Matt Doherty. Photo: Reuters

Doherty was struggling to play the way we want him to - Mourinho


Jose Mourinho admits that big signing Matt Doherty is struggling for fitness after Spurs suffered a miserable start to the new Premier League season.

And Mourinho was critical of his players for their "lazy" pressure up front as an Everton side captained by Séamus Coleman got a deserved win.

Doherty tired in the second half and was replaced on 75 minutes, having made his debut for Tottenham following his £16 million (€17.3m) move from Wolves, though he came close to scoring in the first half, seeing his shot saved by Jordan Pickford. Mourinho absolved Doherty of blame for the defeat but was unhappy with the work-rate of his front players.

"It was lazy pressure up front and that creates imbalance for the rest of the team," the Spurs boss said.

"Some of my players are not fit, Matt was struggling to play the way he plays and the way we want him to play, as an example, but we had other players who were troubled from a physical point of view, in some cases they didn't even have pre-season.

"The struggle started in the way we pressed, or rather in the way we didn't press, the pressure was very poor, I would say it was lazy pressure, and when you have a lazy pressure and you don't press, you let the opponents build from the back, and when they have players with incredible quality, they are comfortable with the ball.


"We had some good moments in the first half and created some good chances, Doherty's chance is a big one and a sequence of a great moment of football, but Pickford was there and made a great save," he added.

Mourinho blamed a disrupted pre-season, where a number of his players had coronavirus, on a dismal start to the season against Everton.

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."