Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho said his struggling and fatigued Spurs are feeling the absence of Harry Kane and their key attackers after he suffered a career first on Thursday.
Spurs crashed to a 1-0 defeat to London rivals Chelsea in Premier League action at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, where Jorginho’s first-half penalty settled the contest.
It was another toothless display from Tottenham, who were without Kane, Giovani Lo Celso and Sergio Reguilon, while Dele Alli remains out of favour following a failed attempt to join Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain on loan prior to the transfer window closing.
Mourinho – in his 327th home league match – suffered back-to-back league defeats on home soil for the first time in his career, while Spurs were condemned to three successive Premier League losses for the first time since November 2012.
As Spurs languish in eighth position and seven points adrift of the top four, Mourinho bemoaned his absentees and a hectic fixture list.
“Well, [Sergio] Reguilon means something for our attacking football,” Mourinho told reporters. “Harry Kane means something for our attacking football. Giovani Lo Celso again means something for our attacking football.
“A good Dele Alli that we don’t have yet but hope that we can have in the future means something for us. It’s not just what they mean, they mean that we don’t have many options to rotate players and we finish with people with some signs of fatigue because of the accumulation of matches because we don’t have so many players to rest.
“The second thing is confidence. The confidence levels are very, very important to play football. When a team doesn’t have good results, a period when results are not good, you need that click back to go back to normality. So, for me it’s a little bit like that.”
On rebuilding confidence after losses to Liverpool (3-1), Brighton and Hove Albion (1-0) and Chelsea, Mourinho added: “Look, I think we did that after Brighton because for me the Brighton defeat is a defeat like this one, 1-0, the same way.
“We managed in the group to change some things and I believe the reflection of the second half means something for me and I believe for the group. I don’t like to speak about Harry Kane and company but they mean something also for the confidence of the players. The reality is that since Liverpool half-time, that is very difficult for us to connect certain dynamics. We tried without [Carlos] Vinicius against Brighton.
“We tried today with Vinicius and two up. We tried in the second half with him as a target man and two wingers and a No.10. We’re trying to go on the search but I saw togetherness.
“It’s not easy to see togetherness with bad results, defeats, difficulties, injuries. Togetherness is very easy to show when you’re on a high and winning matches, when everything is amazing. But in difficult moments it’s more difficult to see that togetherness but I saw that in the second half. No doubts for me.”
Despite Tottenham’s desperate and unsuccessful search for an equaliser against Chelsea, star loanee Gareth Bale was snubbed again by Mourinho.
Bale was left among the substitutes – the Wales international has only featured in 230 minutes of Premier League action this season, with just two of his six appearances coming as starts under Mourinho.
Asked about Bale – on a season-long loan from Madrid, Mourinho replied: “I’m doing my best; he’s doing his best. Everybody is doing their best.”