Jose Mourinho says Tottenham top-four finish would be his biggest achievement

Dan Kilpatrick
REUTERS

Jose Mourinho has claimed finishing in the top four with Tottenham this season would be his greatest achievement and says no team in Europe is in a worse situation with injuries.

Mourinho's returns to his former club Chelsea on Saturday with just one point separating Spurs from the fourth-placed Blues after an 11-point swing since the Portuguese's appointment.

But the visitors will be without top-scorers Harry Kane and Heung-min Son at Stamford Bridge, with Mourinho having said neither forward will play a significant part in the remainder of the season.

The two-time Champions League winner has previously said that finishing second with Manchester United in 2017-18 is his greatest achievement but, asked if a top-four finish with Spurs would surpass that feat, he said: "In these circumstances, yes.

"Sonny and Harry score the majority of Tottenham goals. If we manage to finish fourth without Harry and Sonny would be something incredible for the boys. We have to give everything we have."

Mourinho used Dele Alli and Lucas Moura as false No.9s in Wednesday's 1-0 defeat to RB Leipzig and he is likely to be reliant on the duo and Steven Bergwijn for firepower again on Saturday.

With another tough spell to follow the trip across London and the threat of an FA charge hanging over Alli, Mourinho believes the situation could get worse before it gets better.

"The position is so, so, so specific and it's very difficult to find an adaptation for the striker position," he said. "If you lose four right-backs, you play [Oliver] Skipp or [Moussa] Sissoko right-back. If you lose centre backs you can play, [Eric] Dier or [Ben] Davies centre-back.

"The specificity of the striker position is very difficult. You cannot say Davinson Sanchez go play centre-forward. That's the way it is. We have to go to game with everything we have.

"It worries me a lot, the fact that the situation cannot be better. It can only get worse! Wolves, Norwich, Burnley – then three weeks later we play Leipzig after three matches in eight days. Very hard. Good experience, a good test of the players' resilience and spirit and a unique experience for them. We go together because next season we'll smile because we'll be in a very different situation.

"I would choose to move quickly to July 1 and start pre-season with my players, without injuries, going to the Premier League on day one with the same points as everybody else," Mourinho continued. "But it's not about me – it's about us, the club.

"The boys did fantastic to put themselves back in the positions where we belong, fighting for the top four. The situation is difficult. Nobody else in the Premier League, for sure, but even in European football is in such a difficult situation as we are in terms of injuries in specific positions.

"It was really hard for the boys to be in this position. I remember when I arrived, my first conversation with them was, 'Don't look at the table, forget you're 12 points behind fourth, don't put any targets. Go match after match, see where this can take us.'

"We went in three months from closer to relegation, which was never a problem, to one point behind the top four. Amazing effort by everyone. So now we're in this position, we earned the right to fight for it. It's difficult. In this moment, a lot of people think impossible. OK, but we're going to fight. Looking at this match, the only thing that matters now: 'Let's go'."

Mourinho will also be without Juan Foyth and Sissoko but the Frenchman has started training outdoors following knee surgery and Mourinho expects him to be back for the start of April. Erik Lamela is still not training with the squad but Mourinho said the Argentine should be involved from the bench on Saturday.

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