Jose Mourinho admits ‘the best team lost’ after seeing his Tottenham side book their place in the FA Cup fifth round with a thrilling 3-2 replay victory over Southampton.
Mourinho’s side would take the lead following Jack Stephens’ early own goal, the defender deflecting Tanguy Ndombele’s shot past his own goalkeeper before Shane Long drew Southampton level before half-time.
The visiting Saints would dominate for much of the contest and would take a deserved lead at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium through a fine finish from Danny Ings, only for Lucas Moura to level for Spurs just six minutes later.
With extra-time looming, however, the North London side would find a breakthrough, Son Heung-Min felled in the area by Saints goalkeeper Angus Gunn before picking himself up to convert the spot-kick, booking Spurs a fifth round tie at home to Norwich.
Mourinho’s quest to become the first manager to win silverware with three different English clubs continues, though the Portuguese admitted his side were perhaps fortunate to progress.
“The best team lost,” Mourinho said at his post-match press conference. “The best team on the pitch lost. If you look at it in a pragmatic way, forgetting that they had their best players, they had their full team, they had one more day to rest, we were really in trouble.
“We were in real, real trouble to build a team, lots of fatigue after the match against Manchester City… if you forget these important items and you analyse in a simple pragmatic way, the best team lost.
“They were better than us, they were faster than us, they were stronger physically than us. They press, they had intensity, they had chances.
“They were the best team, but I cannot forget all the other circumstances, and my players, they were phenomenal. The way they react was fantastic. They showed incredible heart and had a great connection with the crowd.
“They gave absolutely everything. I think the best team lost, but we deserved to win.”