Jose Mourinho sends Tottenham Champions League draw warning to Barcelona, PSG, Juventus

Posted Thursday, December 12, 2019 by

Jose Mourinho sends Tottenham Champions League draw warning to Barcelona, PSG, Juventus
Jose Mourinho sends Tottenham Champions League draw warning to Barcelona, PSG, Juventus (Image: GETTY)

Jose Mourinho believes no team in the last 16 draw of the Champions League will be keen to be paired with Tottenham when they find out their opponents on Monday, with Barcelona, PSG and Juventus among the teams they could face.

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho believes no team will want to face them in the Champions League last 16 - even if Spurs were well beaten by Bayern Munich on Wednesday night. The north London club wrapped up their group stage campaign as a second-string side lost 3-1 in Bavaria.

Ryan Sessegnon marked his first start with a first goal and brought Spurs level after Kingsley Coman’s opener but Thomas Muller’s effort, the German replacing injured goalscorer Coman, put the hosts back ahead before the break.

And a trademark curling strike put the game beyond doubt in the second half after Paulo Gazzaniga made a few smart stops.

Spurs livened up in the final 20 minutes after substitutions but could not hit back, as they ended the group stage having conceded 10 times to Bayern in two meetings.

The Bundesliga champions go through as Group B winners and Spurs as runners-up, with both sides having already secured their spots in the next stage before Wednesday’s clash.

Defeat was Mourinho’s second as Spurs boss having also lost to former club Manchester United last week.

But the signs are more positive than under predecessor Jose Mourinho, even though a six-point gap remains between them and fourth-placed Chelsea in the Premier League. The new manager has won four of six games, with Spurs scoring 17 times, but also conceding nine.

In the Champions League, they have overcome the 7-2 hammering from Bayern in October and can now take on one of Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, Juventus, RB Leipzig and Valencia. They will find out which team when the draw is made in Nyon, Switzerland on Monday December 16 (11am UK time).

But Mourinho insists none of those five sides will be keen to face Tottenham, finalists in the competition last year, because his players will be more familiar with his methods come February, when the last 16 begins, and so will have gone up a level or two.

“I think from the teams that finished second, I think the teams that finished first will wish they don’t play against us,” the Portuguese declared. “We are one of the strongest teams from the second group.

“I know we are a country that goes through a crazy period which many, many times leaves marks on players and teams and conditions, but by the end of February I will understand my players better, they will understand me better.

“We have two more months of work together. I think so, we will be much more ready. But today was not a question of being or not being ready.

“Today was a very difficult situation. It was play and prepare a game where you put more emphasis on the players who rest than the players who play and the result that you are fighting for.

“That is very difficult. I try to hide that feeling from the players but the players are intelligent guys and they understand clearly my focus was not on today. My focus was on what next.”

That was fairly clear in what was a drab display from Spurs - but Mourinho refused to criticise his players for their efforts.

Asked what he learned from the evening, he told journalists: “The negative I won't tell you. It would be unfair to speak about conclusions. No conclusions, just information and that is very important for me.

“Some of the players played their first minutes with me. Some of the players like [Juan] Foyth was the first time he played. It was important to collect some information, information you normally collect in the season or in pre-season. I just arrived and I need information.

“The fact that we qualified against Olympiakos gave us this possibility and the fact that we played so well in the last match and we won 5-0, we were in a positive, which allowed me to come here and risk what happened.

“I am happy with the decisions I made, I hope our supporters understand what I did. Internally we all agreed that was the best option for the players that are playing every minute and also the best option for the players that are not playing and for the young players that need to develop.

“So internally we made this decision and we think it was the best decision for the team. We risked because we played against a very good team, a team that came with two defeats in a row, a team that cannot lose tonight a third match in a row, a second at home.

“So we knew they would come very strong, on top of that they had a bench full of top players, so if they needed in extreme situations [Robert] Lewandowski to come to the game they would have him on the bench. I decided not to have even [Harry] Kane or [Dele] Alli on the bench.

“Different moments for both teams and me and Flick manage our team and resources in different ways. I will prefer a better result, I would prefer even a 3-2 defeat with a Son goal in the last minute but that is what it is.

“But I am happy with the information I take back. I take lots of information on players that is going to influence my decisions in the future.”

Mourinho even declared his wish for Spurs to take on Bayern a second time later in the tournament.

They cannot be paired together in the last 16 as a result of being in the same group, but could go head-to-head once again in the quarter-finals - should they get that far.

“I tried to ignore what happened in the first match [the 7-2 loss under Pochettino]. I tried to hide it from the players,” Mourinho added.

“I didn't show any image of that. I didn't analyse with the players anything from that match, but it was important for us to come here and get out with a result, with the minimum of dignity.

“My wish is that we can be back and if we can be back it has to be for the quarter or semi-final, because we cannot play them in the next round. So my wish is to be back for a proper match, for a match that we all like.”

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