Gary Neville believes Jose Mourinho’s body language during defeat to Manchester United on Sunday represents a huge concern for Tottenham.
Spurs were left six points outside the top four after crashing to a 3-1 loss to United, despite having taken the lead at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
With seven league games left their chances of qualifying for next season’s Champions League are fading fast, and a win over Manchester City in this month’s Carabao Cup final looks to be their only hope of salvaging the season.
Tottenham saw Son Heung-min’s opener cancelled out by Fred on Sunday, before Edinson Cavani and Mason Greenwood scored late goals to earn a crucial three points for United.
And Neville said Mourinho’s reaction to his team going behind is a “real worry” for Spurs fans.
“In the last five or six minutes, it didn’t look like an invigorated Jose Mourinho on the touchline, urging his team forward or driving his team forward,” the Sky Sports pundit said on The Gary Neville Podcast.
Looking ahead to the Carabao Cup final on April 25, Neville added: “It’s a massive day for Tottenham in two weeks – a big day for Jose Mourinho and a big day for these players.
“They could raise their game, there’s no doubt they’ve got players who could cause City problems, but I just looked to him in those last five or 10 minutes and there was a blankness on his face where he just didn’t look engaged and that would be a worry.
“With 10 minutes to go, you’re sometimes wary of calling the game in terms of Manchester United, but you almost felt like United were in complete control – Spurs weren’t throwing any punches.
“You expect a team at home who are one goal behind to be throwing punches with 10 minutes to go.”
Neville said he wasn’t claiming that Mourinho had lost the dressing room – but insisted that Spurs’ apparent lack of desire “didn’t feel right”.
“Even when United were in the corner and running the clock down, there wasn’t that urgency to go and win the ball back,” he said.
“Usually you see teams scrambling to get the ball back, fighting with players, pushing them off and I didn’t see it.
“That would be a real worry for me. It’s body language, it’s the intent that you want to see in a team. I didn’t like what I saw in the second half from Spurs and that’s not to say they’ve turned on the manager, he’s lost the changing room, I’m not saying those things, but I didn’t like it. It didn’t feel right.”