Jose Mourinho insists that Dele Alli was angry with his own performance and not his manager after being substituted in Tottenham’s Champions League defeat to RB Leipzig, with the hosts looking “improved” after he went off.
The midfielder could be seen throwing a water bottle to the ground before looking visibly upset on the bench when he was replaced by Erik Lamela in the 64th minute at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Timo Werner scored the game’s only goal from the penalty spot shortly before the hour mark, leaving Spurs – who are missing the injured Harry Kane and Son Heung-min – with an uphill task to make it through to the quarter-finals.
“I think he was angry with his performance, not with me,” Mourinho said of Alli’s reaction.
“I think he understands why I took him off and our performance improved.”
The Tottenham manager also launched into determined defence of his injury-hit squad in an impassioned interview with BT Sport.
“There are two perspectives – an amazing group and amazing guys but another side you see how we are at the moment,” he said.
“It’s a situation like going to fight with a gun without bullets.
“You can say we had luck in some moments, but a great goalkeeper made two magnificent saves.
— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) February 20, 2020
“I’m not worried with the 1-0 – we can go there and win. What worries me is that these are our players for the next however many matches.
“Moura was absolutely dead, Bergwijn was absolutely dead, Lo Celso was absolutely dead.
“We are really in trouble. If it was just this game I’d say no problem but we have FA Cup and Premier League games.”