Jose Mourinho says he intends to get Tottenham back “where we belong” after they qualified for the Europa League with a hard-fought draw at Crystal Palace.
The result saw Spurs leapfrog into sixth place above Wolves, who lost at Chelsea.
“When all the players are available, we showed in this last period where we belong,” Mourinho said.
“I don’t know, maybe in this period, after lockdown, we finished third or fourth in the table. So that’s where we belong.
“I want to have my team, my players, not a medical room full of players. I want a pitch full of players.
“Of course as a squad, the main thing is to keep our very good players and after that improve the squad.
“Are we going to buy 10 players? No. Are we going to buy players for £100m? No. We are going to improve.”
Harry Kane opened the scoring for Spurs, dispatching a low finish into the bottom left corner after collecting Giovani lo Celso’s pass.
However, Jeffrey Schlupp levelled for Palace with a close-range finish after some poor Tottenham marking at a corner.
It was no more than Roy Hodgson’s side deserved, as they ended a run of seven straight defeats.
They matched their London rivals for endeavour and could have snatched all three points, with Scott Dann heading a late effort wide.
Palace need more goals
While this was a welcome point and performance from Palace, it also perfectly characterised their entire campaign.
The Eagles may well have steered clear of the relegation battle but they ended the season with their lowest points tally since Hodgson took charge in September 2017.
That has largely been due to a lack of goals, with Palace having the second-worst scoring record in the top flight, after bottom club Norwich.
It has not helped that the contributions of both Wilfried Zaha and Serbia midfielder Luka Milivojevic have dropped off significantly this term.
Both reached double figures in 2018-19 but have mustered just seven goals between them this time around.
To underscore the point, Palace registered 13 efforts against Spurs, but just two were on target.
“Even if the intention and desire from the board is to spend some money and rejuvenate the team, whether it’s a possibility in the market is another matter,” Hodgson said.
“Unless we get help soon, the job gets harder and harder. We need some players who can do what Harry Kane did for Tottenham today.”
Dann and Jordan Ayew should both have at least worked Hugo Lloris from close range on the left side of the Tottenham penalty area.
And Hodgson, who has repeatedly stressed his desire to bolster his squad, now has around seven weeks to rectify the issue before the 2020-21 Premier League gets under way on 12 September.
Mission accomplished for Spurs
It appeared to be a case of mission accomplished for Mourinho and his staff at the final whistle as they celebrated the prospect of playing in Europe next term.
The result means that Spurs are guaranteed to earn a minimum of around £10m for their involvement in European competition next season.
However, few Tottenham supporters could have imagined such a difficult campaign – or that the Portuguese boss would take charge less than six months on from their appearance in last season’s Champions League final.
When Mourinho succeeded Mauricio Pochettino as manager, the club were languishing in 14th in the table.
“Of course everybody that one day plays Champions League doesn’t want to go back and play Europa League – but it was the only thing possible after such a difficult season for the club,” Mourinho added.
“Arriving 14th and handling things is not bad at all. I am quite happy that next season we play in the Europa League and it’s just a question to motivate ourselves for that competition and try to motivate the fans to support us and do something beautiful.”
While Mourinho has overseen an upturn in results and the number of goals they have scored, he is yet to remedy their problems in defence.
Eric Dier put in an accomplished performance alongside Toby Alderweireld on his return from suspension, but Palace’s equaliser is likely to have infuriated the Spurs boss.
His defenders stood like statues as Dann headed a deep corner back across goal, with Schlupp converting after Ayew had diverted the ball into his path.
Until then, Tottenham had looked capable of extending their lead via the pace and power of Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura, on the break.
Man of the match – Lucas Moura (Tottenham)
Capital joy for Kane – the stats
- Crystal Palace are unbeaten in their past five final-day Premier League games played at home (W4 D1).
- Tottenham Hotspur registered just eight clean sheets in their 38 Premier League games in 2019-20, their lowest tally of shutouts in the competition since 2010-11 (also eight).
- Crystal Palace have become just the eighth team to go through an entire Premier League season without scoring more than twice in a match and are the first side to do so without being relegated.
- Tottenham have finished the Premier League campaign in the top six for the 11th consecutive season, after managing to do so just twice in their previous 17 seasons in the competition.
- Only Andy Cole (nine), Les Ferdinand (nine) and Matt Le Tissier (eight) have scored more Premier League goals on the final day than Tottenham striker Harry Kane (seven in six final-day games).
- Giovani lo Celso’s two Premier League assists for Tottenham have come in his past three appearances in the competition (28 games in total).
- Tottenham striker Harry Kane netted his 31st goal in Premier League London derbies, with only three players managing more (Thierry Henry got 43, Teddy Sheringham and Frank Lampard each got 32).
- Crystal Palace midfielder Jeffrey Schlupp has netted three goals in his past six Premier League appearances, as many as he managed in his previous 40 in the competition.