Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho believes clubs like Crystal Palace have the advantage of playing without any pressure as he prepares for Sunday’s Premier League clash against Roy Hodgson’s side.
While Tottenham are scrapping for the top-four finish many feel is the least the club should be aiming for, Palace are in 13th spot, well clear of the relegation danger area.
“They are a very good team, it is going to be difficult, we need points more than them because if their objective is to be stable in the middle of the table then they are going to have that,” Mourinho told reporters.
“If we want to go up the table of course we need points. If (Palace) win great, if they lose they don’t feel any pressure from media or fans, it is just a nice way to play and compete.”
Palace manager Hodgson, who would probably beg to differ with Mourinho’s claim, has forward Wilfried Zaha back for the London derby after being unavailable for a month because of a hamstring injury.
“He’s trained well this week, there’s no reason why I can’t consider him for a place in the team,” Hodgson said.
“We’re really pleased to have him back, as well as Jeff Schlupp. It’s good to see him back as well, so that’s two of the important players we’ve been missing in the last five or six games back with us again.”
Successive league wins have pushed Tottenham back into contention for a top-four finish. They are in eighth spot, five points behind fourth-placed Chelsea with a game in hand.
They are also in the last 16 of the Europa League where they will face Dinamo Zagreb over two legs, while there is also a north London derby at Arsenal looming.
“March will be so hard for us, only one match at home and then after that everything is away, plus two Europa League matches, plus national teams with all the controversy and perils we are going to face with that,” Mourinho said.
“March is going to be very, very hard. If we can add three points to our total it will be good.”
Tottenham are unlikely to have Giovani Lo Celso fit for the Palace game, although he could be in contention for next week’s Europa League home clash with Zagreb having returned to training following a hamstring injury.