Premier League still toughest title to win, insists Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho
Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has reiterated how hard it will be to win the Premier League title after his side briefly went top of the table with a 1-0 win at West Brom.
Harry Kane’s 150th Premier League goal two minutes from the end sent Spurs to the summit for the first time since August 2014, even though they are likely to get displaced when later games between Leicester and Wolves and Manchester City and Liverpool take place.
Spurs are now unbeaten since the opening day of the season and, with four successive away wins, appear to be contenders for the title.
Mourinho is not being kidded about how hard it will be to win his fourth Premier League crown, though.
“When a team is champion or plays for the title, there is always a direct relation to your direct opponents,” he said after edging a tight game at the Hawthorns. “I would say that this team could be champions in many European countries.
“The Premier League is the most difficult one to be, because in the Premier League you can do a good season, can have lots of points, but in the end: Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea, Man United, Leicester, Arsenal. So you can have a good season and not be champion.
“So what can we do? We go match after match. We try to win, we don’t care about the others.
“I promise you I’m not worried about Leicester v Wolves, or City v Liverpool. If Liverpool wins, it is because City loses points. If Leicester wins, it is because Wolves dropped points.
“So I don’t care, I just want the team to play match after match, and then at the end of the season let’s see where we are.”
Having a striker like Kane in his ranks will surely help Mourinho’s chances as the England captain scored his 13th goal of the season to go joint ninth in the all-time list of Premier League scorers.
Kane headed home Matt Doherty’s cross in the 88th minute to continue his incredible start to the campaign.
“When you go to stats in relation to the strikers, I always say that the stats should be how many goals has a striker scored, and what he did for his team in the matches where he didn’t score,” he added.
“And many of the strikers that history will show an incredible number of goals that they score, plus zero.
“Harry Kane you have to say has this many goals, this many assists, this number of balls recovered, this number of duels won. This number of balls that he saved his team in a defensive set-piece. This is Harry Kane. It’s goals plus this and this and this and that.
“For me it’s not one more goal or one less goal, it’s about what he is as a player.”
Spurs players will now go their separate ways for international duty, but Denmark midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg will stay behind.
With the UK government changing quarantine laws in Denmark, Hojbjerg will miss home games against Sweden and Iceland before travelling to Belgium for a Nations League game.
“Pierre is in contact with his national team, he obviously wants to play for his national team,” Mourinho explained. “Of course we want Pierre back and in condition to play and it looks like we have found a situation that protects us and the player and allows him to play one match.
“The situation is simple. The first match is a friendly against Sweden, he doesn’t go. The second game is in the Nations League at home in Copenhagen, he is suspended because he got a yellow card against England so he is not going.
“The third game is Belgium-Denmark so he stays with us and works with us and goes to Belgium, he does what he wants and plays with greatest pride for his national team and then he comes back. The situation fits everyone.”
West Brom were heartbroken by conceding so late as they probably deserved a point for their performance.
The wait for their first win back in the Premier League goes on, but Slaven Bilic is not concerned about his future.
“The players are not playing for me, they are playing for the club – it is a nonsense to raise that question about my future,” he said.
“Not only today’s performance but also in general, I am trying my best and that shows so far enough for the club to be successful. I am not at all worried, I don’t even think about those questions.
“But this game showed them everything, we have to make this our standard of being crazy organised, crazy aware, if we have play like this we will have genuine chances of doing what we want to do in the league, which is stay up.”