In the early days of his time in charge at Tottenham Hotspur, Jose Mourinho suggested that the squad he inherited from Mauricio Pochettino was perhaps a little too nice.
“Teams of good guys, they never win,” he said in Amazon’s behind the scenes documentary.
“Good guys” or nice teams tend not to enjoy trips to Turf Moor on a cold October evening and indeed Spurs failed to win in their last two trips to East Lancashire.
But the manner of their 1-0 win against Sean Dyche’s side suggested that Mourinho’s team are now made of sterner stuff.
“This is the kind of match with all the ingredients to lose two points and sometimes three. We prepared… well but it is the game that without character and determination you lose points here so I am very happy,” he said after Son Heung-min’s 76th minute header settled a dour encounter.
“I said before the game this was not the game for beautiful football or the game to score many goals. Sean Dyche knows how to organise a team and to stop the better teams from playing through it,” he said.
In many ways it was a classic Mourinho approach — Spurs were solid at the back, hard-working and physical in midfield but with the prolific Son, who now has a league-leading eight goals, alongside Harry Kane and Lucas Moura, there was always a threat.
“I want the team to go to every match to win it, home away Premier League, Europa League, you can lose or draw but go to win it. This is something special, a change of mentality, of philosophy,” he said.
After giving up a three goal lead to draw 3-3 with West Ham in their last game, Mourinho felt they was a real strength in his team’s mental approach.
“I have the feeling again that after we felt the pain, got the points in a positive way that tonight it is not going to happen and we are not going to concede. If we are not going to score lots of goals we cannot concede and everyone fought for that.”
Reuters | BURNLEY, England