Jose Mourinho felt his Tottenham side did “very, very well” after going down to a 2-1 defeat at Chelsea on Saturday in another abject display.
Chelsea struck a significant blow in the fight for the top four places with a fully deserved victory over a disappointing Spurs at Stamford Bridge.
In a confrontation billed as a battle between Frank Lampard and his old mentor Mourinho, Spurs could have leapfrogged Chelsea with victory but were outplayed and are now adrift by four points.
Goals from Olivier Giroud and Marcos Alonso sealed the victory, while Antonio Ridiger’s late own goal gave Spurs hope but they did not deserve anything from the game and were lucky that Giovani Lo Celso was not shown a red card after a mistake by VAR.
The Argentine should have been sent-off for a clear stamp on Cesar Azpilicueta, but the VAR official decided it was not a clear and obvious mistake by referee Michael Oliver – only for Stockley Park to later admit that the decision was wrong.
Speaking after the game, Mourinho told BBC Sport: “I think you are going to be very bored with me, because I think I’m going to be very repetitive. I’m going to say exactly the same words I told against Leipzig.
“I’m very proud of the players, they gave absolutely everything. We don’t have a striker. Our attacking players are not strikers and are in huge levels of fatigue, so very, very difficult for us. No tactical problems, [we were] completely in control of the space, punished by a couple of individual mistakes.
“In the last part of the game when Chelsea was scared of the 2-1 we didn’t have that presence, that power, we didn’t have that to do more than what we did.
“To create chances you need a target man or fast people that can interchange positions, you need a different dynamic to the team. We don’t have a striker and we have tired players, it’s as simple as that.
“We did very, very well. If we score before our opponent, I think we have a chance because we are well organised. But when they score before us and drop back it’s very, very difficult for us.
“A defeat is a defeat, but the good thing is, in the last seconds the players were still fighting for a result and that for me is a very important thing.”
On Lo Celso’s challenge: “I didn’t watch it. I didn’t watch on TV and in the game. I don’t know.”
On returning to Stamford Bridge: “I didn’t feel anything, honest. I was focused on the game, I didn’t feel anything. No problem.”