LONDON • Jose Mourinho accused some of his players of laziness and poor fitness after a lacklustre Tottenham Hotspur lost 1-0 to Everton at home in their Premier League opener on Sunday.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s 55th-minute header settled the issue and Tottenham’s display, especially in the second half, led to some harsh words from manager Mourinho.
“Against good teams like Everton, if you let them play from the back they are comfortable with very good technical players. If you don’t press them, you give them ammunition,” the Portuguese said.
“We were lazy in our pressing. That is a consequence of bad fitness, bad pre-season. Some players didn’t even have a pre-season. Some players had a wrong state of mind. I don’t want to speak about it – I’m not sure about it.”
Spurs have been the subject of a candid documentary chronicling his arrival at the club to replace former manager Mauricio Pochettino last November.
It might be just as well that the behind-the-scenes cameras have been switched off after their plodding display against Everton.
Striker Harry Kane barely had a sight of goal, although he was not helped by a midfield lacking imagination.
“I’m disappointed with my team. My message is inside (the dressing room),” Mourinho added.
“I’m so happy no more (filming for the) Amazon (documentary) because these things can stay between us.”
With Carlo Ancelotti in the opposing dugout, it was a meeting of two of the game’s most decorated coaches, but it was Italian Ancelotti who won the head-to-head hands down.
With Colombian playmaker James Rodriguez, signed this week from Real Madrid, French powerhouse Abdoulaye Doucoure and Brazilian midfielder Allan all making impressive debuts, Everton were unrecognisable from the stodgy team who finished 12th last season.
“This performance gives us more confidence for the future,” Ancelotti, like Mourinho starting his first full season in charge, said.
“We showed what we can do. The new signings had one week of training but adapted really well. The performance was good. James Rodriguez brings his ability to control the ball, to do the right passes, to keep the team comfortable with the ball.
“I said before the game our target was to fight for the European places. I think we can compete with this squad in all the competitions.”
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE