Tottenham reaching EFL Cup final ‘says a lot’ – Mourinho

Goals either side of half-time from Moussa Sissoko and Heung-min Son booked Spurs’ place in a first domestic final since 2015 at the expense of the Championship club, who had Josh DaSilva sent off in the second half at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

If Spurs beat Manchester City or Man United at Wembley, they will end a 13-year wait for a trophy and Mourinho will lift the League Cup for a fifth time, making him the outright most successful manager in the competition’s history.

His predecessor at Spurs, Mauricio Pochettino, never valued the League Cup, while Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have also prioritised the Champions League and Premier League.

But Mourinho insisted the Premier League’s top clubs do want to win the competition, with Manchester City (five times), Chelsea and United the only victors since Swansea in 2013.

“If you see the winners you realise the big clubs want to win it,” he said.

“Who was the last winner apart from the normal top six? Swansea? I remember Man City winning a lot of times, Chelsea winning a lot of times, I remember United winning a few times. 

“I remember Liverpool in finals, Arsenal. The big clubs care about it. The final says a lot. Tottenham against Manchester City or Tottenham against Manchester United.”

The League Cup was Mourinho’s first trophy in English football with Chelsea in 2005 and he went on to win it twice more with the Blues over two spells, as well as once with United.

Asked for the secret to his success in the competition, he said: “There is no secret. I come to England in 2004 and I remember that in that period I had to learn the meaning of the cups here and I always took it seriously.

“If there is any secret it’s to take it seriously. To respect what English football is, what English clubs are, what English lower divisions are, and try to not be surprised in any of the games from smaller quality, and when you have like we had this season a game against Chelsea to go serious and with ambition. 

“Apart from that there is no other secret. 

“What I sense in the team is exactly that desire. I’m not saying winning mentality, I’m not saying we are this or that. I just say we are honest people. 

“The guys since the first game against Chelsea, then Stoke, and now the guys took it seriously. And that’s what I hope to do on Sunday in Crosby against Marine [in the FA Cup third-round]. Try to be serious, respect the opponents, and try to progress.”

Spurs will have to wait over three months for the final after the EFL delayed the Wembley showpiece from February until April 25 – in the hope supporters will be able to attend.

“I am supportive of it because it is a special situation,” Mourinho said of the decision. “If the final is in the beginning of February, the country is in lockdown, no supporters in the stadium, not even the fans to get out in the street celebrating the victory of his team.

“I support totally the 25th April, give us some time, hopefully we pray for it, hopefully the world changes and improves a little bit and I am not expecting too much, I am not praying for a full Wembley but maybe we can have a some supporters at Wembley. I am fully supportive, it is a special moment, I prefer it is played at the end of April.”

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