Jose Mourinho went some way to explaining why Carlos Vinicius had not been playing after Tottenham’s 1-0 defeat to Chelsea on Thursday night.
With Harry Kane injured Tottenham boss Mourinho handed Vinicius his first Premier League start in the London derby against Chelsea.
Vinicius had only previously appeared as a substitute since his October loan from Benfica but stepped up in the absence of Kane, with Spurs reverting to a back four.
It was an experiment which did not pay off as Jorginho’s penalty handed Chelsea a 1-0 win. Mourinho claimed the first-half penalty was avoidable after Eric Dier kicked Timo Werner.
Spurs improved at half-time, but they could not fashion any clear-cut chances without Kane and Co.
Speaking to BT Sport, Mourinho said: “It was a bit of a struggle but how many chances did they have? We didn’t have the ball, correct, we didn’t create in the first half, correct.
“But the struggle was the penalty. In the end a penalty decides the game. In the end they score a penalty which is not a penalty that you say is a dangerous situation, one on one, almost scoring. It’s a penalty that is difficult to accept and to lose the game like this is a bit painful.
“But in the second half we were different and Lucas [Moura] and [Erik] Lamela helped to change the dynamic. The feeling I have is that we kept together until the end. To finish with a positive spirit helps.
“Vinicius is a player with an incredible spirit but his understanding of how to press is something he’s still not comfortable with. Then in the second half it was much more difficult for them, we pressed them much better and higher and in the second half I believe we deserved a little bit more.”
It will be interesting to see if Vinicius gets the nod against West Brom, but with Kane recovering quickly he is unlikely to be afforded too many more chances.
Tuchel wants a ‘killer instinct’
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel himself felt his team lacked the cutting edge in front of goal.
“(I’d like) a bit more killer instinct, a bit more aggressive in the box towards the goal, a more killer instinct would have been nice because we could have decided the game in the first half.
“During the whole match there were chances where we lacked a bit of determination in the box – but it is best that we have stuff to improve and still win.
“Every experience we make is a step forward if we are open to learn from it and there were moments, maybe the whole of the first-half where we completely controlled the game.”
While Mason Mount said Chelsea’s squad were reacting well to Tuchel’s approach.
“It is the style the manager wants us to play and it has been working well,” he told BT Sport.
“It is new, it is different for some of us players. We are all learning but it is obviously going well so far.
“It makes it difficult for any team we play against they don’t know what we are going to be coming with. I have been playing a bit deeper so being up in the box a little bit more I need to work on my finishing.”