Saturday marked the first time since August 2014 that Tottenham finished a day atop the standings, and the first time since 1985 that the north London club have achieved that feat after at least nine top-flight fixtures.
But Mourinho, keen to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on his players, dismissed the significance of his team’s two-point advantage over Chelsea, who beat Newcastle 2-0 on Saturday and who await Spurs next weekend.
“It feels good [to be top], but maybe tomorrow we are second again and honestly that would not be a problem for me, I am just happy with the evolution,” Mourinho said in the knowledge that a Leicester City win at Liverpool on Sunday would send the Foxes above Spurs.
“People cannot expect us to come here and after one season we are fighting for the title. We are not fighting for the title, we are just fighting to win every match. But we are going to lose matches, we are going to draw matches,” Mourinho said, almost a year to the day that he took over at the club.
“Dinner tonight will be nice and relaxed and I will watch Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona and sleep like an angel. But no problem if Leicester wins and we are second again,” he said.
The Portuguese, however, couldn’t hide his pride at an accomplished performance from his side.
“Big team, big hearts, big solidarity, a proper team – a team that I believe makes Tottenham fans proud.
“Players going to the limits of their energy, sacrifice for the game plan, coping well with, let’s say, a new pressure of: ‘If you win the match, you go top of the league for 24 hours.’
“I’m very proud. They deserve big applause and lots of respect.”
City, who are 10th, have a negative goal difference after scoring only 10 goals in nine games – 17 fewer than at this stage last season.
“The stats speak for themselves," said manager Pep Guardiola.
“We were better in many departments, but we didn’t score. The team defended so deep and were waiting for a mistake.
“We found some moments, but the reality is we are struggling to score goals this season. That can happen.”
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