July 17, 2020 / 2:37 PM / 20 days ago

Mourinho says Spurs are Champions League level team

(Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho believes Europa League qualification is the least the club deserve after coming through a difficult campaign but said the players at his disposal are of Champions League level.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur - St James' Park, Newcastle, Britain - July 15, 2020 Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho before the match, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pool via REUTERS/Stu Forster

Tottenham were 14th in the Premier League standings when Mourinho took charge of the north London club last November, and have surged up to seventh with two games remaining.

Only title winners Liverpool, Manchester City and in-form Manchester United have recorded more points than Spurs since Mourinho’s arrival, despite losing his key players to injuries.

“I think Spurs would be even better than that without all the problems that we had,” Mourinho told a news conference ahead of Tottenham’s clash against Leicester City on Sunday. “No other team had even similar problems.

“The fact that we are fourth (in the form table) since my arrival, without (Hugo) Lloris, Harry Kane, (Moussa) Sissoko and Son (Heung-min), is a good reflection of the potential we have.

“The minimum we deserve is to finish in a position that keeps us in European football, a competition that is not our level, we are better than that. We need to win these two matches now.”

Victory against Leicester and Crystal Palace on the final day of the season will guarantee Spurs at least a seventh-placed finish as well as a Europa League spot, as long as ninth-placed Arsenal fail to win the FA Cup.

Mourinho said he is motivating his players to win the final two games of the season with the talk of winning Europa League next year.

“I’m telling the players, two more victories to win the Europa League,” he said.

“I know it’s not like that, I know the Europa League is a long competition and of course has some good teams.

“It’s just a feeling to try to motivate the boys because our level is Champions League.”

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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