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The Dutch attacker was on the receiving end of vilification after failing to capitalise on two gilt-edged chances at Anfield

Jose Mourinho has given his full backing to “great professional” Steven Bergwijn after the forward was subjected to abusive messages on social media in the wake of Tottenham‘s 2-1 loss to Liverpool.

Netherlands international Bergwijn missed a couple of promising opportunities in Wednesday’s top-of-the-table showdown at Anfield as Spurs relinquished control of first place in the Premier League.

He had just 26 touches of the ball during his 76 minutes on the field – fewer than any other player to have started the match – and attempted 11 passes, which was one fewer than fellow winger Lucas Moura, who was brought on in the second half.

Bergwijn had to limit the amount of comments on his Instagram account because of a number of negative comments but the Dutchman has the support of Mourinho, who has urged everyone involved with the club to stick together.

“I don’t know what I can do apart from the player knowing that in this club we are all together,” he said at a pre-match news conference on Friday. “We lose, we win and we draw all together. He has us and we have him.

“He’s one of my boys. Period. There’s no point for me to individualise. He’s a good professional and he gives everything he can for the team.”

The midweek loss to Liverpool was Tottenham’s first in the top flight since the opening weekend of the Premier League season and saw them slip three points off the pace.

Tottenham now switch focus to the visit of Leicester City, who are one point worse off in what is shaping up to be a tight title race with a number of outsiders in contention.

Mourinho has never lost in seven meetings with Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers in all competitions, winning five and drawing two.

That is Rodgers’ longest run against any manager without winning but the 47-year-old is excited to reunite with Mourinho, whom he worked with at Chelsea at the start of his coaching career.

“It was a great step for me at that time, the opportunity for me to go to a big club,” Rodgers said. “He was charismatic, had a great way with the players, and was very open in his communication. I was in a pole position for learning.

“He has set up Tottenham very well. They’re very good on the counter-attack and are well organised. They have talents in [Harry] Kane and Son [Heung-min] that can cause you problems. They look like Jose’s team now.”

Kane’s 128 Premier League goals since the start of 2015-16 is the most of any player, while Leicester’s Jamie Vardy is next on the list with 108.

Vardy has 10 goals in 12 appearances this term and Mourinho is wary of the 33-year-old striker.

“He is so, so dangerous. A team when he plays, if it is with Claudio [Ranieri] or Brendan or with other coaches, never forgets the qualities that the specific player has,” Mourinho said.

“He is incredible. I just feel sorry for him in the sense of he arrived in the Premier League too late. He should arrive a few years before and his career would be even longer, with more goals and more history at the national team too.

“He’s a fantastic player. If I was a defender I wouldn’t be happy to play against him because he is very dangerous.”

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December 18, 2020
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