Jose Mourinho explains how Middlesbrough caused Tottenham problems in FA Cup replay

Jose Mourinho praised Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate and assistant Robbie Keane for their in-game management during Boro’s 2-1 defeat at Tottenham.

Thursday, 16th January 2020, 1:51 pm
Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho.

Jose Mourinho praised Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate and assistant Robbie Keane for their in-game management during Boro’s 2-1 defeat at Tottenham.

Spurs avoided an FA Cup upset in Tuesday’s third-round replay at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium but were given a brief scare in the closing stages.

The hosts dominated the first half as goals from Giovani Lo Celso and Erik Lamela put Mourinho’s men 2-0 up inside 15 minutes.

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Boro recovered well in the second half, though, and threatened to force extra-time after George Saville pulled a goal back in the 83rd minute.

After the game, Mourinho picked out Boro strikers Ashley Fletcher and Rudy Gestede, who came off the bench, after the Teessiders went more direct in the closing stages.

"The team played very well, especially in the first half,” said Mourinho when asked his thoughts on the game.

"In the second half we started to lose some passes in midfield. Then we gave them the chance to feel they were in the game.

"Jonathan wasn't sleeping, he was awake and reading the game with Robbie. They brought Gestede on and had Fletcher, they started playing long balls and winning second balls.

"They scored the goal and then we knew the last few minutes we had to control it.”

Mourinho also thought his side should have killed the game off in the first half, but controlled the situation once Boro pulled a goal back.

"The majority of the time, especially when the energy as there, we were intense and should have killed the game.

"It was not just Gestede, it was Gestede and Fletcher, two very strong boys in the air and a game that creates problems for everyone.

"You can't press the ball when the ball is in the air. We had to try and stop long balls.

"We dealt very well with every set piece. They had quite a high number of corners and free-kicks. They scored from outside the box, with Saville. Then they were in the game for the last few minutes, credit to them for that."