Soccer

Tottenham’s Jose Mourinho reacts to Dinamo Zagreb Europa League elimination: ‘Another attitude is needed’

Tottenham are out of the Europa League. The Premier League clubbed suffered a shocking defeat on Thursday, as Spurs managed to blow a two-goal aggregate lead against Croatian side Dinamo Zagerb. Tottenham allowed two goals in the second half as Zagreb tied the game on aggregate and then Mislav Orsic polished off his hat trick with the tie-winner in extra time.

To make matters even worse, Tottenham did this against a team that saw its manager resign earlier in the week after receiving a jail sentence for fraud. Spurs also gave up a lead and lost to rival Arsenal in the North London derby on Sunday in their most recent game before Thursday.

Tottenham, who were atop the Premier League table about three months ago, were one of the favorites to win Europa League heading into the round of 16. They’re now out of the competition before the quarterfinals and currently sit eighth domestically.

The recent run of poor form has brought about lots of questions for second-year manager Jose Mourinho. In his postgame interview Thursday, he praised Dinamo Zagreb and said his side had the wrong attitude on the road.

“In the 90 minutes and in the first half of the extra time was one team that decided to leave everything on the pitch. They left sweat, they left energy, they left blood. In the end of the game, they let even tears of happiness. …I have to praise them, Mourinho said.

“On the other side, my team — I repeat, my team, I am there — that didn’t look like it was playing an important match. For me it is, for the respect I have for my own career and for my own job, every match is an important match for me. And I believe for every Tottenham fan at home, every match matters. Another attitude is needed. To say that I feel sad is not enough, because what I feel goes much further than sadness.”

Mourinho added that it was only after Zagreb’s aggregate equalizer in the 82nd minute that his players started to realize their spot in the quarterfinals was in jeopardy.

“I’m disappointed in the difference of attitudes between one team and the other,” Mourinho said. “I feel sorry that my team was the one that didn’t bring to the game the basics of football, but the basics of life, which is to respect our jobs and to give every second.”



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