Jose Mourinho wanted to ‘make 11 changes at half-time’ during Tottenham’s Europa League defeat to Royal Antwerp
Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho said the disappointing performances of his players during Thursday’s 1-0 Europa League defeat to Royal Antwerp would make it “very easy” to pick his team going forward.
Mourinho made nine changes to the lineup from Monday’s 1-0 Premier League win at Burnley but Spurs fell behind inside 30 minutes after an error from defender Ben Davies allowed Antwerp forward Lior Refaelov to score from close range.
Dele Alli, Steven Bergwijn, Giovani lo Celso and Carlos Vinicius were all replaced at halftime but Spurs were unable to get back on level terms. It was their first defeat since losing 1-0 to Everton on the Premier League’s opening weekend in September.
“I would like to have made 11 changes at half-time,” Mourinho said. “I didn’t make five as I was afraid of a long 45 minutes.
“I always like to think the players deserve an opportunity. We have a big squad with lots of good players,” he added.
“It’s my responsibility to give them opportunities but it’s also their opportunity to catch the chance with both hands and ask for more.
“Tonight shows my future choices are going to be very easy.”
Alli’s future now is looking increasingly bleak as Mourinho freezes him out.
It was just his third start and he has not stayed on past 60 minutes, which could make it difficult for him to get any rhythm.
But Mourinho expects all of his players who come into the side to hit the ground running.
He added: “Of course. Of course. That’s what I want from the players, that’s what I expect from the players, especially when you’re a player with ambitions to be first choice, play in the most important matches and start every match, especially now in the Premier League. You have to show.
“That’s an obvious thing. Everybody works the same, trains the same, learns the same. We prepare every match with the same care, the same tactical work we did yesterday is the same we did before Burnley, before Manchester, before every match.
“So of course I expect. But again I go back to the beginning and it’s my responsibility to chose the players to play.”