Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho insists he is happy with the character shown by his side despite a fourth defeat in five matches.
Their FA Cup run came to a chaotic end with a 5-4 extra-time fifth-round defeat at Everton with a most un-Mourinho-like performance of shoddy defensive application.
The Toffees followed Stanley Park neighbours Liverpool, Brighton and Chelsea in recording a win, with Sunday’s victory over struggling West Brom Spurs’ only success in the last fortnight.
"Some of the goals were a little comical at times."
"I actually feel sorry for him in some ways. They're being undone by individual errors."@jjenas8 and @rioferdy5 have sympathy for Mourinho as his Spurs players keep making costly errors.#EmiratesFACup pic.twitter.com/BLAkM36BZg
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) February 10, 2021
Mourinho was not inclined to talk about the mistakes which allowed Everton to put five past them and instead talked up the positives.
“We played amazingly well when we had the ball, we were very creative,” he said.
“Which (is what) I am asking from the players when we have the ball and I am so happy with that.
“Character was very good. We played two days ago, we have to play in two days’ time and we played 90 minutes plus 30 (against Everton).
“The character was amazing. The team is together, is fighting together and played very well in the last Premier League match.
“In terms of that creation they were very good again and it was a big effort from everyone. Disappointed with the result but that is the reality.
“Don’t ask me please about the defensive mistakes we made because that is obvious and I don’t feel very comfortable speaking about it.”
Despite Mourinho’s assertion his players are fighting together the absence of Gareth Bale at Goodison Park suggested all might not be as it should be behind the scenes.
The Portuguese has reportedly already had clear-the-air talks with the out-of-favour Dele Alli – whose main contribution at Everton after coming on as a late substitute was to get booked for diving – after he failed to get a move in the January window.
And after the cup exit Mourinho said he had been surprised by the on-loan Real Madrid forward’s request for a scan on a muscle problem on Monday despite being an unused substitute in the win at West Brom, and then was subsequently told the Wales international wanted to remain at home to work on his fitness rather than travel to Merseyside.
Mourinho left Harry Kane on the bench after his recent injury problems but had to call on the England captain in the second half and it was he who popped up with the late equaliser which took the game into extra time.
It was Kane’s 209th goal in 318 appearances in all competitions, taking him past Bobby Smith to become second-highest scorer in the club’s history behind only Jimmy Greaves (266 in 379).
Unfortunately the damage had already done by conceding three goals in less than eight first-half minutes to see their 1-0 lead quickly become a 3-1 deficit.
“The team was very creative, very dynamic and very happy,” added Mourinho.
“The players gave everything. I have to admit for some of them it was not easy because you play so well and one, two, three mistakes and you’re losing 3-1.
“We played amazingly well with the ball but we made mistakes but the guys they always try to win the match. That was the fantastic thing.
“Of course in the extra time that finesse, that quality dropped, which is normal when you get to extra time.”