EPL

Tottenham's top-four hopes do not rest on Everton clash, insists Mourinho

By Sports Desk April 15, 2021

Jose Mourinho insists Tottenham's hopes of a top-four Premier League finish will not be over if they fail to beat Everton on Friday. 

Sunday's 3-1 home defeat to Manchester United left Spurs in seventh, six points adrift of fourth-placed West Ham. 

That result meant Tottenham have dropped 18 points from winning positions in the Premier League this season, with only Brighton and Hove Albion (20) losing more. 

They will hope to bounce back from that disappointment against an Everton side who are also in the hunt for a Champions League qualification spot, with Carlo Ancelotti's men just a point and a place behind Spurs, having played a game less. 

Mourinho acknowledged it is an important game for both sides, but the Portuguese believes there is ample time for Spurs to claw their way back into top-four contention if they do not return to London with all three points. 

"We are very close, but there are more clubs around, with a few more points, some others with a few less," he said.

"With more than 20 points on the table, it's still open. The winner gets the points and stops the loser. 

"Understandably, I don't think anything is going to be decided but if one of the two teams wins and gets an advantage that can be important in the direct duel, not in relation to all the others around.

"This match is very important as the distance between the two teams is very short. Of course, they have one match in hand. 

"The distance is short. They have similar objectives. They are going to fight with us to try and get the best possible position and see if we and them can get a European position. It's an important match."

Tottenham are unbeaten in their last seven away league games against Everton (W3 D4), while the Toffees have won just one of their last eight Premier League home games (D2 L5).

Despite this, Mourinho is well aware of the threat they pose to his side. 

"They are going in the right direction," he added. "They've got a big coach; one of the best in the world. They've got important players and they've got a very good squad. It's just the beginning for them. 

"Of course, this Everton is different from previous seasons. Nobody better than Carlo. I see a very good future. They have everything. They didn't play in Europe, they had complete weeks to work and develop. 

"They can play in different systems. They have talent in attack. Quality in midfield. Physicality behind. They have a tactical culture. They have a very good combination."

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    "We definitely want to keep Erling with us next season. You can see his value, you saw how committed he is last Saturday against Leipzig, with joy.

    "Besides we still have it in our own hands, we just have to win twice more now. We have managed the club solidly for so many years, when we go into the second or third year of the coronavirus, then we have to take out a few loans at some point we will pay them back.

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    Watzke also casually revealed that interim head coach Edin Terzic had extended his deal with the club to presumably work as an assistant under Marco Rose.

    "Edin Terzic did a great job," he said. "He took over the team in December, it was half dead, and he brought it to life. That is a huge achievement at his first coaching station.

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    "He's a Dortmund boy, he lives and breathes the club. If Edin wants to do something different, then we have to work with him. But we won't do that now."

    Terzic was delighted with the DFB-Pokal success but remained focused on the bigger picture, with Dortmund determined to confirm a top four league spot with two games to play.

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    "Now we all deserve to enjoy this evening tonight but the season is not over for us yet."

    Outgoing Leipzig head coach Julian Nagelsmann, who will finish his time at the club without a trophy, said it was a "painful" loss.

    "You can imagine that I'm not doing well but it's not about me, it's about the club," he said.

    "It's painful. I know what the headlines are like now… We still have two Bundesliga games that are not that pleasant. I'm not thinking about my move [to Bayern Munich] now.

    "I'm proud of the boys. "We weren't the worse team, we just scored fewer goals. Dortmund makes a lot out of a little."

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