everybody that one day plays Champions League doesn’t want to go back and play Europa League – but it was the only thing possible after such a difficult season for the club,” Mourinho added.

“Arriving 14th and handling things is not bad at all. I am quite happy that next season we play in the Europa League and it’s just a question to motivate ourselves for that competition and try to motivate the fans to support us and do something beautiful.”

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