Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho has revealed to BT Sport that he felt “really sad” after his team were knocked out of the Europa League on Thursday.
Spurs were leading 2-0 from the first leg, but somehow they managed to throw it away, as Dinamo Zagreb took the game to extra-time before sealing a pulsating 3-0 victory.
The Portuguese boss has revealed to football.london what his instructions to Spurs players were at half-time.
After a goalless first-half, it appeared that Spurs were on their way to the quarter-finals. Mourinho has suggested that he warned his players of the potential threat from the home side as he sensed they were gaining momentum.
Apart from a few Spurs players, the rest didn’t turn up, and it was a lacklustre performance from the visitors collectively.
Mislav Orsic scored a hat-trick for the Croatian champions, including a winner in extra-time. Mourinho revealed after the match that he did warn his players of a potential comeback and that Spurs were not surprised.
“I believe that by surprise we were not caught because before the game I told the players to play to win,” he said.
“I told the players to refuse a feeling of if we draw or if we lose 1-0 or 2-1, it’s okay. I told the players don’t trust, don’t go in that direction.
“Play the game to be dominant – play the game to win. At half-time, even with the result 0-0, I told the players don’t trust it, don’t do it.
“If they score a goal, I told them minute 75, 80, 85, the game is open and then they will believe. So by surprise, the players were not caught. So it was not a surprise.
“Dinamo attitude I believe is humble, is desire, is motivation, is pride, to prove to themselves that they have talent, even to the world football market that they have quality.”
Spurs fans are already frustrated with Mourinho for his negative tactics implemented throughout the season against decent oppositions.
He was under pressure after the north London derby defeat, and now the Europa League exit could force Daniel Levy to re-think Mourinho’s position at the club.
To have a successful season, Spurs must beat Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final and focus all their attention on securing a top-four finish in the Premier League.