- Spurs lose 1-0 at home in Champions League last-16 first leg
- Mourinho says Tottenham are still capable of winning tie
José Mourinho refused to write off Tottenham’s hope of reaching the Champions League quarter-finals after their defeat by RB Leipzig, insisting that his team’s spirit will give them a chance of overcoming their selection crisis in attack.
Spurs could be without Son Heung-min and Harry Kane for the rest of the season, leaving them desperately short of options, and they played without any strikers against Leipzig. The German team dominated throughout and won the first leg thanks to a second-half penalty from Timo Werner.
Mourinho, however, thinks Spurs are capable of producing a comeback when they visit Julian Nagelsmann’s side on 10 March. “1-0 is 1-0,” the Spurs manager said. “It is not 10-0. The result is open. It is as simple as that. We wouldn’t be first team to lose 1-0 at home and to win the tie away. Why shouldn’t we do it?”
Spurs are using Lucas Moura as a makeshift striker at the moment and Mourinho pointed out that Erik Lamela, his only attacking player on the bench, came on despite struggling with a thigh injury. “Lamela didn’t train once with the team,” he said. “That is the player you saw play the last 20 minutes.
“Lucas and [Steven] Bergwijn, what you saw in the end were two very tired players. They are the only players we have to play the next game on Saturday morning [against Chelsea]. The thing that keeps me confident is the spirit, the mentality of my players.
“This is our situation, it’s like going to a fight with a gun without bullets,” Mourinho added. “We have on the bench one attacking player that didn’t train once with us and is a winger. We are in a very difficult situation so I am so, so proud of the players. What worries me is this is going to be the situation until the end of the season. If this was going to be the situation for the next couple of matches I would say OK. Speaking about the Champions League, the next match against Leipzig, the one thing I can guarantee is that, even with I don’t know who playing in attack, we are going there to fight.”
Mourinho played down Dele Alli angrily throwing a water bottle and one of his boots to the turf after being taken off midway through the second half. “I think he was angry with his performance, not with me,” he said. “I took him off and the team improved.”