Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg recently demanded more “bravery” from Tottenham and Mourinho’s side “can’t win the title” unless they come out of their shell.
That is according to former Spurs man Darren Bent, speaking exclusively to Football Insider after a disappointing draw with Fulham last Wednesday.
Spurs have since followed up with a relatively convincing win against Sheffield United, but Hojbjerg was withering in his assessment of his teammates after the Fulham match: “[We need] More bravery, more focus in terms of organising the team and being solid as a team, it doesn’t mean you have to stand in your own box and defend.”
Spurs were considered one of the favourites to win the Premier League at one stage this season but have now fallen seven points behind leaders Manchester United, albeit with a game in hand.
And Bent believes that Mourinho’s reactive strategy will not make them title contenders.
Asked what he made of Hojbjerg’s comments, Bent told Football Insider: “I don’t think there’s a personnel issue because they have got good players. It could be something to do with Jose’s pragmatic approach to things where they go 1-0 up and then he says ‘ Right, let’s see it out.’
“On some occasions that will work but there’s gonna be a lot where it doesn’t. You can’t just try and win every game 1-0 and hit teams on the counter-attack.
“We see teams like Liverpool, when they’ve got the opposition on the ropes, they put the sword to their throat. That’s why I never really thought Spurs could win the league title.
“Rather than actually going and winning, I always thought they would try and pinch the title by nicking 1-0s here and there.
“I don’t think you can take a little like that, there’s gonna be games that you’re gonna have to go out there and win.”
Despite Mourinho’s defence-first approach, Spurs rank 12th in the league for clean sheets.
They have kept six in total, against Burnley, West Brom, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Leeds respectively.