Jose Mourinho blamed a disrupted pre-season, where a number of his players had coronavirus, on a dismal start to the season against Everton.
Spurs went down 1-0 to Dominic Calert-Lewin's second-half goal in north London and it was a limp display by Mourinho's men, who were well off the pace.
Mourinho, who did not name the players infected, said he "did not like his team" and they lacked intensity, but did give them mitigation in the shape of poor preparation.
"Harry Kane trained with us once," he said. "Moussa Sissoko, a couple and I am not going player by player. For different reasons many of our players didn't have proper pre-seasons.
"We had cases of positive Covid, we have the right not to say which players, but we had players, we had other players in quarantine due to proximity with positive players.
"We had a player in quarantine because he was on holiday in a country which the government quarantined, we had national teams where many of them went to their team so it was a difficult pre-season.
"I couldn't expect them to be sharp, intense, agile. But I was expecting much more individually and collectively.
Jose Mourinho: The early days
Jose Mourinho: The early days
Chelsea's new manager Jose Mourinho signs autographs for fans before watching his side in action against Oxford during the pre-season friendly match at Kassam Stadium. THIS PICTURE CAN ONLY BE USED WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF AN EDITORIAL FEATURE. NO WEBSITE/INTERNET USE UNLESS SITE IS REGISTERED WITH FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION PREMIER LEAGUE. (Photo by Chris Young - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
FC Porto manager Jose Mourinho celebrates his teams 1-1 draw and progression to the quarter finals after the UEFA Champions League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. 02/06/2004: Jose Mourinho who will be officially unveiled later Wednesday June 2, 2004, as Chelsea's new manager. Porto yesterday released the man who had guided them to Champions League glory from his contract after agreeing a compensation package. THIS PICTURE CAN ONLY BE USED WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF AN EDITORIAL FEATURE. NO WEBSITE/INTERNET USE UNLESS SITE IS REGISTERED WITH FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION PREMIER LEAGUE. (Photo by Martin Rickett - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
FC Porto's coach Jose Mourinho walks of with with the UEFA Champions League trophy after the press conference after his sides win against Monaco (Photo by Matthew Ashton/EMPICS via Getty Images)
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho (R) and Newcastle United's Dean Saunders. (Photo by Owen Humphreys - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Chelsea's manager Jose Mourinho (L) hugs Frank Lampard after defeating Liverpool. (Photo by Nick Potts - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho holds up the Carling Cup after defeating Liverpool. (Photo by Rebecca Naden - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Chelsea's manager Jose Mourinho (c) celebrates the win against Barcelona with Eidur Gudjohnsen (l) Damien Duff and assistant manager Steve Clarke (r) (Photo by Mike Egerton - PA Images via Getty Images)
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho (right) and Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez. (Photo by David Davies - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho lifts the Premiership trophy with Frank Lampard and John Terry (Photo by Mike Egerton - PA Images via Getty Images)
Chelsea's manager Jose Mourinho gives instructions to Hernan Crespo prior to scoring the winning goal (Photo by Neal Simpson - PA Images via Getty Images)
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho (L) celebrates winning the Barclays Premiership title. (Photo by Rebecca Naden - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON - MARCH 8: Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea manager, celebrates victory at the end of the UEFA Champions League, First Knockout Round, Second Leg match between Chelsea and Barcelona at Stamford Bridge on March 8, 2005 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
London, UNITED KINGDOM: Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho (L) and striker Arjen Robben celebrates at the final whistle after defeating Manchester United in their premiership match at Stamford Bridge in west London, 29 April 2006 to win the English Premiership title for the second year running. AFP PHOTO / ODD ANDERSEN Mobile and website use of domestic English football pictures subject to subscription of a license with Football Association Premier League (FAPL) tel : +44 207 298 1656. For newspapers where the football content of the printed and electronic versions are identical, no licence is necessary. (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images)
LONDON - APRIL 29: (L-R) Steve Clarke and Jose Mourinho the Chelsea manager celebrates their team winning the Barclays Premiership title after the match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on April 29, 2006 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
LONDON - DECEMBER 18: Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger (L) and Chelsea Manager Jose Mourinho (R) give instructions from the sidelines during the Barclays Premiership match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Highbury on December 18, 2005 in London, England. (Photo by Ben Radford/Getty Images)
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho gives instructions to Didier Drogba whilst he is lying on the pitch from the touchline. (Photo by Peter Byrne - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 6: Manager Jose Mourinho and William Gallas of Chelsea look disappointed at the final whistle of the Barclays Premiership match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford on November 6 2005 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Tom Purslow/Manchester United via Getty Images)
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho and John Terry after the final whistle (Photo by Mike Egerton - PA Images via Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 01: Chelsea's manager Jose Mourinho consoles Frank Lampard after the final whistle (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC Via Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 01: Chelsea's manager Jose Mourinho after the final whistle (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC Via Getty Images)
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"It disappoints me, and that is where I have now to work. The players who didn't have pre-season, we don't have now the possibility to give them a pre-season but we have a lot of matches now to play consecutively and we have to use these matches, not just to win them and the knockout ones are obviously decisive ones with everything decided in 120 minutes or even penalties, and try to use this to improve the form of some players because some of them were really in trouble."
Spurs had some decent chances in the first half but were complete no-shows after the break and Calvert-Lewin's 55th-minute header was enough for Everton.
It came from Lucas Digne's free-kick, but Mourinho was not happy with where the delivery was taken from.
"I didn't like my team, but I didn't like that so many referees on the pitch and on the touchline and in front of the screen allow a free-kick to be taken five or six metres in front to allow a completely different angle of delivery.
"I can complain now because I was complaining before the goal. But I didn't like my team."
For Everton, this was a statement of intent that this could finally be the year they crack the top six after a number of false dawns.
Carlo Ancelotti has been backed in the summer and all three signings – Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure and James Rodriguez – impressed in a win that could have been far more handsome.
The Italian is confident his side can challenge for a European spot this season.
"We are satisfied, I am satisfied, the performance of the team was brilliant," he said. "I am pleased for the performance, it was an important one against a difficult team.
"I am pleased we started the season well and we showed we can compete which is the most important message to take. We can compete with everyone if the spirit is good, if the attitude is good and the players showed this.
"We said that our target is to try and reach European position, we started well. The problem we had last season a lot of the time we were up and down the first game was good, we have to see for the second and third. I have a lot of confidence, I had some before this game and now I have more but we have to be focused."