‘Lazy’ Spurs slump to opening day defeat against Everton
Jose Mourinho criticises his Tottenham players for 'lazy pressing' following 1-0 home defeat against the Toffees
13 September, 2020 — By Dan Carrier
EVERTON 1 (Calvert-Lewin 55)
AN opening day home defeat at the hands of a new-look Everton side was a brutal reminder of the scale of the task Spurs manager Jose Mourinho faces in the Premier League this term.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s powerful header earned the Toffees a 1-0 win at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – the England striker connecting with Lucas Digne’s in-swinging free-kick in the 55th-minute to settle the tie.
With a new striker paramount to relieve the burden on Harry Kane’s shoulders, Spurs fans looked enviously at Everton’s big summer signing James Rodriguez.
The Columbian midfielder waltzed across the Tottenham pitch as if he’d been playing in the Premier League forever. His quality highlighted just how incomplete Mourinho’s squad really is.
After the game Mourinho couldn’t hide his frustrations as he criticised his “lazy” players. He said: “I am disappointed by the performance. We had a lazy press up front.
“The struggle starts in the way we didn’t press. Our pressure was very poor – I’d say it was lazy pressure. When you have lazy pressure your opponents can build from the back, and that’s what Everton did.”
Mourinho cited two good first-half chances for Matt Doherty and Dele Alli as positives – but lamented a general lack of sharpness across the team.
He added: “In the second-half, when they scored, we were not able to create any chances and they dominated the game. They were dangerous on the counter-attack.”
This defeat is the first time in five years Spurs have lost their season opener, and a career first for Mourinho.
Everton hadn’t beaten Tottenham at the Lane since 2008, and debut boys Emile Hojbjerg and Doherty were meant to offer a fresh start. But the difference between expectation and reality was a stone-cold sobering experience.
Alli started as one of a front three for Spurs, and went close just past the half-hour mark when, played in by Heung-Min Son, he struck a rising shot that forced a good save from Jordan Pickford. Surprisingly it was all the England midfielder would get to offer as he was hooked at half-time.
Doherty did well enough on the right, and nearly scored on his debut when he worked a great one-two with Kane, only to see his goal-bound effort deflected away by Pickford’s right shin.
But Everton were well worth the win. They looked after possession well, and found plenty of spaces to exploit. They were urgent in attack and patient in defence.
Mourinho’s side were neither – and when Spurs had fallen behind, looked bereft of ideas on how to get back into the match.
Second-half substitute Moussa Sissoko, brought on for Alli, got stuck on the right, and did little to disrupt Everton’s midfielders, while Kane was starved of service. Son lost the ball with despairing frequency, and Lucas Moura ran into too many dead ends.
The statistic that showed Spurs’ only effort on target in the second-half was a powerless header from distance by Moura summed up a worryingly lethargic performance. The scale of the task is daunting.
“I will be honest with the players, saying things I cannot say to you,” Mourinho told the press after the final whistle. “But I can say to them keep working.
“We do not have much time to think because on Thursday we have a knockout game in the Europa League, so there is not much time to cry or complain.”
Spurs: Lloris, Doherty (Ndombele, 76), Alderweireld, Dier, Davies, Hojbjerg, Winks (Bergwijn, 60), Moura, Alli (Sissoko, 45), Son, Kane
Substitutes not used: Sanchez, Lamela, Hart, Aurier
Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Mina, Keane, Digne, Doucoure, Allan, Gomes (Sigurdsson, 68), Rodriguez (Davies, 90+2), Calvert-Lewin (Kean, 89), Richarlison
Substitutes not used: Kenny, Walcott, Bernard, Virginia