Jose Mourinho says he is determined to give non-league Marine his full ‘respect’ as Tottenham aim to avoid the biggest upset in FA Cup history.
Marine are just the second eighth-tier side in the history of the FA Cup to reach the third round and have been rewarded with a glamour tie against Premier League giants Spurs, a huge 161 places separating the two sides in England’s footballing pyramid.
Many have suggested that Mourinho could rotate his senior side by handing the club’s U23s valuable minutes given the gulf in class between the two teams, though the Spurs boss insists he will take a strong side to take on the part-time outfit this weekend.
“The message is basically what I said, I don’t think they want to play against Tottenham U23s, they want to play against the guys they are used to watching, admiring, used to following and we want to give them that,” the Portuguese said at his pre-match press conference.
“Myself and my staff, the respect is the way we are preparing the game and the same way we’re trying to know their striker, their centre-back, keeper, their tactical organisation, it’s the same we do with other opponents, of course of a different level and basically it’s that.
We have now sold 6,400 virtual tickets. The record has been broken! Thank you all.
As a permanent thank you, we will be creating a board at the Crosender Road End of the ground which will contain the full name of EVERY ticket holder as an everlasting reminder of your support. pic.twitter.com/sI9K5kKzAS
— Marine Football Club (@MarineAFC) January 8, 2021
“I think the same way they feel happy to play against us I want my guys, I feel that. I feel very happy to play them and very happy it’s in Crosby and not at home. I feel very happy to play them and I understand the dream. It’s up to us to bring them back to reality but I clearly understand the dream.
“Nobody puts a foot on the football pitch knowing or feeling that we are going to lose so I believe that, in this moment, they feel like they are going to win and it’s up to us to bring them back to reality.
“We are top professionals, we are a different level and we are going to win. It is up to us to make them understand that as soon as possible but in this moment they have this dream.”
One player who looks set to travel to Merseyside is Wales international, Gareth Bale, who has struggled for form and fitness since his return on loan to the north London side.
“He trained today first time with us so tomorrow second time and tomorrow after training we will make a decision and what I can say and it’s also a way to show you the way we are looking, the respect we have for this fixture, is that Gareth told me he would like to go and would like to play so if tomorrow if the feelings are positive, Gareth will come,” he added.