Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Mourinho sets focus on Europa League, rather than Chelsea reunion

SoccerNews in English Premier League 28 Sep 2020

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Jose Mourinho may have a mouthwatering EFL Cup clash with former club Chelsea up next, but the Tottenham boss admits his priority has to be the Europa League amid a condensed fixture list. 

After Sunday’s controversial 1-1 draw with Newcastle United in the Premier League, Spurs are back in action just over 48 hours later as they host London rivals Chelsea. 

However, while Tuesday’s tie pits two of the top-flight’s biggest clubs against each other, Mourinho is more interested in what comes after the meeting with his old employers, as his squad have little time to recover before facing Maccabi Haifa on Thursday. 

Victory over their opponents from Israel will clinch a place in the group stage of the Europa League, a welcome financial boost for Spurs during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

“I would like to fight for the EFL Cup, but I don’t think I can,” Mourinho told the media.  

“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 to us.”

After European duties in midweek, Tottenham then travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United in league action on Sunday.

They are likely to do so without Son Heung-min, however, as the South Korean forward suffered a hamstring injury against Newcastle and is set for an extended spell out of action.

Considering the fixture congestion, Mourinho expects to have to deal with a spate of injuries in the coming weeks – something his Chelsea counterpart, Frank Lampard, does not have to worry about, considering the “fantastic” squad he has at his disposal.

“Chelsea played Saturday, they have Sunday and Monday, they play Tuesday and then again on the weekend,” the Portuguese boss said.

“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’ve played on the Sunday, we then play on Tuesday, Thursday and then on Sunday again. Son was just the first – more will come.”

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