Mourinho: Southampton were the better team but Spurs deserved to win FA Cup replay
The Saints looked on course for an upset until two late goals turned the replay on its head
Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho has conceded his side were second best after claiming a narrow 3-2 win over Southampton in their fourth round FA Cup replay.
Despite playing at home on Wednesday, Spurs found themselves on the back foot at times as they enjoyed less possession and took fewer shots with Danny Ings ultimately putting the Saints 2-1 ahead in the 72nd minute.
Late strikes from Lucas Moura and Son Heung-Min would, however, seal Tottenham’s spot in the next round against Norwich City.
Speaking post-match, Mourinho admitted his side were outplayed by a far fresher Southampton outfit but feels he did well to get the most out of his team.
“My team performance was in the limits. It was in the limits for me with players available and not available. It was in the limits for them because two days ago they played such an incredible match,” Mourinho told BBC Sport.
“We suffered. We played against a very good team, we played against a team that was the best team on the pitch but we deserved to win because we were in our limits. They had their best players, they had one more day rest, they were fresh.
“I think I did very well because I had to manage a team with so many difficulties. I changed from the back five to the back four in the moment when I could. Then Dele Alli became the link.
“The players [played with their] souls, and heart and gave absolutely everything. Four matches over two rounds, really hard for the boys. They deserve this happiness.”
Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl agreed with Mourinho’s sentiments, saying that the only thing that matters is the final score.
“In the FA Cup it is not about being the better team,” the Southampton boss said, “it is a game of results and he got the result and we didn’t.”
Currently fifth in the Premier League and set to play RB Leipzig in the Champions League Round of 16, Mourinho refused to prioritise any single competition as he stressed recent injuries have left his side at breaking point.
“The priority is to survive. We have lots of difficulties,” Mourinho added.
“I am not speaking just about Harry Kane, I am speaking about Giovani Lo Celso, Erik Lamela – in this moment they could give us the balance. Today was a team completely unbalanced.
“Really, really hard to organise it and really, really hard to win the match.”
Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl shrugged off declarations his side were better on the night, noting the scoreline is all that really matters.
“In the FA Cup it is not about being the better team, it is a game of results and he [Jose Mourinho] got the result and we didn’t,” Hasenhuttl said to BBC Sport.
“The last 15 minutes we didn’t defend like we had to. It doesn’t count, we had 30 minutes of the second half perfect.
“After a very busy period, we now have time to recover.”