Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho wary of ‘very good’ Brentford as Spurs eye Carabao Cup final
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Jose Mourinho believes that Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup semi-final against Brentford is the biggest game he has faced since becoming Tottenham manager – and is wary of the visitors being a “very good team”. Spurs host the Bees at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium bidding to book a place in March’s final.
The Special One has won titles in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain, lifted the Champions League twice with two different clubs, and won in all 25 major trophies in a glittering managerial career that has now lasted 20 years.
But facing humble Brentford tonight? One of the biggest challenges yet – and a key one for the Portuguese, for this clash tonight represents his chance to bring silverware to Tottenham for the first time in 12 years.
And Mourinho has history with the League Cup – a trophy he has favoured since he first arrived in England in a blaze of publicity in the summer of 2004. It was the first one he lifted, in February 2005, when his Chelsea team beat Liverpool in Cardiff. He has won it three more times since, twice with Chelsea and once with Manchester United.
With his side currently lying fourth in the Premier League after Saturday’s comfortable 3-0 win over Leeds, Mourinho might be expected to have bigger targets in mind this year for his developing Spurs side – but the Carabao Cup is the first trophy that can be won in a season, and Mourinho knows the value of that potential boost to a team.
He said: “This is the biggest game since I came here. In the perspective of the club chasing silverware for many years, I would say so.
“Of course we always have important matches. Last season we had a match at Crystal Palace that would give us participation in this season’s Europa League or not.
“The match against Leeds was very important as we went a few games without a victory in the Premier League, but a semi-final is always very important. The only one more important is a final.”
Tottenham go into the clash against a Brentford side in fourth place in the Championship, who have already incredibly turfed four Premier League sides out of the competition, in Southampton, West Brom, Fulham and Newcastle and are unbeaten in 16 games.
Mournho insisted: “It was the first trophy for me here, in February 2005.
“But it is not about me, it is not about me winning four or five times, or me winning at three clubs, it’s not about me at all.
“It is about my club, about the players who want trophies, about fans who want trophies. This one is the one where we just need two victories. Of course, we face difficult opponents – but we need two victories.
“We need to look at this semi-final with this ambition, respecting a very good Brentford team who have kicked a few very good Premier League teams out of the competition.
“Every competition is important. It doesn’t matter the club where you are or the ambitions you have. That is my way of looking at things – especially at a club without silverware for more than a decade.
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“If we win two matches we win a trophy. Two difficult matches – but if we win we get a trophy which would be a very good thing for the club and the players.”
Erik Lamela has been ruled out, and Gareth Bale is injured, so Moussa Sissoko could start to offer Tanguy Ndombele a rest.
Probable Tottenham team vs Brentford: Lloris; Doherty, Sanchez, Dier, Davies; Winks, Hojbjerg; Moura, Sissoko, Son; Kane.
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