Jose Mourinho is ready to ensure Tottenham end Marine’s FA Cup dream by sending a strong side for the third-round tie on Sunday.
Spurs head to the eighth-tier club for the biggest mismatch in the competition’s history, with 161 places between them in the footballing pyramid.
Mourinho could arguably send a team full of under-23s and still progress given the chasm between the two clubs, but he has promised to go to Crosby with a strong team, saying that winning the game would be showing them the most respect possible.
🤝 Find out how we have been supporting @MarineAFC's community efforts ahead of Sunday’s historic cup tie, including Gary Mabbutt’s video call with a group of elderly residents in Crosby ⤵️#THFC ⚪️ #COYS
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 8, 2021
“I don’t think they want to play against Tottenham Under-23s, they want to play against the guys they are used to watching, admiring, used to following and we want to give them that,” the Portuguese said.
“Myself and my staff, the respect is the way we are preparing the game and the same way we’re trying to know their striker, their centre-back, keeper, their tactical organisation. It’s the same we do with other opponents, of course of a different level, and basically it’s that.
“I think the same way they feel happy to play against us I want my guys, I feel that. I feel very happy to play them and very happy it’s in Crosby and not at home.
“I feel very happy to play them and I understand the dream. It’s up to us to bring them back to reality but I clearly understand the dream.
“Nobody puts a foot on the football pitch knowing or feeling that we are going to lose, so I believe that in this moment they feel like they are going to win and it’s up to us to bring them back to reality.
“We are top professionals, we are a different level and we are going to win. It is up to us to make them understand that as soon as possible but in this moment they have this dream.
“So what can we do apart from respect them and win the match? Nothing. I always believe to respect these teams is to beat them.
“To show respect to them is to beat them. To show respect to them is to play with a good team, with a team with responsibility, with a team with motivation and to beat them. With a team that goes there and wins the game. That is to show respect, that is the cup mentality of the big teams.
“If we go there and we lose of course it would be massive for them, but it would be because of a lack of respect from us to them.
“We are preparing the game normally, we trained today looking at that game, we had tactical meetings looking at that game, and we are going there of course to win the game.”
Spurs are taking it so seriously that Gareth Bale has asked to travel with the squad following a recent injury.
The Wales international has missed the last three weeks with a calf injury, but returned to training on Friday.
Mourinho added: “He trained today first time with us, so tomorrow second time and tomorrow after training we will make a decision.
“And what I can say, and it’s also a way to show you the way we are looking, the respect we have for this fixture, is that Gareth told me he would like to go and would like to play, so if tomorrow if the feelings are positive, Gareth will come.”
Giovani Lo Celso (hamstring) remains sidelined for the Sunday afternoon game.