London (AFP) – Jose Mourinho believes his Tottenham Hotspur side must adapt quickly to the “new reality” of playing matches without any fans when they resume their Premier League campaign against Manchester United on June 19.
Spurs faced Norwich City in a friendly with no spectators at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Friday of this week, with all remaining Premier League matches set to be played behind closed doors as a health measure in response to the coronavirus pandemic that led the English top flight to shut down for several months.
“It was a good training session,” Mourinho told the club’s website following a match divided into four periods of 30 minutes to give more players the chance of meaningful game time.
“We needed minutes, we needed to know the feeling of playing here without our supporters and to have this training session with another Premier League team is the best thing,” the Portuguese boss explained.
“We have to adapt to this new reality, which is what we tried to do, to have a feeling of playing with an empty stadium.
“The points are there to fight for, and with or without fans, the points are there on the pitch and ourselves and United will have to fight for them.”
Spurs will have to win the majority of their nine remaining league games if they are to qualify for the Champions League.
But in an encouraging sign for the north London club, the likes of Harry Kane, Moussa Sissoko, Son Heung-min and Steven Bergwijn all featured against Norwich after recovering from injury during lockdown.
Mourinho, a former Chelsea and Manchester United manager, added: “We decided to mix them and to give almost the same amount of minutes to everyone.
“We didn’t want any players to be into the limits of fatigue and of course nobody played the four periods…
“What we work on tactically we do in the training ground but the match was much more about competing, getting minutes, intensity and it’s very important to do it and to have this last week without any injuries.
“We all know that in these first matches, and in the friendlies, there’s also the risk of getting some injuries.”