Jose Mourinho insists Tottenham are playing to their ‘limit’ despite seeing the club crash out of the Champions League in the last 16 with a sobering 3-0 defeat at RB Leipzig.
The north London side headed to Germany looking to overturn a 1-0 first leg deficit, but any hopes of a comeback were swiftly ended on a disappointing evening at the Red Bull Arena.
Marcel Sabitzer scored twice in the first half for Julian Nagelsmann’s impressive side, before substitute Emil Forsberg added a late third with his first touch after coming off the bench to seal Leipzig’s progress to the quarter-finals 4-0 on aggregate.
Questions will be asked of goalkeeper Hugo Lloris after getting hands to both of Sabitzer’s goals, the Spurs captain twice beaten too easily to give his side a mountain to climb to progress.
In truth, Spurs never looked likely to produce a famous European comeback, though Mourinho insists his injury-hit squad are giving all they can despite their winless run extending to six games in all competitions.
“Look, of course I was positive yesterday, that’s the way I have to be all of the time. If you’re not positive it’s better not to come to the game,” Mourinho told BT Sport.
“Yes we all believed but we know that in this moment it’s very difficult. They are a very strong side.
Jose Mourinho has now lost all of his last three UCL knock-out ties:
❌ Chelsea 2014-15 (vs. PSG)
❌ Man Utd 2017-18 (vs. Sevilla)
❌ Spurs 2019-20 (vs. Leipzig)
Respect, respect. pic.twitter.com/nknWapdS8x
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 10, 2020
“It’s hard for us to score at the moment. Our first couple of mistakes they score and then it’s very difficult. Their physicality is incredible, their defenders win the duels, they stop the game. They are very fast in attack. They can hurt us all of the time, they deserve to go through.
“If I can be critical of some of my players, I keep this for us. They tried to give what they can give.
“We made mistakes, mistakes that we have analysed in previous matches. I never blame players with some difficulties. It’s hard for me to cope with players who cannot express their potential, not those who are at their limit. I am with the boys.
“There is nobody to blame. In every match we have a traumatic injury. That’s the history of this season. It is non stop. Look at our bench tonight. It is very hard. I cannot blame the players.
“I don’t think we will have a big rebuild, this summer, unless something happens during the Euros, we have Sissoko back, we have Kane, we have Son, that is massive.”