Jose Mourinho was full of praise for his Tottenham Hotspur side as they triumphed over a quality Chelsea side to progress to the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.
The hosts continued their hectic schedule with a tough meeting with Frank Lampard’s side and found themselves quickly behind, debutant Sergio Reguilon losing possession, before Cesar Azpilicueta found Timo Werner in the box, the German thumping home his first Chelsea goal.
With Spurs playing without a recognised striker there was little in the way of attacking opportunities, Erik Lamela forcing a good save from Edouard Mendy – who was making his first start for the club – in one of the rare Tottenham attacks of the first half.
Maybe it was the presence of Harry Kane warming up on the touchline, but the Spurs attack sprung to life in the second half, Steven Bergwijn looking lively while Reguilon saw an effort comfortably saved by Mendy. The full-back, who signed from Real Madrid earlier this month, eventually made up for his earlier error, the Spaniard crossing for teammate Lamela to grab a late equaliser from close range and force the tie to a penalty shootout.
With nine successful penalties from nine, it was Chelsea’s Mason Mount who was the first to blink, the young Englishman’s effort striking the post and heading wide to send Spurs into the quarter-finals. That victory clearly delighted Mourinho, the former Chelsea boss labelling his players ‘phenomenal’ for their ‘magnificent’ second-half display.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) September 29, 2020
”We were ready to fight, I told you. I told the players before the penalties that they were magnificent in the second half, we made Chelsea look ordinary. The team waited for the right moment,” Mourinho told Sky Sports.
“I have to think about three games at the same time but the players only thought about this game, they were phenomenal. Phenomenal.
One bizarre moment in the match saw defender Eric Dier race off down the tunnel – with Mourinho in hot pursuit – before quickly re-emerging having seemingly had to answer a call of nature. While his manager did comment on the incident, he was more complimentary of the Englishman’s attitude and ability to play so soon after the Newcastle clash on Sunday – a feat Mourinho described as ‘not human’.
“We tried to organise a team with the players we had available,” the Portuguese coach said. ”What happened to Eric Dier is not normal, I have to praise him in a special way. It should be forbidden for a player to play two games in 48 hours at this level [after he played against Newcastle]. What he did is not human to do.
What’s going on here?! 👀
Eric Dier disappears off the pitch and Jose Mourinho marches off after him into the tunnel. Before long the Spurs midfielder is back out there in the middle.
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) September 29, 2020
“He had to go [when he ran off] – he had no chance. Maybe it is a normal thing when you are completely dehydrated which is the case, I had to put pressure on him to get back but he is a great example for everybody. If the authoroties don’t care about players, I care.
“On the penalties I have a negative record but I had the feeling that everything was going well.”
Spurs face a quick turn around with a crucial Europa League play-off clash against Maccabi Haifa on Thursday, before a tasty meeting with Mourinho’s former club Manchester United on Sunday.