Jose Mourinho's curious comments contradict Europa League focus
Those of us who argue that Tottenham Hotspur aren't "bottlers" waited for Sunday's visit of Manchester United with some trepidation. Then you saw the lineup Jose Mourinho sent out there and suddenly, you felt a whole lot more confidence. Tottenham ended up winning 2-1, but the whole affair was surreal and Mourinho explained just why after the game.
"It was a positive performance with a team that is not a team, but is a group of players that we put in place to play some matches where we have some pride ... [but which] are matches we don't want to play. We have only one match to play and that's not in the Premier League."
OK, so he's being brutally honest, right? All his eggs are in the Europa League basket, correct? A re-run of last week?
All that may be true and it may explain why we, once again, saw the "B Team" out there. But several things don't quite add up. For example, if Daley Blind will presumably be one of his starting center-backs in the Europa League final, why start him in this game? Not only that, but why play him at full-back? Or, again, Ander Herrera is tired and overworked, so you want to rest him for Ajax. Great. But then why send him on with half an hour to go and United 2-0 down?
Most of all, why even talk about things in this way? Why come out and say you don't want to be playing any more Premier League matches? Why describe your players, who presumably you work with every day in training, as "not a team"?
Win the Europa League and you can point to two major trophies (plus the Charity Shield, which he insists on counting) and a Champions League spot for next year and that's enough to keep the critics at bay. That's fine and that's great. But why rub people's faces in it?
To read more of Marcotti's thoughts on what happened over the previous week, click here.