José Mourinho says Leipzig’s bench would get into Spurs team
Season is fizzling out for Portuguese manager after European exit
Tottenham manager José Mourinho speaks to Lucas Moura after their Champions League exit to RB Leipzig. Photo: Maja Hitij/Bongarts/Getty Images
José Mourinho warned that Tottenham will find it “very difficult” to qualify for the Champions League next season after RB Leipzig ended their participation in this year’s competition by winning their last-16 tie 4-0 on aggregate.
Spurs were no match for Leipzig, who reached the last eight with a 3-0 win at the Red Bull Arena, and there is no sign of their injury problems easing before they host Manchester United on Sunday. The season is in danger of fizzling out for Mourinho’s side and their poor form in the Premier League has left them lagging behind in the race to secure Champions League football.
“With the squad we have at the moment it is going to be very, very difficult,” Mourinho said. “Our problems are not going to disappear tomorrow. We will fight until the end.
“In the Premier League we don’t have results where we have no chance to fight for the points. We lost 3-2, 2-1, 1-0, we had draws, so it’s not like we can’t fight. We are not going to recover any players for Sunday but at least we have a little period, four days, so at least from a physical point we can react.”
Spurs were without Steven Bergwijn, Ben Davies, Harry Kane, Davinson Sánchez, Moussa Sissoko and Son Heung-min against Leipzig. “We have lots of problems and it’s really difficult,” Mourinho said. “I was positive yesterday but that’s the way I have to be. The reality is a different thing. One team is much stronger. Of course it was difficult and Leipzig clearly deserve to get to the quarter-finals. Every team in the world would struggle with five or six of their most important players missing. It’s as simple as that.
“All the players on the Leipzig bench would play at this moment in my team.”
Dele Alli felt that last season’s beaten finalists showed the wrong mentality. “If you don’t step up, you’re going to be punished,” the Spurs forward said. “We had to show maturity and fight, and we didn’t do that. We have to apologise to the fans who came out here.” – Guardian