Saturday, November 28, 2020

Spurs boss Mourinho dubs Hojbjerg ´Zidane´

SoccerNews in UEFA Europa League 23 Oct 2020

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Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho jokingly referred to Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg as French great Zinedine Zidane after praising the midfielder’s display in the Europa League victory over LASK.

Spurs opened their Europa League campaign with a 3-0 win at home to LASK thanks to Lucas Moura and Son Heung-min strikes and an Andres Andrade own goal.

Tottenham have won 11 of their last 12 home Europa League group-stage fixtures, drawing once.

Hojbjerg – an off-season signing from Southampton – impressed in London on Thursday, despite requiring stiches following a head clash in the 21st minute as he returned with a bandaged head.

Asked about Hojbjerg and his leadership post-match, Mourinho told reporters: “We were having some laughs at half-time because we were calling him ‘Zidane’ and saying ‘Ok Pierre, take it easy. You tried it once [the double pirouette], don’t try to do it again because that’s not you’.

“But fantastic player and a player the team needs. That’s why we started with him because to be honest we respect LASK and we saw the way they destroyed Sporting in Lisbon and they are much better than what they looked because we were taking it seriously.

“Pierre is a good player and a good leader and he’s a captain without the armband. He’s a guy who doesn’t need the armband like he had in Southampton to influence other people. Very brave. So happy with Pierre.”

Carlos Vinicius made his Tottenham debut against Austrian visitors LASK and the loanee caught the eye.

On loan from Portuguese powerhouse Benfica, Brazilian forward Carlos Vinicius supplied two assists and created five chances on his bow for Spurs.

“He played well but he can do better,” said Mourinho, whose Tottenham have scored 31 goals in all competitions this season – five more than any other Premier League side. “He is a bit of a shame still, it is not easy not to speak English so the adaption to the group, in spite of having amazing guys that try to make him feel well, is not easy.

“Different football, different way to play, to think, learning the way we press, learning the attacking movements. He is still in a learning process, Vinicius can be much more than this.

“But first match I am really happy, the only thing that was missing was a goal. But we can see he is much more than, he is not selfish, he is a good target man, he can even play with Harry Kane when his good period arrives.”

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