Mourinho: "Any team in the world would struggle with five of their best players out injured"
Tottenham's injury problems would affect the likes of Liverpool and Barcelona, José Mourinho said after Spurs were dumped out of the Champions League.
José Mourinho believes that Tottenham's plague of injuries is an issue that no team on the planet would be capable of dealing with. Spurs were dumped out of the Champions League on Tuesday, losing 3-0 to RB Leipzig in the second leg of their Last 16 tie.
Errors from Hugo Lloris helped Marcel Sabitzer put Leipzig in command with a first-half double before substitute Emil Forsberg rounded off a 4-0 aggregate triumph late on. It meant Spurs' hopes of winning a trophy this season came to an end, and they also face an uphill battle to qualify for next season's Champions League.
Spurs missing Son and Kane
Tottenham have been without Son Heung-min since February because of a broken arm, while a hamstring injury has kept fellow forward Harry Kane on the sideline since New Year's Day. Full-back Ben Davies missed the trip to Leipzig with a hamstring problem and Davinson Sanchez was also absent, with Spurs' defence ran ragged by Leipzig on the counter.
Asked in his post-match media conference what problems beyond injuries contributed to the defeat, Mourinho replied: "It's difficult for me to speak about injuries, but you want me to speak about other things when the obvious problems relate to accumulation of injuries? If you want to make a mental exercise and imagine Leipzig tonight without Sabitzer, [Patrik] Schick, [Timo] Werner, do you think they would win the way they did? You want to make an exercise of Liverpool without [Mohamed] Salah, [Sadio] Mané, [Jordan] Henderson, Barcelona without [Antoine] Griezmann, [Lionel] Messi, [Luis] Suárez, [Gerard] Piqué, you want to make this exercise with every team in the world? I think every team in the world would struggle with five or six of their most important players missing.
"It's as simple as that and to look at in a very pragmatic and simple way, it's as simple as that," he continued. "All the players on Leipzig would play, Forsberg would play, [Yussuf] Poulsen would, all of them would play in this moment in my team. I know that automatically our team will improve next season with these players [returning from injury], but we also know we have to improve in other areas. Our problems don't end with injuries but no team in the world would cope with injuries for such a long time. You can cope for one or two matches you cannot cope for three or four months, it's too much."
City ban could favour Spurs' Champions League chances
Spurs are seven points behind fourth-placed Chelsea and four behind fifth-placed Manchester United in the Premier League. Fifth would secure Champions League football if Manchester City's ban from the competition stands. "With the squad we have at the moment it's going to be very, very difficult," Mourinho said of their prospects of qualification. "We have matches to play, we have matches to fight. It's not like we cannot fight. We are going to fight."