Football Article

Europa Wrap: Mourinho Labels Spurs 'Awful', Arsenal Cruise

Europa Wrap: Mourinho Labels Spurs 'Awful', Arsenal Cruise Photo: TT
Tottenham's Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho gestures during UEFA Europa League football Group J first-leg football match between Royal Antwerp FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at the Bosuilstadion

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho says his side were “awful” in their shock 1-0 loss to Antwerp in the Europa League on Thursday night.

Lior Rafaelov scored the game’s only goal with a sweet 29th minute finish but the reality is the Belgians should have won by more, with more Dieumerci Mbokani and Simen Juklerod fluffing gilt-edged chances.

Tottenham struggled to create many genuine opportunities, with Mourinho making four half-time changes including the introduction of Premier League top scorer Son Heung-Min, while Harry Kane was brought on for new signing Gareth Bale just before the hour mark.

Spurs had more possession and vastly more passes but less shots on target, showing they lacked the attacking quality.

“We can only blame ourselves, and we can only praise our opponent,” Mourinho said.

“I would prefer to praise the opponent because they played a magnificent game, and not to blame ourselves, because we played an awful game. But I have to do both, to praise them, because they played at the maximum of their level, and we have to blame ourselves, because we were poor.

“The performance was poor, the result is poor, there is nothing more I want to say. Somebody to blame? Blame me, because I’m the boss, it’s my responsibility who to play, and I’m the one to blame.

“But I have to admit the game confirmed to me a few things, opened other question marks and will help me in the future for my decisions.”

Elsewhere in the Europa League on Thursday, Arsenal cruised past Irish minnows Dundalk 3-0, while Leicester City scored two first-half goals to claim a 2-1 win at AEK Athens.

Celtic fluffed a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Lille in France, while Rangers continued their bright start with a 1-0 victory over Polish side Lech Poznan.

One of the Europa League title favourites AC Milan secured a comfortable 3-0 home win over Sparta Praha, while fellow Italians Napoli triumphed 1-0 at Real Sociedad.

Among the upsets, Bayer Leverkusen were beaten by Czech club Slavia Praha 1-0, while AS Roma were held to a goalless home draw by Bulgarian outfit CSKA Sofia and former winners Feyenoord were crushed 4-1 at home by Austrians Wolfsberger AC.

Ben somerford
Sports Pundit staff writer @bensomerford
Australian journalist who specialises on all sports, focusing on football, tennis, basketball and racing, having written for global publications including FourFourTwo, AAP, Inside Futbol and many more....

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