Jose Mourinho has blamed the EFL for not giving Tottenham a chance of fighting for Carabao Cup success and believes his squad will be hit by injury as they face three games in five days.
Spurs host Mourinho’s former club Chelsea in the Carabao Cup fourth round on Tuesday before a final Europa League qualifying tie at home to Maccabi Haifa just 48 hours later.
The hectic week is topped off by a trip to Mourinho’s last club, Manchester United, for a Premier League clash on Sunday.
The three games come on the back of a draw at home to Newcastle on Sunday in which Spurs conceded a contentious injury-time penalty – with Mourinho refusing to criticise the new handball law or the use of VAR after the game.
A big week ahead.
🗓️ Tuesday: Chelsea (H)
🗓️ Thursday: Maccabi Haifa (H)
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) September 28, 2020
But he did hit out at being forced to play their Carabao Cup fourth round tie in between league and European commitments and suggested the added financial value of reaching the Europa League group stages has to take precedent.
“I would like to fight for the Carabao (Cup) but I don’t think I can,” he said.
“We have a game on Thursday that gives us not as much money as the Champions League but the group phase of the Europa League gives us a certain amount that, for a club like us, is very important.
“It’s a competition with a possible group phase that gives us a good chance to go through to the next knockout stage so this game on Thursday is very important for us.
I would like to fight for the Carabao (Cup) but I don’t think I can
“I think you can imagine that with a game on Thursday that decides a very important thing for us, I think the EFL made a decision for us.
“They didn’t even create a problem – they made a decision for us. So that’s the decision.”
Spurs lost Son Heung-min to a hamstring injury at half-time against Newcastle.
The South Korea forward had already hit the woodwork twice having scored four goals in the previous Premier League outing at Southampton.
But Mourinho believes Son’s setback will be the first in a list on injury problems his side will have to overcome due to their fixture congestion.
Asked if playing a Chelsea side who had to fight from three goals down to draw at West Brom on Saturday gave Tottenham a good chance of progressing in the Carabao Cup, the Portuguese replied:
“You’re joking or you’re serious?
“Chelsea played Saturday, they have Sunday and Monday (off) then they play Tuesday and then they play again on the weekend.
“So their fantastic squad, if the manager decides not to rotate, he can perfectly play with the players that he wants.
“As you know and forgetting the past Thursday, we played on the Sunday, now we play on the Tuesday, we play on the Thursday, we play on the Sunday again.
“And I think Sonny was just the first. More (injuries) will come. Son was the first, but more will come.”
Tottenham already avoided the same fixture pattern last week after their third round Carabao Cup game at Leyton Orient was called off following a number of positive Covid-19 tests among the ranks of the Sky Bet League Two club.
⚠️ 𝗘𝗙𝗟 𝗦𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁
Tottenham Hotspur have been awarded a bye to Round Four of the Carabao Cup.
In accordance with Carabao Cup Rules, the @EFL have determined that The O's forfeit the tie.
— Leyton Orient (@leytonorientfc) September 25, 2020
Despite being given a bye into the next round, and receiving more rest for his players as a result, Mourinho said that Orient should feel aggrieved by the decision to award the tie to Spurs.
“I think they have to be very, very upset,” he added.
“I think they have to. I have total sympathy for them. I don’t think they did anything wrong. They were tested. I think they deserve to play against us, no doubts about it.”