Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho says he feels he needs to field 15 players to avoid criticism about leaving one of his star men out of the team.
The rant came after Steven Bergwijn’s telling second-half display helped Spurs beat Newcastle on Wednesday.
The Dutchman replaced Lucas Moura after 57 minutes and, three minutes later, supplied Harry Kane to restore Tottenham’s lead.
After Spurs‘ 3-1 win at St James’ Park, a reporter asked Mourinho what Bergwijn has to do to earn a start. The attacker was a regular feature before the lockdown but has started three of seven games since.
In response, Mourinho referenced a host of other players and managers in his efforts to set the record straight.
“Look, that is a question you normally do to me but you do not do to Frank Lampard, to Jurgen Klopp, to Pep [Guardiola], to all the coaches of the big clubs with big players,” the Portuguese said (via Sky Sports News).
“Frank Lampard plays [Christian] Pulisic, you don’t ask him why he doesn’t start [Callum] Hudson-Odoi or something. When Pep Guardiola plays someone and Bernardo Silva is on the bench, you never ask about Bernardo Silva.
“It looks like I am the only guy that has to play 15 players from the start, or I am the only guy who doesn’t have the right to have good players on the bench.
“If I start with Bergwijn today, you would now be asking me what Lucas [Moura] has to do to start, what [Heung-Min] Son has to do to start.”
MOURINHO: BERGWIJN A ‘TEAM PLAYER’
Mourinho added that Bergwijn’s role in the team has not diminished due to his recent spate of substitute outings.
“They have to do nothing,” he said. “They have to be team players and team players are player that start that go on the bench, that come in for half-an-hour, that come in for one minute.
“How many times has Nuno [Espirito Santo] left [Adama] Traore on the bench to win matches in the last 30 minutes. You don’t ask Nuno why Traore is on the bench and why he’s playing [Diogo] Jota or [Daniel] Podence or [Leander] Dendoncker. It’s just me.
“So he doesn’t have to do anything else, he’s a team player. He plays for Tottenham and if Tottenham wants to try and compete against the best teams, Tottenham cannot have 11 good players.
“They need more and we’ll have them on the bench.”
Kane scored two second-half goals for Spurs against Newcastle to take his tally since the lockdown to four.
The result also boosted Tottenham’s hopes of a Europa League finish.
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