Jose Mourinho confirmed that Tottenham’s preseason preparations were hampered by multiple players testing positive for the coronavirus and believes the situation contributed to their 1-0 defeat against Everton.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored the only goal as Spurs lost 1-0 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to inflict Mourinho’s first-ever Premier League opening weekend defeat.
Reports in France suggested that Tanguy Ndombele tested positive for the virus and although Mourinho refused to confirm the identity of the players involved, the 57-year-old claimed his squad had been compromised when discussing why Spurs lacked the requisite intensity on Sunday.
“Look, Harry Kane trained with us once,” he said. “Once. [Moussa] Sissoko, a couple [of times]. I am not going player by player but for different reasons many of our players didn’t have a proper preseason.
“We had cases of positive Covid. Of course, we have the right not to say which players were but we had players with positive Covid. We had other players with quarantine due to the proximity with positive players. We had a player in quarantine because he was on holiday in the country which England implements quarantine.
“We had many of them, they went to the national teams so the preseason was a difficult preseason for many of the players. I couldn’t expect them to be sharp, intense, agile. But I was expecting much more individually and much more collectively.
“It disappoints me and that’s where I have now to work. Again, I can complain about the free-kick but I couldn’t coach referees. I can coach, I can train my players to deal with these crosses. It doesn’t matter the position where it is.”
Mourinho added that Tottenham have little time to rectify their issues in training given Sunday’s match marks a potential run of nine games in 22 days.
“The players who didn’t have a preseason, we don’t have now the possibility to have a preseason but we have lots of matches to play consecutively, and we have to use these matches not just to try to win them, and the knockout ones are obviously decisive matches, and try to improve the form of some players because some of them were in trouble,” he said.