News Live Scores
Tottenham Hotspur

Mourinho: Inconsistent Tottenham hurt by wantaway stars affecting team chemistry

16:38 BST 01/09/2019
Mauricio Pochettino Jose Mourinho
The manager-turned-pundit thinks the likes of Christian Eriksen and Toby Alderweireld's desire to leave the club is having an adverse effect on Spurs

Jose Mourinho thinks that Tottenham’s inconsistent Premier League form is down to a lack of chemistry in the dressing room, with key players wanting to leave.

In a run stretching back to last season – and encompassing their run to the Champions League final – Spurs have taken just 15 points from 15 league games prior to Sunday’s North London Derby clash at Arsenal.

Christian Eriksen said earlier in the summer that he was ready for a new challenge, while the futures of defensive duo Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld are also unclear.

In Mourinho’s eyes, this makes for a difficult situation for Mauricio Pochettino as he looks to balance both tactical and personal issues in his team selections; Eriksen’s stop-start season so far being the prime example.

"I think in the last part of last season they knew they had no chance to fight for the title and at the same time they didn't feel big pressure from the likes of Man Utd, Chelsea going ahead of them," Mourinho said on Sky Sports.

"They had fourth position more or less under control and the Champions League became more of the dream, so that maybe took some of the focus [from the Premier League].

"But maybe this season they are not having that chemistry. I don't know if I'm right or not but I always felt that while Spurs weren't buying a lot, they were doing something more important, which was to keep all the good players that they have.”

Spurs have been lauded in recent years for their squad-building project, with Pochettino generally managing to tie his best players down to long-term contracts.

Eriksen and Alderweireld are evidence that this hasn’t always been foolproof, but there has been the suggestion from some quarters that the core of the squad, which has been fairly consistent for a number of seasons, is becoming stale.

"They persuaded the players to stay and stay happy - that was my feeling,” Mourinho added. “They managed to give new contracts to Harry Kane and others and it looked like the players were happy to belong to that project, that club, that dream.

"Maybe now, the feeling that I have - what is happening with Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen and what happened at the end of last season with Toby Alderweireld - maybe some of the boys are not so happy to stay.

"Their eyes might be on bigger pictures - look at Kyle Walker, winning trophies [after leaving for Manchester City]. Maybe at this moment the team is not that focused, full of chemistry.

“It looks like the relationship with Mauricio Pochettino is happy; they have an amazing stadium, Champions League football again but maybe some of the boys want something different. Even at the perfect club, if one player isn't happy, it can make you lose focus."