Roy Keane has questioned Tottenham’s title credentials despite Jose Mourinho’s side reclaiming top spot in the Premier League with a laboured goalless draw at Chelsea.
Spurs simply needed to avoid defeat at Stamford Bridge to return to the summit and they just about got the job done, with Chelsea guilty of squandering a host of second-half chances in a cagey affair on Sunday.
The point maintained Tottenham’s two-point lead over their London rivals and, crucially, moved them ahead of champions Liverpool on goal difference, further fuelling the prospect of a title triumph come May.
However, asked whether Mourinho could steer Spurs to their first league title since 1961, Keane told Sky Sports: “He’s done it before. His CV is fantastic.
“But I don’t think these players he has at Spurs are good enough to win the title. They have the X-factor in Mourinho and Harry Kane, I don’t think that’s enough. They were hanging on at the end at Stamford Bridge.
“I think they are on for a very good season, but a very good season is a big difference to trying to win the league title. I don’t think so. Manchester City are stronger than Spurs.”
Keane added: “Spurs have had some really good results, but they have still had the odd blip here and there, against Newcastle and West Ham.
“But there wasn’t much surprise with what we saw with Tottenham at Chelsea. They are quite dependent on Harry Kane, he was quiet.
“Jose Mourinho said his players were disappointed in the dressing room, I think they should be delighted. Mourinho will be delighted.”
Keane’s comments came in response to Mourinho’s claims that the Spurs dressing room were unhappy not to leave Stamford Bridge with all three points.
The Sky Sports pundit accused Mourinho of playing games, arguing Tottenham’s performance – which yielded just a single attempt on target – was symptomatic of a side willing to settle for a point.
The Spurs boss disagreed: “It is not true, my players are my witnesses, we came here to win. I share this mentality with my players.
“We were ready to punish them if they took the risks they normally take. We came here to win, we didn’t, and we didn’t because the opponents defensively was very good.
“They didn’t take risks, they didn’t project many players in attack like they normally do, and also because we have to do a little bit better.
“We built well from the goalkeeper, we arrived at the midfield line many times with the ball controlled, but we didn’t transform that in the occasions. That was basically our problem.
“But I don’t remember playing at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea, or with them, where the opposite goalkeeper had to make just one save in 90 minutes. That was what Hugo [Lloris] did, it was an amazing save at the end, but one save from a long-distance shot.”
Jose: Spurs a ‘pony’ in PL title race
Despite guiding his side to the summit, Mourinho continued to downplay Tottenham’s chances of getting their hands on the Premier League trophy at the end of the season, insisting Chelsea remained bigger contenders.
“We are not even in the race, so we are not a horse,” Mourinho added. “I don’t know the word in English for the small, young horses. Pony. We are just a pony, and you see the difference.
“Chelsea are one of the biggest contenders, there is no doubt about that. It is not a problem for them at all to be two points behind us and Liverpool.
“I don’t think it’s a problem for Chelsea, they know how powerful they are, the squad they have. They know this is a long run and they also know Tottenham is not a candidate.”
Lampard: If we’re contenders, so are they
Frank Lampard disagreed with Mourinho’s assessment, insisting Spurs must be considered title contenders if Chelsea fitted that bracket.
“It’s Jose’s call to say it how he sees it from his end, but from the outside they are top of the league, if we are contenders, they have to be contenders,” the Chelsea boss said.
“If you’ve got Harry Kane and Heung-min Son in your team – Kane has seven goals, Son has nine – and you keep clean sheets well, they would expect to be in the race.
“They have invested heavily, they had Gareth Bale on the bench and Dele Alli wasn’t here, there’s a strong squad there. We are all competing, but Jose can say it how he sees it.
“I suppose it’s irrelevant what the feeling is after the game from Jose’s point of view for us. We just have to focus on ourselves. We know it’s tight at the top.
“There are not just ourselves, Tottenham and Liverpool that are in the race, there are a lot of teams around us in this season which is looking slightly different to recent seasons.”