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‘Honest’ Mourinho admits ‘the best team lost’

Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City - Premier League

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02: Heung-Min Son of Tottenham celebrates his goal alongside Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on February 2, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mark Leech/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Offside via Getty Images

Is the sarcasm font on? Yes it is? OK then, here it goes…

Welcome to 2020, where Jose Mourinho continues to be the humble, honest and even-handed manager he has always been.

[ MORE: Christian Eriksen blasts Spurs for treatment, trophies ]

Moments after Tottenham Hotspur came back to secure a late victory over Southampton in the two sides’ FA Cup fourth-round replay on Wednesday, an “honest” Mourinho admitted that “the best team lost on the pitch,” and would be very difficult to disagree with that assessment.

Saints could have been two or three goals clear of Tottenham before Lucas Moura and Son Heung-min pulled off Spurs’ furious rally, but Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side couldn’t put away its best chances and were made to pay for it. While he admits that Saints were the better of the two sides, Mourinho believes his players “were the ones with more heart and went to their limit” — quotes from the BBC:

“I have to be honest and say I think the best team lost on the pitch but my team were the ones with more heart and went to their limit. So many difficulties to even build a team, the options were not options to change the game. My team to deserved to win – but the best team lost.
“From the intensity level and freshness, they were much stronger than us. We tried to organize the team with the players available. They controlled us well. Dele changed the game after we switched to a back four. We had a link with Dele Alli, it was like trying to build a puzzle with a few pieces short.”

“We suffered. We played against a very good team, we played against a team that was the best team on the pitch but we deserved to win because we were in our limits. They had their best players, they had one more day rest, they were fresh.

“The players [played with their] souls and heart, and gave absolutely everything. Four matches over two rounds, really hard for the boys. They deserve this happiness.”

As for Dele Alli, who acted as the midfield maestro orchestrating the late comeback, it’s time for Spurs to win a trophy — something he says they “deserve” — and performances like this one on Wednesday are further proof of that fact.
“It has been a long time coming, we are one of the best teams in the world in the years we have been together, we deserve a trophy. But no one is going to give it to us, we have to keep pushing and not just for us but for the fans we have to win something.”

Follow @AndyEdMLS