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Mourinho playing ‘chess without pieces’ as he doesn’t have the players he wants at Spurs

11:01 EAT 06/02/2020
Jose Mourinho facepalm
The Portuguese continues to see untimely injuries hinder his plans and admits Tottenham are not making the progress he hoped to oversee as a result

Jose Mourinho says he is playing a “chess game without pieces” at Tottenham as he does not “have the players I want”.

Injury struggles are handing the Spurs boss a serious selection headache at present.

Giovani Lo Celso and Erik Lamela have joined the likes of Harry Kane, Moussa Sissoko and Ben Davies in the treatment room.

Mourinho was also denied the opportunity to call upon January signing Steven Bergwijn for an FA Cup fourth-round replay with Southampton on Wednesday as the Dutch winger was ineligible.

The Portuguese claims he is working with one hand tied behind his back at present, with the progress he was hoping to oversee in north London impossible to implement.

Mourinho told reporters after seeing Spurs edge out Southampton 3-2 on Wednesday: "I had to manage this chess game without pieces. You know. No bishops, no kings, no queens. Very, very hard with so many injuries and problems. No Bergwijn.

"I cannot speak about the progress I want to make because I don't have the players I want.

"And the team needs players to progress, collectively, tactically and dynamically. We need to have the players but we don't have the players.

"We lose so many. Sissoko, Harry, and today Lamela, Lo Celso and Bergwijn. It is so difficult.

"One game we have players A, B and C out and then the next game we are without D, E and F. It's been a very difficult season.

"So everything was like when you pull a blanket up and your feet are left out and then you cover your feet but half of your body is out. That's us. But amazing spirit, and that is something I like.

"The best team lost (referring to Southampton's 3-2 defeat to Spurs on Wednesday night). The best team on the pitch lost."

While frustrated at seeing his plans torn up on a regular basis, Mourinho has guided Tottenham back up to fifth spot in the Premier League table – four points adrift of his former club Chelsea.

He also has them chasing down FA Cup glory, with a fifth-round date booked against Norwich, while a Champions League last-16 showdown with RB Leipzig is also fast approaching.