Jose Mourinho hinted that Tottenham will have to manage games better if they are to go all the way in the Carabao Cup this season – before telling Dele Alli to “not create problems for his own team”.
Mourinho has a strong record in the League Cup, and he took a major step towards more success in the competition by leading Tottenham to victory against Stoke on Wednesday.
On each of the previous four times Mourinho has led a team to that stage of this competition, he has gone on to win it.
If he can repeat that history, it would be most welcome for Tottenham fans, who have not seen their side win a trophy since triumphing in this competition in 2008.
However, Mourinho knows there is work to be done before they can start dreaming about a trophy.
Tottenham will find out tonight who they will face in the semi-final, but their manager believes any opponent will be difficult at this stage of the competition.
“Two very difficult matches,” he said. “The teams who are there will be difficult.
“We are in the semi-finals and we will be there to fight.”
They will be hoping to produce a similar kind of performance to the one they did in the first half against Stoke. They restricted their opponents to not having any shots.
However, Mourinho knows they will need to improve on the way they managed the game after letting Stoke back into it shortly after the break.
“First half we were solid,” he said. “They didn’t touch ball, have a shot, have a corner.
“Instead of killing the game we kill ourselves. After that was a moment we needed stability and attitude.”
Mourinho explains Bale sub; criticises Alli
By that point, Bale had been taken off at half-time, despite scoring the first goal. Mourinho has confirmed the winger may have an injury issue.
“His decision,” he explained. “Something he felt.
“He told me immediately when walking to the dressing room.”
Someone else who started but did not last the full game was Dele Alli. The midfielder has struggled for opportunities this season, and Mourinho made no secret of his wish for improvements.
Alli’s flick gave the ball away that led to the counter attack for the goal Tottenham conceded. Mourinho was not happy about it.
“For me a player who plays in that position is a player that has to link and create and not create problems for his own team,” he said.
“They got us in counter attack, so yes I was upset.”