Mourinho rejects ‘title contenders’ tag despite Spurs’ latest win

Mourinho rejects ‘title contenders’ tag despite Spurs’ latest win

LONDON • Jose Mourinho will not countenance Tottenham ever “being considered title contenders” despite being two points off leaders Everton after Monday’s 1-0 Premier League win at Burnley.

Spurs fans could be forgiven for thinking otherwise after the narrow win at Turf Moor not only propelled them up to fifth in the table, but also means they are now the top scorers in the English top flight with 16 goals from six games.

Although considered to be part of the “Big Six”, Mourinho’s side have not won a trophy since the 2008 League Cup, and their last top-flight league title came in 1961.

Mourinho’s sacked predecessor, Mauricio Pochettino, gave the fans hope with his development of young players, taking them to the 2019 Champions League final as well as finishing in the top three on three occasions.

However, the Argentinian’s failure to deliver silverware perhaps lends itself to experienced campaigner Mourinho’s caution.

“I will never consider ourselves title contenders,” the Portuguese coach said.

Harry Kane agreed that it was too early to talk about a title challenge in a season that has offered up several surprising results.

However, the England captain is optimistic about the future with the present squad.

“We know with the team we have got and the players we have got we can do something special,” he told the BBC. “It’s still early on.

“We need to take each game as it comes. I know it’s a cliche but we still have a lot to learn and build on. I think nights like this will give us a lot of confidence.

“These are the games you need three points if you are going to be up there at the end of the season.”

Key to Spurs’ vibrancy has been Kane’s understanding with South Korea forward Son Heung-min, the Englishman setting his teammate up for their winner.

Kane has already broken his personal record for assists in a Premier League season with eight to set up Son’s eighth goal of the campaign.

The pair have now combined for 29 league goals – only Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard managed more, with 36 for Chelsea – and Mourinho lauded Kane’s selflessness after he cleared off the line as the hosts threatened to equalise.

“In the last minute, he was pressing and sliding tackles, trying to stop attacks,” he said.

“When you want to win, you do everything for the team. There is no space for individuals or prima donnas. Harry has this spirit and he is fantastic.

“The way the team plays, he is very comfortable because he is good in the box and also magnificent outside the box.”