Rio Ferdinand has blamed Jose Mourinho’s negativity for Tottenham’s lack of ‘intensity’ and ‘desire’ during the club’s Champions League last 16 defeat to RB Leipzig.
The north London side crashed out of European competition following a comprehensive 3-0 defeat at the Red Bull Arena on Tuesday night, Leipzig securing their place in the quarter-finals for the first time in their history courtesy of a 4-0 aggregate success.
Marcel Sabitez scored twice in the first half for Leipzig before substitute Emil Forsberg added a late third, the impressive Bundesliga title challengers rarely troubled following lacklustre Spurs performance.
Speaking post-match, midfielder Dele Alli admitted the display had not been good enough and urged Spurs’ stars to raise their levels in the coming weeks, with former Man Utd defender Rio Ferdinand comparing it to the more negative message coming from manager Jose Mourinho.
“He spoke really well beyond his years. Very honest. Collective loss, they’re all in it together,” Ferdinand said of Alli’s critical response.
“He’s saying the things that the Spurs fans want to hear from their manager. It’s not about who we haven’t got on the pitch, who’s there, who’s fit, who’s ready to fight.
"We have to apologise to the fans. They travelled all this way and to go out and lose like that… They deserve better."
An honest Dele on Tottenham's Champions League exit, footballing mentality and fight to salvage their season…
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“You’ve got to build them up and give them confidence. Talking about going to a gun fight without bullets – what does that do to the confidence of the likes of Dele, Lucas Moura?
“That hasn’t been forthcoming from Jose. You see a hint of that in the performance tonight.”
Ferdinand added that long term injuries to key players such as Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min have hampered the club’s chances this season, though says Mourinho must do more to raise optimism and performances from the players currently at his disposal.
“He has got injuries, big injuries to big players, but sometimes there’s an element of desire you want to see from all your players but that was lacking,” Ferdinand added.
“You want to see something that seems mapped out and planned. There seemed no identity with that team. There was no intensity or desire from that team. Those are the questions you ask yourself.
“That’s the duty of a manager. When the times are hard and they’re difficult. It’s down to the manager to pick them up.
“Players watch press conferences, but, more importantly at the training ground that’s where you pick them up. It doesn’t look like he’s done that.”