Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho admitted that “the best team lost” as Spurs progressed to the fifth-round of the FA Cup with a win over Southampton.
The London club were 2-1 down with little over ten minutes remaining of the game, but goals from Lucas Moura and Heung-Min Son in the closing stages earned them a 3-2 success.
That came after Saints had fought back from a goal down themselves, with strikes from Shane Long and Danny Ings cancelling out Jack Stephens’ early own goal.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men controlled the match for long periods, ending the game with a 57% share of possession, while they also created more chances and had more shots on target.
They were, however, wasteful in front of goal with Ings, Sofiane Boufal and Jannik Vestergaard missing good opportunities.
And speaking to BT Sport after the game, Mourinho was quick to reveal that he felt the South Coast outplayed his side on the night.
“I have to be honest, I think the best team lost. The best team on the pitch lost”, he said.
“But the team with more heart, the team with the players who went to their limits, the team that had so many difficulties even to build a team, a team that, on the bench, the options were not options to change the game, even Dele [Alli].
“In so difficult conditions, I think my team deserved to win. The best team lost, but my team deserved to win.”
When asked what tipped the fixture in his side’s favour, Mourinho said: “I think from the beginning I could feel immediately that in intensity level, condition and freshness, they were much stronger than us.
“We tried to organise a team with the players that we had available. We started with a back three with the two wing backs, [but] they controlled us well.
“The moment Dele comes in to the game we changed to a back four, also with Gedson on the right, is the moment where we improved”.
Alli provided the assist for Lucas Moura’s goal, while he also played the crucial pass that put Son one-on-one with the ‘keeper before he was fouled for the winning penalty.
Tottenham will now host fellow Premier League side Norwich in the next round.