Jose Mourinho hails the ‘spirit’ of his Tottenham players after they beat Chelsea
Jose Mourinho hailed Tottenham’s fighting spirit and ‘not human’ Eric Dier before pleading with international bosses to protect his stars after they battled through to the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.
Spurs dug deep to fight back from a goal down and overcome Chelsea on penalties, with Mason Mount missing the decisive spot-kick at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Spurs’s mammoth effort was summed up by Dier who shook off a first-half injury blow and played on after an emergency toilet break in the second half before scoring the first of their five successful five spot-kicks.
Dier will now be rested for Spurs’s Europa League qualifier against Maccabi Haifa with Mourinho fearing he will ‘kill’ the England defender if he selects him again.
Tuesday night’s clash was Spurs’s second game in a run of four games in eight days and Mourinho said: ‘I love the spirit. The players are managing to find condition, spirit and this performance and result the way we fought Chelsea with their best team, best players.
‘Let’s hope on Thursday we finish this incredible journey of Europa League play offs and see if we can survive until Sunday to play a team [Manchester United] which is one of the favourites to win the Premier League.
‘I hope the national team coaches they have their data and realise how many minutes the Tottenham players played this week. I hope they care about them and protect them because Tottenham players this week have an incredible load of minutes and work and it’s very, very, very, very dangerous. What I did today with Eric Dier is very, very, very dangerous.’
Mourinho raced down the tunnel after Dier was forced to leave the field during the second half to go to the toilet.
‘The problem is it was not a pee,’ Mourinho laughed. ‘For him to leave the pitch you can imagine what happened. I knew it and I was just pushing him to come back as soon as possible.
‘It is the consequence of something not human that he did to play two matches completely dehydrated, tired, no energy in the muscles, completely dead. Of course he is not playing on Thursday because I would definitely kill him.’
Chelsea took the lead through Timo Werner’s first Chelsea goal before Erik Lamela’s late equaliser took the game to penalties.
Soon after Werner struck Mourinho and Lampard were involved in a touchline spat.
Mourinho who managed Lampard at Chelsea said: ‘With Frank the most important thing are my feelings to him are more important than any words that we exchange. He gave me everything he had as a player so I never forget that.
‘My feelings will always be what I owe him as a player, friend and professional. The only thing I said was an opinion of an old coach to a young, talented coach – when the players need us is when they are losing. When they are winning we don’t need to be the protagonist of the touchline. In the last match [against West Brom] when they were losing 3-0 I felt sorry for him because he was really sad and quiet in his chair.
‘It was just an opinion. Stay on the touchline when your team is losing and stay clam when your team is winning.’
Lampard said: ‘We were having some fun on the line. I get on well with Jose. I commented on the fact he seemed to speak to the referee more than he was speaking to his players. I’ve got a huge amount of respect for Jose no matter what we say on the touchline. I think he probably was feeling the sense of the first half and how it was but all was very well at the end of the game. That will never change.’