Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho defends Liverpool tactics and insists he had to be "pragmatic"

Jose Mourinho

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho has launched a passionate defence of his tactics in Saturday's 1-0 defeat by Liverpool.

Spurs were criticised for their passive approach against the Premier League leaders, although Mourinho's side did miss chances to equalise in the second half.

And the Portuguese says the circumstances - Tottenham were without the injured Harry Kane, Hugo Lloris, Moussa Sissoko, Ben Davies and Tanguy Ndombele - forced him to be "pragmatic".

“It helps to [always] have the mentality to win the next match. It doesn’t matter which competition it is, how many injuries we have or what you’re trying to be," Mourinho told the Evening Standard.

“To have imagination, to be creative, to try to build something that can make you believe you can win the match, just like we were convinced we could beat Liverpool, that’s the way you create a winning mentality. 

“You go for every game and you try, even if you have to be more strategic than philosophical. Philosophical is when you follow a certain philosophy and everything is in place to follow it.

“But another thing is when you’re in trouble and you have to be pragmatic, creative and try to build something. That’s what we did against Liverpool.

“We tried to create something. Even the game plan, not just the way we started the game but the overall game plan, we tried to be in conditions to win.

"If I start the game the same way we played the last 25 minutes, we couldn’t [maintain it]. [Erik] Lamela couldn’t play 90 minutes that way, Giovani [Lo Celso] didn’t have the intensity to play that game for 90 minutes.

“You have to try to give the players that winning mentality even when you are in a difficult situation like we are. And that’s what we want to do. So we try again, we try to win again.

“I think by the reaction of the fans against Liverpool, they understood that the players did everything in that game and they didn’t get what they deserve. For a team that loses a match, it’s a very good feeling.”

Spurs return to action against Middlesbrough in an FA Cup third-round replay on Tuesday.

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