Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho refused to comment on the controversial decision to award Newcastle United a late penalty in Sunday's 1-1 Premier League draw.

Spurs held a slender lead deep into stoppage time through Lucas Moura's first-half goal when referee Peter Bankes pointed to the spot for a handball decision against Eric Dier.

Andy Carroll headed down a lofted free-kick and the ball struck the arm of Dier, who had his back to the Newcastle striker after jumping up for a header.

Following a lengthy delay for VAR to look back at the incident, including a possible offside infringement, Bankes went to the pitchside monitor and awarded the penalty.

Callum Wilson converted from what was Newcastle's only attempt on target with 97 minutes on the clock.

A furious Mourinho stormed down the tunnel before the full-time whistle sounded and goalkeeper coach Nuno Santos was shown a red card for something he said to the referee.

Asked about the incident after the game, the Portuguese - who has been hit by a number of FA fines over the years - told Sky Sports: "I don't think about it. I think about my team and it was a really good performance,

"First half, amazing - it should have been three or four nil. But [Karl] Darlow was fantastic and we hit the post and they managed to survive. 

"In the second half we kept the control and kept them away from our box. Every box is 18 yards but there are boxes in boxes and the Tottenham box is a special box. 

"We kept them away and then we had that situation that we lost two points, which I'm not going to comment on."

Mourinho added: "I react during the game but the game is finished and I don't want to speak about it. If I want to give money away I'll give to charities, not the FA."

Spurs would have been out of sight if not for Darlow, who made 10 saves - the most by an English keeper in a Premier League match since November 2017.

Newcastle have scored from all three of their shots on target in the top flight this term and Mourinho had no complaints about the visitors' gameplan.

"It is not for me to judge Newcastle's performance," he said. "They did their job the best they could. I think [Steve] Bruce was super happy with the result.

"He is a very intelligent and a very experienced guy. He knows football and knew at half-time it could be three or four nil, so he was very happy and he got a point."

Steve Bruce called for managers to collectively demand action over decisions that are "ruining the spectacle" of football after his Newcastle United team benefited from a controversial penalty in the 1-1 draw at Tottenham.

The Magpies were a distant second best at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and had not managed a shot on target before Eric Dier was harshly adjudged to have handled Andy Carroll's downward header in the box deep into stoppage time.

Referee Peter Bankes' decision to give the spot-kick after checking the monitor allowed Callum Wilson to convert the leveller from 12 yards, with Spurs boss Jose Mourinho storming off down the tunnel before the final whistle.

It is the latest in a spate of marginal calls deemed by many to be damaging the enjoyment value of the game, particularly in relation to the handball law, with Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson having spoken out after his side were penalised for a similar incident in Saturday's loss to Everton.

And Bruce, whose side have now scored three goals from three shots on target in the Premier League this season, understands that anger after seeing Wilson coolly cancel out Lucas Moura's opener.

"I can understand why Spurs will go berserk and Roy Hodgson reacted like he did," Bruce told Sky Sports.

"It is a total nonsense, we should be jumping through hoops but I would be devastated if that was us.

"Maybe Roy is right, maybe we all need to get together. The decisions are ruining the spectacle. We have to get together as managers and say this must stop.

"If our goalkeeper didn't play as well [in the] first half they would have been out of sight. Second half, we were better and posed a bit of a threat.

"Our goalkeeper has got us a point and a decision that went our way."

Callum Wilson scored a last-gasp penalty to rescue an underserved 1-1 draw for Newcastle United at Tottenham in the Premier League.

The Magpies had not managed a shot on target and trailed to Lucas Moura's first-half goal when Eric Dier was harshly adjudged to have handled Andy Carroll's header in the box deep into stoppage time.

Dier's back was turned but his arm was away from his body, with referee Peter Bankes awarding the spot-kick after checking the monitor.

Wilson fired home from 12 yards, with Jose Mourinho storming off down the tunnel before the whistle and a member of his staff sent off after it for his protests.

It follows a recent spate of controversial handball decisions, with this one sure to be a hot talking point as the hosts had to share the spoils despite having 23 attempts at goal in a dominant display, during which Son Heung-min twice struck the woodwork.

Only an excellent display from goalkeeper Karl Darlow, with a little help from the frame of his goal, limited the first-half damage for Newcastle against a Spurs side who were in Europa League qualifying action in North Macedonia on Thursday.

Son, the four-goal hero in last weekend's 5-2 demolition of Southampton, hit the post and crossbar, but Moura could not miss from six yards when Harry Kane provided his latest assist in the 25th minute.

Darlow, who had already repelled Giovani Lo Celso's free-kick before reacting to keep out Kane's follow-up, denied the England striker again, clawing away his header after Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's searching cross had created the chance.

Steve Bruce's side enjoyed a little more possession after the interval but rarely looked like drawing level before the penalty controversy at the death.

Wilson, who had not scored in 509 minutes against Spurs before this game, kept his calm amid the storm to ensure Newcastle have scored three goals from three shots on target in the top flight this term.

It was too much for Mourinho, who made for the dressing room with a minute or so still to play, lamenting his side's profligacy as well as the apparent injustice of Bankes' decision.

What does it mean? Handball the hot topic

Roy Hodgson was bemoaning the new interpretation of what constitutes handball after Crystal Palace fell foul of a similarly harsh call in Saturday's loss to Everton.

The veteran manager said it was killing his enjoyment of the game, and Mourinho will be able to identify with that.

Kane: How may I assist you?

Kane is first and foremost a goalscorer, which makes his recent selfless exploits in providing for others even more impressive.

Before this season he had five assists in his past 55 league outings, and now he has laid on as many goals in the top flight already this term.

Wilson keeps his cool

Wilson had been on the periphery of things all day, so it took guts to step up and convert his spot-kick so coolly.

He had just 15 touches and the penalty was his only shot, which you might consider a clinical display as it earned his side a smash-and-grab away point.

What's next?

Tottenham's congested schedule continues with the visit of Chelsea on Tuesday, having been given a bye to the fourth round of the EFL Cup. Newcastle head to Newport County in the same competition a day later.

Callum Wilson scored a last-gasp penalty to rescue an underserved 1-1 draw for Newcastle United at Tottenham.

The Magpies had not managed a shot on target and trailed to Lucas Moura's first-half goal when Eric Dier was harshly adjudged to have handled Andy Carroll's header in the box deep into stoppage time.

Dier's back was turned but his arm was away from his body, with referee Peter Bankes awarding the spot-kick after checking the monitor.

Wilson fired home from 12 yards, with Jose Mourinho storming off down the tunnel before the whistle and a member of his staff sent off after it for his protests.

It follows a recent spate of controversial handball decisions, with this one sure to be a hot talking point as the hosts had to share the spoils despite having 23 attempts at goal in a dominant display, during which Son Heung-min twice struck the woodwork.

Memphis Depay remains Barcelona's preferred transfer option, while Manchester United want Jadon Sancho and Alex Telles in this window.

LaLiga giants Barca have been linked with numerous attackers as they rebuild under Ronald Koeman.

Depay has seemingly been the favourite to join, and it appears nothing has changed.

 

TOP STORY – DEPAY THE FAVOURITE TO JOIN BARCELONA

Depay is in pole position to join Barcelona from Lyon, according to Mundo Deportivo.

The report says Depay, 26, fits the profile and salary expectations at Barca.

Depay and Koeman worked together while the latter was in charge of the Netherlands between 2018 and 2020.

ROUND-UP

- United are still hoping for two signings this transfer window. The Sun says the Red Devils are looking to land Borussia Dortmund star Sancho and Porto left-back Telles .

- Arsenal could be close to strengthening by signing Houssem Aouar . Telefoot says the attacker has agreed to join the club, with Lyon and Arsenal set for talks over a fee.

- As they continue their search for a defender, Manchester City may be close to making a decision. Goal reports the Premier League club are in talks with Benfica over Ruben Dias , in a deal that could see Nicolas Otamendi  go the other way. Meanwhile, ESPN says Sevilla are expecting an improved bid from City for Jules Kounde after an initial £50.2million (€55m) offer was rejected.

- Chelsea may not be done spending just yet. The Mirror reports they want to make another move for West Ham midfielder Declan Rice , and it could lead to Jorginho joining Arsenal .

- Sergino Dest is expected to join Barcelona and Guillem Balague claims the Ajax right-back should officially join them next week. Barcelona sold Nelson Semedo to Wolves this week.

- Could there be late movement in the transfer window for Tottenham ? The Sun reports Spurs are in talks to sign Inter defender Milan Skriniar and are prepared to pay between £25m (€27.4m) and £30m (€32.9m), which is well below Inter's valuation.

Jose Mourinho has reiterated Tottenham remain keen on making even more additions to their squad in this transfer window.

Spurs have so far brought in four new players, having last week added Real Madrid pair Sergio Reguilon and Gareth Bale to a group that had already been bolstered by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Matt Doherty.

Inter's Milan Skriniar and Southampton's Danny Ings have also been linked to the north London club as Mourinho targets both a centre-back and a central striker that can deputise for Harry Kane.

"The market is open, we have a good squad," Mourinho told reporters.

"Can we have a better squad than we have now? Yes, we can. Is the club trying to build that balanced squad that we all want? Yes, we are trying. Let’s see if that’s possible."

That squad tinkering could include departures too, though.

Dele Alli's Tottenham future looks bleak after he was left out of the squad to face Southampton at the weekend having been hauled off at half-time in the loss to Everton.

Mourinho excluded the England international on that occasion because he felt he had too many attacking options, and he took the 24-year-old off on Thursday for Kane shortly after Shkendija had equalised in their Europa League tie.

Tottenham went on to win 3-1, and though Mourinho did not single out Alli for criticism, he bemoaned the entire team's display before Kane's introduction.

"The team didn't play very well, as a team," the Portuguese said.

"It's hard to individualise, it's hard to say player A, B or C when the reality is that the team didn't play very well.

"For the last 30 minutes, the team played well. We used the wings, we had occupation in the box, we had Harry not losing the ball, dropping back and linking the play. The team improved a lot in the last 30 minutes."

One man who does appear to have convinced Mourinho he is worthy of a starting spot moving forward is record signing Tanguy Ndombele.

The Frenchman was taken off at half-time against Southampton - when he was making his first start since March - but lasted 90 minutes on Thursday and earned Mourinho's praise.

"He played very well," Mourinho said of Ndombele.

"I don't have the data in my hands but I imagine our percentage of the ball was very high and when it is high he feels much more comfortable. But even without the ball he had good recovery, duels, defensive transition, it was a very positive game from Tanguy, really happy.

"Can he play on Sunday [against Newcastle United]? I’m not sure. We have to see how he reacts and recovers from it but we have so many matches coming that if a player is not able to play in the next match then he will be able to play in the next one."

Jose Mourinho will face his former club Chelsea in the EFL Cup fourth round after Tottenham's bye through to the last 16 was confirmed on Friday.

Spurs had been due to play Leyton Orient in round three of the competition; however, a COVID-19 outbreak in the League Two club's ranks meant Tuesday's game could not go ahead this week.

The EFL did not make an immediate decision on the fate of that tie, but has now announced Tottenham will be given a walkover.

It means Mourinho's Spurs will host Chelsea next Tuesday - September 29 - with a quarter-final place at stake.

The EFL said in a statement: "The round three tie scheduled for Tuesday 22 September between Leyton Orient and Tottenham Hotspur could not take place following the issue by Waltham Forest Borough Council of an order preventing the match being played as planned. This followed a number of Leyton Orient players testing positive for COVID-19."

Citing rule 5.1 of the competition's regulations, which is specific to the non-fulfilment of fixtures, the EFL board ruled that Orient would be eliminated.

"The club was unable to fulfil its obligations to complete the fixture by virtue of the council’s order and shall therefore forfeit the tie," the EFL statement read.

Gareth Bale is confident he can handle any pressure at Tottenham after living with a target on his back at Real Madrid.

The Wales star is back in north London and itching to get started at Tottenham, with a minor knee injury delaying his second debut for the club.

Bale spent six years at Tottenham before leaving for Madrid in 2013, winning four Champions League titles and LaLiga twice with Los Blancos before his time in Spain turned sour.

As his performances dipped, and as Zinedine Zidane stopped counting on him as a first-team regular, Bale began to lose the faith of the Santiago Bernabeu crowd.

Posing with a flag carrying the now-immortal line "Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order" while on international duty did Bale no favours.

Zidane's sidelining of Bale drew few complaints in Spain, but the Cardiff-born forward is back in the Premier League and looking to prove his career can lift off again.

He told Sky Sports: "Obviously going into a different culture, a different country, I've had to grow up as a person, never mind a footballer.

"You just learn how to deal with the situations that you're in. Obviously I've been in immense pressure situations. I've had people on the pitch whistling in the stadium to me.

"I've just learned how to deal with those type of things, to not take it too seriously, [not] take it too much to heart, and just get on with it.

"I have no regrets of what I've done, whatever anyone else has said, that's up to them. I know my opinion of myself and my family know exactly what I am, so that's all I'm worried about."

Spurs hope they have re-enlisted a world-class player who is motivated to prove his qualities all over again. The deal is a season-long loan initially.

"We have a great team here now with a great squad," Bale said of Jose Mourinho's side.

"They've been doing great. Obviously in the time that I've gone away they've gone on and on and obviously reached the Champions League final, the club's got a new stadium, the club itself is better, they're doing better in the Premier League every year.

"So I just want to add to that. I want to try and bring a bit more to the team and try and progress even more and keep pushing in the right direction."

Jadon Sancho has been tipped to swap Borussia Dortmund for Manchester United, but he remains in Germany.

Sancho's valuation has proved a stumbling block for United, who have made the England international their number one transfer target.

United, though, are not giving up hope as they reportedly make one last attempt to sign the 20-year-old.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED SET FOR FINAL SANCHO OFFER

Manchester United will make a take-it-or-leave-it offer for Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, according to the Daily Star and the Mirror.

United have so far been unable to prise Sancho from Dortmund, who refuse to budge on their €120million (£108m) asking price.

But United are preparing a final and non-negotiable £90m (€98m) offer, with £75m (€82m) up front with an additional £15m (€16m) in add-ons.

 

ROUND-UP

- AS reports Real Madrid face competition for Rennes teenager Eduardo Camavinga. Eyeing a move for Camavinga in 2021, Madrid are set to face a battle from Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Bayern Munich.

Kylian Mbappe could be available for around €100m, says L'Equipe. The PSG star, who is reportedly seeking an exit, is wanted by Madrid and Liverpool.

- The Sun claims Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga is set to leave Stamford Bridge on loan following Edouard Mendy's arrival.

- Madrid forward Borja Mayoral has agreed to join Serie A side Roma, reports DiMarzio.

- Alfredo Pedulla says Juventus are weighing up a €60m move for Fiorentina star Federico Chiesa, who has also been linked to Milan.

- If Milan Skriniar leaves for Tottenham, DiMarzio claims Inter could target Schalke star and Liverpool target Ozan Kabak.

- According to Marca, Barcelona are making a late push to sign long-time target and Inter forward Lautaro Martinez following Luis Suarez's switch to Atletico Madrid.

Barca are confident they will sign Ajax full-back Sergino Dest ahead of Bayern, says Fabrizio Romano.

- Romano also reports that Atletico will not negotiate with Arsenal regarding Thomas Partey as they believe he will stay in the Spanish capital.

Gareth Bale gave Real Madrid a lot and remains a "world-class talent", according to his former coach Juande Ramos.

The Wales international completed a return to Tottenham last week on a season-long loan, seven years after swapping the two clubs for a world-record fee at the time.

He won 13 trophies during his time at the Santiago Bernabeu, including four Champions League titles, but he struggled for appearances over the past couple of seasons.

Madrid paid little tribute to Bale following his departure and Ramos has suggested the 31-year-old deserves more respect.

"He is a player I like a lot," Ramos, who coached the forward at Tottenham and also managed Madrid for six months, told Radio Marca.

"I think he has given Real Madrid a lot too. He has enormous power and a magical left foot. He is a very usable footballer and one of the few with world-class talent."

Bale scored 105 goals and contributed 57 assists in 251 appearances for Madrid but was restricted to 20 outings last season after falling out of favour with boss Zinedine Zidane.

"Inside Madrid they will know the problems he may have had with Zidane," Ramos said. "But I am sure he has his own side of the story."

Tottenham also signed Sergio Reguilon from Madrid in a permanent deal last week and Ramos has tipped the left-back to be a success in north London.

"For now it is a populated position with [Ferland] Mendy and Marcelo. If they have made a decision to let Sergio go it's because they received a good amount of money," he said.

"Reguilon had less chance of minutes with Real Madrid than the other two and I think he will adapt well to Spurs. He is a player with a lot of potential."

Jose Mourinho joked about a bizarre incident ahead of Tottenham's Europa League qualifier with Shkendija, when it was spotted the goalposts were too small.

Spurs ran out 3-1 winners in North Macedonia on Thursday, with Son Heung-min and Harry Kane scoring after Valmir Nafiu had cancelled out Erik Lamela's opener.

Things may have been different, however, had Spurs' goalkeepers not spotted something was off with the frame of the goal.

"Before the game was a funny situation because my goalkeepers told me the goal was small. I went to see and it was small," Mourinho told a news conference.

"The goalkeepers spend all their time in them so we know. I felt immediately something was wrong and we got the UEFA delegate to come in and it was five centimetres too small.

"We asked for goals of the right dimensions."

Son followed up his four-goal showing at Southampton with a goal and two assists, though Spurs made hard work of the tie until Kane came on from the bench, replacing the ineffective Dele Alli.

"We didn't play magnificently but we did the job," said Mourinho, whose side face Newcastle United in the Premier League on Sunday.

"We started very strongly and the thought was that we would kill the game but we didn't. They gave us a difficult match and the fear we felt after the equaliser was fundamental to the team's reaction.

"In the second half, after our changes, we [played better], and I like to see players come in and make an impact and the players who came on made a difference."

Spurs must now see off Maccabi Haifa at home next week to seal a place in the group stages.

Tottenham again made hard work of Europa League progress as a scrappy 3-1 win at Shkendija took Jose Mourinho's men into the play-off round.

Spurs had survived a major scare in the previous qualifying stage last week, coming from behind to beat nine-man Lokomotiv Plovdiv with two late goals in Bulgaria.

And the trip to North Macedonia threatened to prove similarly troublesome when Valmir Nafiu cancelled out Erik Lamela's fifth-minute strike.

A visiting team including debutant Joe Hart and the returning Dele Alli toiled for a time until Son Heung-min - fresh from a four-goal salvo at Southampton - restored the lead and then turned provider for Harry Kane, whose goal ensured a play-off with Maccabi Haifa.

Lamela's opener looked to have teed up a straightforward evening for Tottenham, found completely free by Son on the right side of the area to slide a calm finish inside the bottom-left corner.

Spurs dominated but did not threaten again until Toby Alderweireld headed narrowly wide in the 26th minute, with Kostadin Zahov then saving Alli's scruffy eight-yard effort.

Further Tottenham openings followed in the second half without causing Zahov undue concern and Shkendija were level against the run of play after 55 minutes.

Ljupco Doriev fizzed a pass right to Nafiu, who arrowed a sensational effort high past Hart into the top-right corner.

Kane, Giovani Lo Celso and then Lucas Moura were called from the Spurs bench, yet the England captain followed Lamela in squandering a big headed chance with the goal gaping.

Son was clinical when his chance came, though, controlling as Zahov parried Lucas' shot and firing into the roof of the net.


What does it mean? Spurs forced to turn to stars

Having repeatedly bemoaned Tottenham's tough schedule, Mourinho would have been frustrated to see a team missing Kane, Lo Celso and Lucas fail to get the job done.

He was therefore forced to call on the rested trio just three days before the visit of Newcastle United. It paid dividends, but the starting XI - Son apart - did themselves and their coach few favours.

Son the Spurs star

Given the focus Mourinho is placing on the Europa League, Son's display here might even be considered more important than his stunning performance against Southampton.

His poise in the area had already prompted the breakthrough goal for Lamela, but two more telling contributions were required in the final 20 minutes to advance. The winger created four chances in all.

Dele disappoints

Mourinho said this week Alli - back in action for the first time since his half-time substitution in the defeat to Everton - held "99 per cent" of the responsibility for the improvement he required.

The coach did not appear overly enthused by this display, expressing his frustration with Alli on a couple of occasions, as the midfielder missed a big first-half chance and won just one of his six duels while failing to register a tackle or interception before he was replaced by Kane.

What's next?

Spurs must now travel back to London ahead of hosting Newcastle at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.

Kane created each of Son's four goals in their previous Premier League game, but the roles were reversed as Tottenham made sure of their place in the next round, a cross from the left met with a firm downward header.

Bayern Munich or Barcelona?

Two of the world's biggest clubs are going head-to-head for Ajax sensation Sergino Dest.

And the club from LaLiga are reportedly favourites to land the teenager.

 

TOP STORY – DEST WANTS BARCA

Ajax full-back Sergino Dest has pushed aside an offer from Bundesliga and Champions League holders Bayern Munich as he looks to join Barcelona, according to Sport.

Bayern and LaLiga giants Barca are both interested in the 19-year-old United States international.

But Dest has his heart set on Barca, where a principle agreement is reportedly in place between the player and Ajax.

 

ROUND-UP

Tottenham and Inter are in talks regarding centre-back Milan Skriniar, reports Sky Sport Italia. Skriniar is wanted by Jose Mourinho's Spurs but the Premier League club are unwilling to match Inter's £55million (€60m) valuation. Benfica's Ruben Dias remains a serious alternative.

- Diario AS claims Real Madrid defender Nacho Fernandez is wanted by Serie A trio Napoli, Roma and Milan.

- The same outlet also reports that Manchester United and Arsenal are two possible destinations for out-of-favour Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti. Former club Lyon, Rennes and Inter have also been linked.

Aston Villa are eyeing Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley on loan, according to the Telegraph. Barkley is down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge.

- Kicker says Barca and Roma have joined Paris Saint-Germain in looking at Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger, who looks set to leave London.

Manchester City are still pursuing Atletico Madrid's Jose Gimenez, says the Daily Star. An alternative to Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly, City's interest in Gimenez could be scuppered as the Uruguay international isolates and recovers from coronavirus.

- Despite already signing Gonzalo Higuain and Blaise Matuidi, Le10 Sport claims David Beckham's Inter Miami remain keen on free agent Edinson Cavani. However, the former PSG forward is still hoping to remain in Europe.

Jose Mourinho has outlined his ambition to coach a national team at some point in his career, though the Tottenham boss is not certain taking charge of Portugal would be a wise choice.

Mourinho has spent all of his managerial career to date at clubs, having spells at Benfica, Porto, Chelsea, Inter, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Spurs.

Though he is in no rush to call time on his time in club management, the 57-year-old disclosed he does wish to step into international coaching eventually.

"Yes I want to coach a national team, I want to have the experience of a World Cup and European Championship, the emotion of the short competition," Mourinho told a news conference ahead of Spurs' Europa League qualifier against North Macedonian side Shkendija.

However, Mourinho is not convinced coaching his home nation would be the best choice.

"Is Portugal the one I want do do? On one side yes as it is my heart," he added. "But it is very difficult to do it with the country you were born in."

Mourinho, who returned to his news conference to field a question from a Macedonian journalist whose late father idolised him, is also anticipating a tough test for Spurs on Thursday.

"My experience in football, I celebrate the 20th anniversary of my career, lots of experience, played lots of teams that nobody knows in top football," he said.

"They can be very dangerous, same way it was difficult in Plovdiv."

Jose Mourinho will name a strong Tottenham team at Shkendija on Thursday, rather than calling on the players who were set to face Leyton Orient.

The compact nature of the new season has provided Spurs with a frantic fixture list, with three matches scheduled for this week.

However, the EFL Cup meeting with Orient was called off after the League Two club announced a number of positive coronavirus tests in their first team.

That development gave Tottenham an unexpected night off on Tuesday ahead of the trip to North Macedonia for their Europa League third qualifying round match.

Mourinho will not simply send out the same side that had prepared for Orient, however, explaining the gap between Sunday's win at Southampton and this fixture was far more manageable for his big names.

Indeed, having required a late turnaround against nine men to beat Lokomotiv Plovdiv in the previous round, the coach is wary of taking Shkendija lightly.

"The team that was supposed to play last night is different than the team that plays tomorrow," Mourinho said.

"The main reason is we played Sunday against Southampton and one thing is Sunday-Tuesday, another thing is Sunday-Thursday.

"It is a normal situation for a football player of this level to play on Sunday and have three days rest and play again Thursday. That's normal.

"It's not normal to play Sunday and then Tuesday, so obviously the teams are going to be different. The main reason is the health and conditions to perform.

"Is the Europa League a competition that we want very, very much to go to the group phase? Yes, it is.

"I think from my experience, and even you without experience in this chair, as a journalist, you can perfectly feel it's much more difficult this knockout than the group phase of four teams and six matches.

"The six matches give us a little space for a mistake - for example, at [Manchester] United, we lost two matches in the group phase, we won four and we progressed - so we cannot take many risks with these matches.

"Even playing with a very strong team like we did in Bulgaria, we were 15 minutes away from a defeat and being knocked out."

Mourinho had previously professed his frustration at the EFL Cup schedule and also bemoaned a "world of contradictions" after West Ham played Hull City despite their own COVID-19 cases.

He said: "In relation to the EFL Cup, my initial feeling was when people don't respect us, why should we respect the competition?

"But in the end, it is a competition where I have a history, Tottenham have a history. It is the last trophy that Tottenham won. It is another competition where we think we have the same rights as others to try to compete.

"In relation to testing and COVID and all this situation, there are so many contradictions that I don't want to go into, this world of contradictions.

"I see so many contradictions, the way different countries react to it, the way football authorities in different countries react to it.

"There are so many contradictions that, honestly, I just do what I'm told to do. I don't want to get into that."

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