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TOTTERING SPurs Warning signs flashing for Spurs as Jose Mourinho's old script is revived

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 Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho ( Adam Davy/PA Wire)

Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho ( Adam Davy/PA Wire)

Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho ( Adam Davy/PA Wire)

Feuds with star players, dressing room bust-ups and rumours of unrest have been a theme of Jose Mourinho's recent managerial postings and now the setting has been switched to Tottenham.

After Mourinho refused to deny suggestions that he had a major dressing room row with defender Serge Aurier mid-way through Thursday night's defeat against Liverpool, his hint that his defenders were to blame for conceding soft goals against Jurgen Klopp's side did little to quell any discontent among his players.

"The performance against Liverpool was totally affected by individual mistakes that gave them goals," he declared, on a night when Ireland defender Matt Doherty was among those who looked uneasy in the Spurs backline.

"One thing is mistakes and another thing is not to be good enough. That's a different story.

"I don't say that at all. Everybody has to assume their responsibilities and try to improve.

"The reality is that you don't need me to comment because you saw the game and you can give many directions to your analysis.

"You always end in the goals because the goals were the crucial parts of the game."

Absent

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Aaron Connolly

Aaron Connolly

Aaron Connolly

With Harry Kane ruled out of the trip to Brighton with an ankle injury, Gareth Bale could be handed the chance to make a first Premier League start since November 8th, with Mourinho not convinced he is a natural replacement for his absent No.10.

"I don't think Bale is a striker, I don't think he likes to play as a striker," stressed Mourinho.

"It was something that we spoke when he joined us, he was very objective with me, by saying he doesn't feel he is a left-winger like he was before, he doesn't feel like he is a No.10 like he was before, too.

"The position that he likes to play is the position where we are playing him every minute we give him, which is the right side of the attack.

"Of course, when you lose a player of Harry's quality and dimension, the other guys have to step up. And hopefully he can help us."

The option of using Dele Alli in a revamped team could be open to Mourinho, yet the attacking midfielder remains an outsider in his plans, amid continued links with a move to Paris Saint-Germain ahead of Monday's transfer deadline.

Yet the attacking cupboard is overflowing for Mourinho compared to last season when his campaign crumbled following an injury to Kane.

Now he has Carlos Vinicius, Son Heung-min, Lucas Moura, Bale and Alli to call-upon for a game against a Brighton side that has won just one of their last eleven Premier League matches.

The visit of Spurs to the AMEX Stadium will revive positive memories for Ireland striker Aaron Connolly, who made his breakthrough with two goals in this fixture last season.

Connolly told the Sunday World last year that he has struggled to build on his two-goal display against Tottenham in October 2019.

His manager Graham Potter has backed the Galway-born striker to bounce back after scoring just three goals in since then.

"When he scored those goals against Spurs, everything went for him," said Potter.

"But the key - especially to sustain a career at this level - you have got to do it week in, week out.

Attributes

"He has got some really good attributes, he is exciting and we believe in him but at the same time, he is young and learning to be a Premier League player, a Premier League goalscorer.

"I think he has to concentrate on what he is really good at, which is being direct, pressing the opponent, understanding how he won't be perfect, that he will make mistakes."

  • Brighton v Tottenham, Premier lLeague, today, 7.15pm, Sky Sports

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