Jose Mourinho remained “worried” after his Tottenham side were kicked out of the Europa League by Dinamo Zagreb, but he blamed only his players.
Spurs had one foot in the quarter-finals after last week’s 2-0 first leg win, but they collapsed in Croatia and succumbed to Mislav Orsic’s sensational hat trick, go out 3-2 in total after extra time.
Even at half-time in the second half it seemed unthinkable that Spurs wouldn’t progress, but Orsic struck twice in the second half to level the scores and then won it in the extra period.
What made things even more incredible was that Dinamo manager Zoran Mamic was sentenced to four and a half years in prison on Monday and was forced to resign.
Mourinho The team couldn’t take advantage of the disturbance in the Zagreb camp and he was left concerned about their attitude for a second game in a row, having also questioned their desire in the North London derby defeat on Sunday. against Arsenal.
In a cryptic response, he said, “Of course, this concerns me. Of course, that concerns me. We worked very hard, we tried to provide the best conditions for the players to perform. Of course, that concerns me.
“My position as the head coach is the position that stops me, or at least makes me uncomfortable walking past the cameras and digging deeper into the analysis. Hope you can understand this.
“I think we should all be humble enough to accept any criticism you can make of our work. It is not for me to continue on this.
“They played with a lot of desire that I can also call that professionalism, because for me professionalism begins exactly in attitude. To be a professional you need to have an attitude every day and every minute of every game.
“Then more talent, less talent makes the difference between the players but what is never negotiable is the attitude and they beat us on the attitude.”
Going out means any hope of silverware this season now hinges on a Carabao Cup final against Manchester City next month.
But even a win that might not prove to be enough as their European exit closes an avenue for next season’s Champions League and their Premier League form is unlikely to feature another as they remain behind in the race of the first four.
Mourinho added on BT Sport: “To say that I am sad is not enough. What I feel goes way beyond sadness.
“I just left the Dinamo locker room where I went to congratulate their guys and I’m sorry that a team that is not my team won the game because of the attitude and the compromises so I feel more that sad. That’s all.
“Football is not just about players who think they are more talented than others. I believe the players only realized the game was in danger when they scored the second and the time has passed.
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“If I forget the last 10 minutes of overtime where we did something to get a different result and pass, in the 90 minutes and in the first half of extra time one team decided to leave everything on the pitch, they are gone. everything there, sweat, energy, blood.
You 𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗱 listen to his interview with Jose Mourinho 😳
He wears his heart on his sleeve as he watches a horrible night for the club … pic.twitter.com/Wwi2THhPBH
– Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) March 18, 2021
“At the end of the game, even left tears of happiness. And I must congratulate them.
“My team, I repeat, my team, I’m here, it didn’t seem to be playing an important game.
Mourinho prepared the players for Orsic
“If for one of them it’s not an important game, for me it is, for the respect I have for my own career and for my own work, every game is an important game. I believe that for every Tottenham fan at home, every game counts and a different attitude is needed.
Asked about Orsic’s game and his three goals, Mourinho said his side had been warned.
“The first thing I tell you, that you may or may not believe. My players watch, watch and watch Orsic’s actions throughout his career, ”added Mourinho.
“We have prepared clips with analysts on the qualities of each player and the goals scored by Orsic. I saw them all, I watched them all and my players watched them all. I don’t know what to say, all I can say is the first goal I watched it before, the second goal I watched it before and the third goal I watched it before.
“That’s the only thing I can say. I prepared my players to play against Orsic, I gave them all the information to play against him and that’s the only thing I can say. Congratulations to him because it’s a great night for him.
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