Jose Mourinho insists Tottenham’s EFL Cup quarter-final at Stoke City must be viewed in isolation despite their patchy league form heading into the tie.
Under a week ago, Spurs were top of the Premier League on goal difference ahead of Liverpool, but a late 2-1 loss away at the Reds was followed by a 2-0 home defeat against Leicester City.
The double setback has seen Spurs slip to sixth in the table, six points adrift of Jurgen Klopp’s champions, who now once again lead the way.
Tottenham boss Mourinho was asked at a news conference how important it is for his side to stop the rut quickly as they switch focus to the EFL Cup, yet the Portuguese thinks it will have little impact at the bet365 Stadium.
“I think it’s isolated of the context. It’s nothing to do with the match that we lost and nothing to do with the match we have to play against Wolves in the next weekend,” he said.
“It’s isolated context, it’s a cup game, a game to go to the semi-finals or watch the semi-finals at home on TV. We have to go with a positive attitude and try to win it.”
Earlier this month, Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock described the changing rooms his side had to prepare in at Stoke as a “pigsty” and a “disgrace”.
Mourinho said he is aware of what awaits his team but that the issue is one for others to deal with.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 21, 2020
“I have a video of it, a video made from a colleague that works in another team that recently played against them and I was not going to raise the question, you raised that question,” he added.
“But I think it shouldn’t be a question for me, it should be a question for the authorities – all the authorities. Football authorities, safety authorities, but not me, I’m not going to be the bad guy who is going to make a comment about Stoke’s away dressing room.”
Mourinho has mainly used two different sides in the Premier League and Europa League this term, and confirmed he is likely to use a “mix” of both against Stoke.
The EFL Cup is a competition that has led to much joy for Mourinho in the past, given he has won the trophy four times as a manager – three with Chelsea and once with Manchester United.
Asked about the importance of potentially winning the competition again, he replied: “To win this tournament we need to win three matches.
“One against Stoke and then if we beat Stoke then we will have two more matches to play, against teams that have the same ambitions as we have.
“So if I’m not wrong, Manchester City, Arsenal, Manchester United, Everton, Newcastle, Brentford, everybody wants the same.
“Even [teams from] the Championship. From the last decade, the difference between the Championship and Premier League is minimal. The teams are very good, they have very good players, they have very good coaches, so even the fact we play Stoke or Newcastle play Brentford doesn’t give us easier matches than the others.
“It’s a difficult competition to win, we have to win three matches to win it. But going in the direction of what we are saying the rest of the season, the next match is a match we want to win.”