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Mourinho keen to strengthen Tottenham squad after securing Europa League spot

By Daniel Lewis
Jose Mourinho

London, July 27: Jose Mourinho is looking to improve Tottenham's squad ahead of next season after finishing 2019-20 on a high by qualifying for the Europa League.

A 1-1 draw with London rivals Crystal Palace proved enough for Spurs to finish above Wolves, beaten 2-0 by Chelsea elsewhere on the final day, in sixth place.

And after winning four and drawing two of their final six games, Mourinho feels his side are capable of finishing in the top four next term with a bit more luck on the injury front and some new faces.

"When all the players are available we showed in this last period where we belong," he said at his post-match news conference.

"After lockdown we finished third or fourth in the table. That is where we belong. I want to have my team, my players, not a medical room full of players, a pitch full of players.

"We want to keep our very good players and after that improve the squad. Are we going to buy 10 players. No? Are we going to pay £100million for a player? No.

"But let's see. The market is very strange. I don't know if we will start working pre-season with any new players or something that is going to go through the whole period.

"We are going to keep the structure of the team because we have absolutely no interest in selling our best players.

"I enjoy working with [chief scout] Steve Hitchen and we are very connected with [Daniel] Levy and the board.

"We're going to do what is possible and hopefully next season we can give the fans a very good season."

Harry Kane's fifth goal in three matches gave Tottenham the lead inside 13 minutes at Selhurst Park, only for Palace to hit back through Jeffrey Schlupp early in the second half.

Mourinho concedes that his side were not at their best in Sunday's clash, which he puts down to the gruelling nature of an elongated campaign that has spanned 12 months.

"The game was hard," he said. "We didn't play well at all. I understand though that to play an entire season in one game is difficult.

"There was a lot of pressure. The players deserve it. I also have to say that Palace did very well. They played with incredible professionalism. This is England.

"I think it is down to pressure and the typical fatigue of a season of 12 months.

"People can say 'oh for two or three months you didn't play' but those months were probably even harder, to be at home, closed in and training on Zoom.

"It's a 12-month season so really, really difficult. It's an accumulation of things.

"I also have to say that Palace did very well. They played with incredible professionalism. This is England. This is England, I repeat."

After four successive years in the Champions League a season of Europa League football now awaits for Spurs, but Mourinho is focusing on the positives.

"I am quite happy that next season we play in Europa League," he said. "It's just a question of motivating ourselves for that competition and motivating the fans to support us and try to do something beautiful.

"Of course everybody that one day plays in the Champions League doesn't want to go back and play Europa League but it was the only thing possible after such a difficult season for the club, for the players and in my case also for myself."

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Story first published: Monday, July 27, 2020, 0:20 [IST]
Other articles published on Jul 27, 2020
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