Soccer News

Soccer-Mourinho says fixture congestion will force Spurs to sacrifice League Cup

Sept 28 (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho believes their packed fixture schedule will force them to prioritise the more lucrative Europa League over the League Cup in a bid to avoid further injuries in the squad.

Spurs host Chelsea on Tuesday in the League Cup fourth round, two days before Maccabi Haifa’s visit to north London for a Europa League playoff match.

Mourinho said the English Football League “made the decision” for him and he had no option but to rotate the squad for the London derby.

“I would like to fight for the Carabao (League) Cup but I don’t think I can,” Mourinho told reporters.

“We have a game on Thursday that gives us not as much money as the Champions League but the group phase of the Europa League gives us a certain amount that for a club like us is very important.”

Spurs were held to a 1-1 draw against Newcastle United on Sunday after a controversial handball decision but a bigger worry for Mourinho was losing South Korean forward Son Heung-min to a hamstring injury at halftime.

“I think Sonny was just the first,” Mourinho added. “More will come. Son was the first, but more will come.”

When it was suggested that Spurs should still have a chance against Chelsea, who had to come back from three goals down to salvage a point against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, Mourinho replied: “You’re joking or you’re serious?”

“Chelsea played Saturday, they have Sunday and Monday (off) then they play Tuesday and then they play again on the weekend.

“So their fantastic squad, if the manager decides not to rotate, he can perfectly play with the players that he wants.

“As you know and forgetting the past Thursday, we played on the Sunday, now we play on the Tuesday, we play on the Thursday, we play on the Sunday again.”

Spurs avoided a similar fixture pattern last week when Leyton Orient were forced to forfeit their third round tie after many of their players tested positive for COVID-19. (Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru Editing by Christian Radnedge)