Jose Mourinho concedes Champions League bid looks forlorn

Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho says his side are up against it in their bid to get back into the Champions League next season.

A depleted Spurs, beaten finalists last year, crashed out of this year’s tournament after going down to RB Leipzig 4-0 on aggregate in the last 16.

It was their last remaining hope of silverware this season but it never looked likely in east Germany as they lost 3-0 in the second leg, with Marcel Sabitzer scoring a brace and Emil Forsberg adding a late effort.

Spurs have nine games left in the Premier League to try to save their campaign, but their situation looks grim. They are seven points off fourth-placed Chelsea and the likes of Harry Kane, Son Heung-min, Moussa Sissoko and Steven Bergwijn are not going to be back from injury any time soon.

The match with Manchester United on Sunday will be pivotal and Mourinho accepts a top-four finish will be a big ask.

“With the squad we have at the moment it’s going to be very, very difficult,” he said. “These problems are not going to disappear from today to tomorrow.

“But we have matches to play, matches to fight in. You can see in our matches in the Premier League that we fight until the end.

“In the Premier League we don’t have results where we had no chances to fight for the points.

RB Leipzig v Tottenham
Tottenham Hotspur’s Ryan Sessegnon (left) and RB Leipzig’s Nordi Mukiele battle for the ball (John Walton/PA)

“When we lost matches, we lost matches 2-1, 3-2, 1-0. We had draws so it’s not like we don’t fight.

“So we will fight and the players have to be very strong to fight with the limitations we have.

“This time we are not going to recover any players for next Sunday. At least we have a little period, not just two days like we have all the time, we have four days in between.”

Mourinho said no team in the world would be able to cope with the amount of injuries to key players his side have suffered.

RB Leipzig v Tottenham Hotspur – UEFA Champions League – Round of 16 – Second Leg – Red Bull Arena
Tottenham Hotspur’s Japhet Tanganga and RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano tussle as Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris takes possession (John Walton/PA)

“It looks like the obvious is that the problems accumulate with the accumulation of injuries,” Mourinho said.

“If you want to make an exercise and imagine Leipzig tonight without Sabitzer, (Patrik) Schick, (Timo) Werner, do you think they would win the way they did?

“You go to the European champions and make an exercise? Liverpool without (Mohamed) Salah, (Sadio) Mane, (Jordan) Henderson, (Roberto) Firmino.

“You want to go to Spain and do Barcelona without (Antoine) Griezmann, (Lionel) Messi, (Luis) Suarez.

“Do you want to make this exercise with every team in the world?”

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