Jose Mourinho admitted Tottenham were lucky to progress to the fifth round of the FA Cup after a dramatic 3-2 victory over Southampton.
Heung-Min Son decided an absorbing game from the penalty spot with just two minutes left in the fourth round replay at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with an own goal by Jack Stephens and another by Lucas Moura for the north Londoners. However the Spurs chief conceded that highly impressive, attack-minded Saints were the better side on the night.
Tottenham have a host of injuries to key players at the moment, including Harry Kane, Erik Lamela, new signing Bergwijn, Moussa Sissoko and Giovanio Lo Celso, but they worked hard despite the fortuitous outcome against the luckless visitors from the south coast.
“The best team lost, the best team on the pitch lost tonight,” said Mourinho. “In a dramatic way you forget they had their full team but I can’t forget the circumstances and the way my players reacted was phenomenal. They showed heart and a great connection with the crowd.”
In terms of overall progress for the Lilywhites this term, Mourinho remains frustrated, largely due to the casualty list. He did, at least, have Dele Alli to come off the bench - and the England star was instrumental in setting up Son who was subsequebntly fouled by Southanpton keeper Angus Gunn for the penalty.
Mourniho explained: “I cannot speak about the progress as I don’t have the players I need to progress for that dynamic. We don’t have the players (due to injuries) like not having Sissoko, Lamala, Bergwijn. It is a very difficult season and to progress they way we would like. We are trying to play chess but without the pieces.
“But we gave ourselves a chance to go now and compete in the next round. The players are being magnificent. Amazing spirit and that is something I always like very, very much and because of that there is one more day for us. We are in a situation where everybody has to give what they can give.
“I met him (Alli) this morning with the fitness and medical departments and didn’t know he could play. We measured the risks and his capacity to cope with pain. He was happy to come on because he knew we were in big trouble.”
He added: “Lo Celso and Lamela weren’t fit enough so we connected with Lucas and Son in the right moment. We knew the direction we wanted to go, but of course they scored the second goal and it was important the way the team reacted.”