Final score: Crystal Palace 1-1 Tottenham


On the last day of term Tottenham were given a free run at the toys and nearly ended up choking on one.

What a grubby slog of a match at the end of a grubby slog of a season, and it says near enough everything that they celebrated reaching the Europa League via a draw with a team on a seven-game losing streak.


There was a time not so long ago that Jose Mourinho was quite sniffy about those Thursday night appointments; there was a time far more recently that Tottenham had bigger fish and better fryers. Then and now, him and then.

And so the Spurs collective have to take this qualification for the success that it is.

Success for the club in comparison to a lower finish and success for Mourinho because it is indisputable that he rescued Tottenham’s season.

They were horrible to watch in the final weeks before he arrived and they have often been horrible to watch since, but it is a brand of horrible that has secured results and sixth place.


That is what Daniel Levy badly wanted when they were 14th under Mauricio Pochettino in November and it is what he got – there have been five wins, three draws and only one defeat since the restart alone.

Praise be to Mourinho and likewise the creator of that old phrase about there being no pictures on scorecards.

Time will tell on how he builds this team in his image and style, which is so very different to that of Pochettino


In the absence of the funds he is accustomed to, it will be awfully hard, and for that reason his appointment remains a curious one, even in the light of a job done well.

This game in isolation was an example of how bafflingly ponderous Spurs can look.

At times they were even at the mercy of Crystal Palace, whose form and fortune has been so poor, and whose best player, Wilfried Zaha, wants to leave.

A defence held together by string was barely tested by Spurs, barring Harry Kane’s 18th league goal of the season and fifth in three games.

Jeffrey Schlupp equalised in the second half and then Jordan Ayew and Scott Dann both had decent chances to win it.


Had Wolves drawn at Chelsea, then Spurs would have finished seventh and at risk of dropping out of Europe altogether if Arsenal win the FA Cup final.

Mourinho said: ‘Of course players who one day plays Champions League do not want to go back to the Europa League but it was the only thing possible after a difficult season. After arriving 14th, sixth is not bad at all. So I am quite happy.

‘What we can do now is improve. When all the players are available we showed in this last period where we belong – maybe third or fourth. Are we going to buy players for £100m? No. But we are going to improve.’

Roy Hodgson said: ‘We had a very bad COVID period in terms of results and injuries but we broke that sequence and that was good.’

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