Jose's five-point preview - Wolfsberger AC
Wed 24 February 2021, 11:25|Tottenham Hotspur
Jose Mourinho's exclusive sit down with us ahead of this evening's UEFA Europa League round of 32, second leg against Wolfsberger AC of the Austrian Bundesliga.
We hold a 4-1 lead from the away leg held in Budapest, Hungary last week.
A reminder, we kick-off at 5pm (UK) later today...
1 - Gio
First up, positive news on Giovani Lo Celso, who has been out with a hamstring issue since December and missed our last 16 games...
Jose: "Gio is not coming back (for this game), but coming back to training with the team, which is a big step and a very important one. Even today he was training for the first time, of course, with lots of protection in relation to what he could or could not do. But that beautiful relationship between Gio and the ball is magnificent, so it’s good news. It’s maybe a couple of weeks to play, but let’s say if everything goes well, we are on the countdown."
2 - Team news
In terms of this evening's second leg, Jose gave an update on Serge Aurier and suggested that more Academy players will be in the 23 to face Wolfsberger AC...
Jose: "Serge is almost there, I believe for the weekend and if not the weekend, Fulham next week, but Serge is coming. No-one else, we are fine, everybody is available and because in the Europa League we can have 12 players on the bench, I’m always very happy to bring some kids, and if the game goes in the right direction, of course I would love to give minutes to them. (Dane) Scarlett is again going to be on the bench, Marcel Lavinier also on the bench, Nile (John) on the bench, quite a beautiful story as he arrived at the Club almost as a baby... also Dilan (Markanday) on the bench. It’s great for the kids to be involved and, if possible, to get some minutes would be even better.”
3 - Wolfsberger AC - part one
What did Jose make of our Austrian opponents in the first leg in Budapest last week?
Jose: “I think in the first half they were surprised by us. We knew they were going to play how they normally do, in a 4-4-2 diamond, and we gave incredible width and created lots of problems. In the first half it was 3-0, could have been four of five. Then, at half-time, they changed, and they came out with a back five, then they controlled the width much better and left two quick players in attack who caused us a few problems.”
4 - Wolfsberger AC - part two
With that first leg in mind, what does Jose expect from Ferdinand Feldhofer’s team later today?
Jose: “If I could bet, I would say they’ll play with five, like they did in the second half, because in the end, in the second half, the result was 1-1. So, I believe they come with that security to try to control us and see what the game can give to them, they will, of course, try to score before us to bring some motivation. But we are going strong. We go with a very similar team as we did in the first leg. The bench will be with some of the young boys, but also some of the strong, attacking players we have in case we need to push them to the pitch.”
5 - Ben
Ben Davies is set to reach 50 appearances for us in Europe this evening, and Jose revealed that he will captain the team...
Jose: “I arrived last season and first game (at West Ham, 23 November) he had an injury, and was away for a long, long time (Villa away on 16 February), but since he came back… like I was saying about Lucas, these team players, that sometimes people don’t give the right value, because they are so stable. They don’t have these incredible moments, but they are so stable for the team. Ben is one of these guys. He didn’t play against West Ham, which I believe was good for his health. He’s one of the guys who, in March, will be involved in the three matches with the international team, so March can be seven matches with Tottenham, plus three with the national team, 10 matches. It’s incredible for everyone. But Ben is amazing, and because Hugo is on the bench, he will be the captain, so that’s a good thing for Ben to celebrate his 50th European match with the Club.”