Sheffield United v Tottenham Hotspur – Premier League – Bramall Lane – Sunday 2pm – Preview
I think it’s fair to say that Jose Mourinho has had better weeks.
Tottenham’s ‘Tortoise and the Hare’ performance against Fulham drew a string of criticism from the N17 faithful, concerned that the Lilywhites lack of bite and ultimately, concentration will extend their agonising wait for silverware of any notable description.
And who can blame them? Tottenham passed up enough chances to win three matches before taking their foot off the accelerator against the Cottagers – More of the same will not be tolerated by the fans, but what does the manager require from his charges to change the status quo?
“We need to score the goals we can and not make mistakes that punish us,” was Mourinho’s obvious answer.
“If you compare Hugo performance with Areola performance, you have an answer. Areola made I believe a couple of impossible saves that would kill the match, also the post, then a defensive mistake and a goal.
!That’s it. It looks complicated but it’s simple, a basic analysis of the game.
“Apart from that we can discuss many, many things, of course, I don’t want, I’m the first one to dig deep to try to understand what my team can improve and has to improve. I am the first one to do it. Going to the basics, you score goals, kill matches, you don’t score goals, you stay in the limit.
“If you don’t make a defensive mistake you end by winning, if you make a defensive mistake you can be punished.”
If Tottenham are to harbour further title ambitions, defeat at Sheffield United is not an option. However, they will face a Blades side fresh from a long-overdue first league victory of the season. Belief bolstered amongst Chris Wilder’s charges that they can fashion a charge away from the foot of the table.
Indeed, the Blades beat Tottenham on their last visit to the Steel City, but how does Mourinho compare the two scenarios? “The same, I don’t look at the table,” the Lilywhites chief added.
“Of course, I look but I go deeper than that. They’re not the worst team in the Premier League at all. They’re a much, much, much better team than what the table says, you analyse their matches and many times the opponent was not better than them.
“Many times it was one of the small big details that decide the points, decides the score, decides the table. Many times they lose 1-0, they draw 1-1, they are a very good team. If in our mind we’re going to play the worst team in the Premier League we’re going to be in big trouble.”
Jeevesie’s prediction: Sheffield United 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur