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Mourinho: My team did opposite of what I told them at half-time

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(Jeffrey Schlupp 81) (Harry Kane 23)

Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho claimed his players did the exact opposite of what he told them to do at half-time as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace on Sunday (Dec 13).

Harry Kane’s 23rd-minute goal had put leaders Tottenham on course for a fifth away win of the season in the English Premier League, but Palace dominated for much of the second half.

Jeffrey Schlupp equalised after a spill by Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris in the 81st minute before Tottenham then finished strongly, only to be denied victory by a string of saves from Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita.

While Tottenham stretched their unbeaten league run to 11 games, a win would have cemented their place at the top.

“I told the players at half-time the exact opposite of what we did in the second half but that’s because of what they couldn’t do,” Mourinho told reporters.

“If I look to the last 10 minutes of the game, (it’s two points dropped), if I look at the first 45 minutes, yes, but from 45 to 75 minutes, we couldn’t play or build from the back and we made lots of mistakes.

“A team like them, they can create and fight in the box. If I split the game into three parts – we lost two points.”

Mourinho refused to blame Lloris for Schlupp’s equaliser after the Frenchman could only parry out Eberechi Eze’s inswinging free-kick.

“My goalkeeper is the best goalkeeper in the Premier League, the best in the Premier League, period. If I have to blame anyone, it’s the team,” the Portuguese coach said.

Mourinho also explained why Gareth Bale was not on the bench, saying the Wales forward was ill, but it's “not Covid” and should be back for the trip to Liverpool on Thursday morning (Singapore time).

Palace manager Roy Hodgson said his side had deserved the point that keeps them in mid-table.

“I thought the performance throughout was very good, even in the first half when we came in at one down,” he said.

“It looked for long spells that our pressure and taking the game to Tottenham might not pay off so when we got it I felt it was a reward for the effort the players put in.” – REUTERS