José Mourinho did not want to speak about Harry Kane. The pain of losing his talismanic striker to a hamstring rupture until April was too raw. “If I speak too much, I get depressed,” the Tottenham manager said. “And then you say I’m miserable and in a bad mood. It’s better to speak about things that make me laugh .”

Mourinho wanted to present an image of radiant positivity as he sat down to preview the visit of the Premier League’s runaway leaders, Liverpool, in the Saturday’s teatime kick-off. He was shaved and nicely coiffured, looking good. How was he feeling, one reporter asked. “Amazing,” he replied, flashing a full-beam smile.
At one point, he draped an arm around his press officer and said the daunting challenge of Liverpool did not worry him. “In this room, only two persons think that we can win but we believe,” he said, before turning to the press officer who, by now, was looking a little uncomfortable. “If you don’t believe, get out, man ww88 !”
So let’s talk about the things that could make Mourinho smile. Since taking over from Mauricio Pochettino on 20 November, he has closed the gap on the top four from 11 points to six. Toby Alderweireld has signed a new contract – saving the club a fortune on a potential replacement centre-half. And Dele Alli has rediscovered his form. Mourinho made the point that Hugo Lloris and Ben Davies would be back from long-term injuries by the end of the month, which would be like having “two new players”.
But Mourinho’s Happy One act was never going to last for the whole show and, equally, he knew that he was going to speak about Kane, not least because his audience would demand it. What he said caught the true mood at the club, one that has darkened significantly over the past few weeks and feels extremely edgy as the hierarchy attempts to navigate the transfer window.
“We don’t have another one – there is not a striker in the squad,” Mourinho said. “We have only one, he is not fit; we don’t have another one. You know that you cannot play like we normally play when Harry Kane is not in the team. The only thing I can tell you is that, of course, we cannot do the same way [as we do] with Harry.”
It is a remarkable state of affairs when a Champions League club has only one senior striker and Mourinho was not about to disagree. Pochettino usually turned to the wide forward Son Heung-min when Kane was unavailable but Mourinho is less comfortable with this arrangement w88 mobile .
“He isn’t a striker,” Mourinho said of Son. “Danny Rose can play right wing. But he’s a left-back. It’s as simple as that. Davinson Sánchez can play striker tomorrow but he’s a central defender. A striker, what I call a No 9, a target man, Son is not.
“Some clubs have four and five [strikers]. If it’s true that Inter Milan is buying [Olivier] Giroud [from Chelsea] … Giroud, [Romelu] Lukaku, Lautaro Martínez, Alexis Sánchez – some teams, they have four. Inter is one example. I can find more.”
For Mourinho, the problems have mounted, with Kane not the only new long-term absentee – Moussa Sissoko is also out until April after knee ligament surgery. The team have not played well since the 2-0 home defeat against Chelsea on 22 December. Defensively, they have been loose and error-strewn, which is un-Mourinho-like; there have been issues with the balance of the midfield and not enough penetration in the final third.