Jose Mourinho sends warning to Tottenham flops after Antwerp defeat

Jose Mourinho says his future team selections will be very easy after making changes to his starting XI and watching his Tottenham side lose 1-0 to Royal Antwerp in the Europa League on Thursday night.

Spurs were a long way from their best as they were downed in Belgium thanks to a first half goal from Lior Refaelov.

The starting XI featured the likes of Gareth Bale, Hugo Lloris, Dele Alli and Harry Winks, but Tottenham were so poor in the first 45 minutes that Mourinho made four changes at half-time and then replaced Bale with Harry Kane in the second half to make his fifth.

The Portuguese said afterwards that he wished he could have changed the entire team at half time and suggested he will not be tinkering with his best XI as much in the future.

‘I would like to make 11 [changes]!’ Mourinho said after the match. ‘I didn’t make five as was afraid of a long 45 minutes. At half-time I tried to improve the situation but was not enough. Second half we improved. In the end Antwerp got what they deserved. The best team won and the worst team loss.

‘You know what our best team is. I always like to think the players deserve an opportunity.

‘We have a big squad. It’s also their opportunity to catch the chance with both hands and ask for more. Tonight my future choices are going to be very easy.’

Asked about the performance of Dele, which was poor on his return to the side, Mourinho would not be drawn, saying: ‘I don’t want to analyse individually.

‘It’s fair to say that players with bad performances influence the team but also a team influence individual performances. It’s not for me to individualise and brings some names to the table.’

Tottenham struggled to create many clear cut chances at all, with the Belgian side looking the more likely to score even after they had taken the lead.

After the introduction of Son-Heung Min at half-time and Harry Kane in the second half, Spurs looked more threatening and had more of the ball, but never caused any serious problems for their hosts, having just two shots on target all game.

Gareth Bale started the match but was replaced by Kane on 58 minutes having had very little impact on the game, while Dele Alli was hooked at half-time after a forgettable 45 minutes.

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