Tottenham made it three league wins in arow on Sunday and Jose Mourinhoclaimed his players are starting to betterunderstand his style.
Jose Mourinho praised Tottenham’s progress after recovering from a “complicated” start to his tenure and believes his side are ready to push on next season.
A couple of first-half strikes from Harry Kane after James Justin’s own goal saw off Leicester City 3-0 on Sunday and made it three Premier League wins in a row for Spurs as they climbed into sixth place.
Mourinho inherited a side that were 14th and had won just three of their first 12 matches, but the north London club are now on course to qualify for the Europa League.
And Mourinho has hailed the character of his players to come through a tough spell before lockdown that saw them exit the FA Cup and Champions League in quick succession.
“The team is being a team. Even against Sheffield United we were a team, a bad team, but we were a team,” he said at his post-match news conference.
“I think the team is understanding better the principles of playing and what we want to do. I think it’s a good step.
“As I said, to come mid-season is always a complicated situation that I couldn’t imagine was so complicated after so many injuries.
“But it’s a situation that helps you to organise the next season.
“I think there are some important steps that we have done already and next pre-season when we start we are one step ahead.”
Spurs will secure a European spot should they finish above Wolves and Sheffield United, who are two and four points behind respectively and each hold a game in hand.
Seventh place may also be enough if Chelsea beat Arsenal in the FA Cup final, meanwhile, and Mourinho is looking to end the campaign on a high.
“I think we are one of the teams with more points after the break, and I think that is a very, very good feeling,” he told Sky Sports.
“Now we have to fight to finish sixth, but it doesn’t just depend on us. We have to win and that is difficult to do at Crystal Palace, but we have to wait for something from others.
“If not, seventh, because that is what we can achieve dependent on others.
“We will still depend on the FA Cup, but getting or not getting to the Europa League, the feeling of what we are doing, what we are improving, is very important for next season.”
Tottenham’s win over a depleted Leicester side came despite them having just 29.5-per-cent possession – their lowest share in a league game since September 2012.
“I think it was an intelligent performance,” Mourinho said. “I knew that for them to play with this back five is not a very comfortable situation.
“It was about being compact and controlling the game, so I’m very happy because it’s a lot of pressure for us.”