José Mourinho has warned that Tottenham will lose their attacking threat if he attempts to solve their defensive frailties by focusing on keeping clean sheets.
Spurs defended abysmally during their 2-0 home defeat by Chelsea last Sunday and have conceded 14 goals in their first eight games under Mourinho, who does not believe that adopting a negative approach would suit the players at his disposal. “I know how to do it,” the Spurs manager said. “But to do it 100% I am going to take away from the team some qualities that we want to keep.
“And then it is more difficult to do it because to play for a clean sheet and to put all the focus on the clean sheet, on the improvement of the defensive organisation and try to kill the mistakes that we make, that is not difficult to do. The difficulty is to do it with players that are the players they are, with the habits they have; the difficult thing is to put it right defensively without losing the qualities we can have offensively.”
Mourinho, whose inconsistent side will be without the suspended Son Heung-min when they host Brighton & Hove Albion on Boxing Day, insisted the performance against Chelsea had not shown him that Spurs need to make signings in January. “It didn’t change my mind,” he said. “I am at Tottenham Hotspur. I know the profile of club, I know the project, I know the vision, I know the objectives and I know that in our transfer market we are going just to react to things that can happen to us in the market. If some player leaves we need to adapt to it.
“But we are never going to be the kings of the market, attacking important targets, fighting with clubs that are ready by their profile and philosophy to splash the cash and to go to the important targets. We need to do our things in an intelligent way, a creative way, and I repeat I like the players that I have. The more I work with them, the more I know them, the more I realise their qualities and their problems.
“I keep saying that I need time and this time is arriving. Not from yesterday until the 26th, or the 26th until the 28th. But in January, in February, we are going to have a little bit more time to try to improve it.”