Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho said Matt Doherty ‘struggled’ on his debut for the club because he’s not match fit.
The Republic of Ireland international made his first outing for Spurs as Mourinho’s side fell to a 1-0 defeat to Everton at home on the opening weekend of the campaign.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored in the second half to give the Toffees all three points against a flat Spurs side, who failed to muster much in the way of a response.
The pandemic has resulted in a pre-season like no other this summer and Doherty has barely trained with his new team-mates after featuring in two Nations League matches for Ireland in the last week. The Irishman was taken off in the 78th minute for Tanguy Ndombele.
Mourinho was unhappy with his side’s condition as a whole, accusing his players of applying a ‘lazy press’, but he name-checked Doherty as an example of the problem.
‘You can look to Doherty, a player who is normally in incredible condition. He didn’t have pre-season,’ said Mourinho in his post-match press conference.
‘He went direct from holidays to national team matches. No pre-season at all. Direct and not one single training session, direct from holidays to national team and he played two consecutive matches and today he was not Matt Doherty like he normally is. So these are the things that we knew could happen to us
In an earlier interview to Sky, Mourinho reiterated his belief that the 28-year-old’s condition didn’t allow him to play his normal game.
‘I could feel some of my players were not fit – Matt was struggling to play the way you want him to play,’ said Mourinho.
Dele Alli was removed at half-time in favour of Moussa Sissoko and Mourinho confirmed afterwards that it was a ‘tactical’ decision, rather than due to injury.
The former Chelsea boss was unhappy with his side’s pressing in forward areas and he criticised them for their ‘lazy’ press after the defeat.
‘I think the struggle was in the way we press, or the way we didn’t press. Our pressure was very poor. It was a lazy pressure,’ Mourinho said.
‘Lazy pressure. Up front. That is what I’m saying. That creates imbalance. I could also feel some of my players were unfit.’
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