Jose Mourinho has accused some of his Tottenham players of ‘hiding’ during their 2-1 defeat to Arsenal in the north London derby on Sunday.
Strikes from Martin Odegaard and Alexandre Lacazette ensured the Gunners took all three points from the clash at the Emirates Stadium after Erik Lamela’s unbelievable rabona had opened the scoring.
Despite taking the lead against their fierce rivals, Mourinho blasted his side’s first-half display, claiming they didn’t deserve to head into the break on level terms and accused some of his senior players of failing to rise to the occasion.
“I think we played really bad in the first half,” Mourinho told Sky Sports (via the Evening Standard). “The 1-1 was not a fair reflection of the first half. We were poor.
“Defending bad, no intensity, no pressing, even in terms of creating attacking football, some important players hiding. First half, really bad.”
When asked to expand on his comment, Mourinho replied: “I am not even going in the direction of individuals because the team is a team, I belong to the team. I am guilty of that first half as [much as] the players. The good thing in that we really improved in the second half. Even before the changes.”
Arsenal’s winning goal on the afternoon came via the penalty spot after Davinson Sanchez was penalised for a challenge on Lacazette and the Frenchman dusted himself to convert the resulting spot kick.
Mourinho was clearly unhappy with the awarding of the penalty which ultimately cost Spurs a point, though he was pleased with the reaction of his team following their poor first-half showing.
“In the second half we had space to improve, which we did,” he added. “And then it is a question, but an impossible question because they do not speak, for Michael [Oliver, the referee] to answer.
“Probably Paul Tierney too, because he was the VAR. According to Kevin Friend [the fourth official], the referee said he had a clear vision and the VAR did not want to go against him.
“In the second half, we recovered control of the game, made changes to try to win, and then the penalty. And then a second yellow card for Lamela. But in the last 20-25 minutes, the team tried to get a different result.”