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LONDON, Feb 19 — Jose Mourinho still believes Tottenham Hotspur can finish in the top four of the Premier League despite a poor run that has sent them tumbling down the table.
Spurs have slipped from top to ninth after a run of just three wins in the past 12 games, meaning they are now outsiders to secure Champions League qualification.
Mourinho’s men visit West Ham on Sunday — they are six points behind the fifth-placed Hammers with a game in hand.
“It’s very premature to think about the table,” said the Spurs manager. “People still have matches in hand. In our case, we played already two matches against Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City.
“There are other teams that didn’t even play a second game against one of the top teams.
“We have one match in hand. I know already that because Southampton has to play the quarter-finals of the FA Cup in the same week as we should play them, we’re not going to play that match.”
Mourinho said Spurs, who play City in the League Cup final in April, would fight to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
“Anything can happen,” the Portuguese boss added.
“We can finish top four, top six or outside the top six. We have to make sure the best possible thing is going to happen.”
The reverse fixture between the London rivals at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in October finished 3-3 after West Ham scored three goals in the final 10 minutes.
That draw had long-lasting consequences as Mourinho adopted a more pragmatic approach in order to tighten up defensively.
Former Chelsea and Manchester United manager Mourinho said that game against the Hammers was a microcosm of Spurs’ campaign.
“The first game against West Ham is a little bit of the reflection of our season and the reflection of some of our problems,” he explained.
“If we win that game you would all say we played amazingly well, which we did, we had an incredible first half, lots of quality, lots of dominance, we played really well but we didn’t win it and this is a reflection of many of our matches.” — AFP