Nature calls: Mourinho pursues Spur who left pitch for toilet break

An urgent trip to the bathroom for Tottenham Hotspur's Eric Dier led to the surreal sight of the defender running off the pitch during Tuesday's League Cup match against Chelsea, with coach Jose Mourinho chasing down the tunnel after him.

Spurs were trailing 1-0 with 15 minutes to go when Dier raced off the pitch and darted towards the dressing room, quickly followed by a furious Mourinho whose side were briefly down to 10 men in their fourth-round home clash.

Tottenham’s Eric Dier (right) tackles Chelsea’s Mason Mount – but had an urgent dash off the pitch later.Credit:AP

Mourinho soon returned to his dugout and Dier swiftly made it back onto the pitch, helping Tottenham find an equaliser from Erik Lamela which made it 1-1 to force a penalty shootout.

Spurs went on to win 5-4 on penalties, with Dier scoring their first spot kick.

"Jose wasn't happy but there was nothing I could do about it, nature was calling," explained Dier.

"I heard there was a chance [for Chelsea] while I was off the pitch but thankfully they didn't score."

Former Chelsea boss Mourinho defended his decision to race after Dier down the tunnel but praised the England international for his performance, which came two days after he played 90 minutes in the 1-1 Premier League draw with Newcastle United.

"He had to go, he had no chance," Mourinho said of Dier's mad dash for the bathroom.

"Maybe it is a normal thing when you are completely dehydrated which is the case, I had to put pressure on him to get back but he is a great example for everybody."

Chelsea had appeared to be heading into the quarter-finals thanks to a 19th-minute strike from Timo Werner but Lamela forced a shootout with an equaliser in the 83rd minute, finishing from close range after controlling a cross from debutant Sergio Reguilon.

The Spurs celebrate their penalty shootout victory over Chelsea.Credit:Getty Images

In the shootout, Chelsea's Mason Mount struck the post to miss the decisive fifth penalty after every other spot kick had been converted.

Germany forward Werner scored his first goal for Chelsea in his fourth appearance, lashing the ball into the net from the edge of the area after receiving a cut-back from Cesar Azpilicueta.

The victory was revenge for Spurs for a 2019 League Cup semi-final second-leg defeat to Chelsea on penalties.

"We were ready to fight. I told the players before the penalties that they were magnificent in the second half, we made Chelsea look ordinary. The team waited for the right moment," Mourinho said.

The League Cup fixture, which came only two days after their 1-1 draw with Newcastle United, was the second game of a gruelling run of four matches in eight days for Spurs.

Mourinho's side face Maccabi Haifa at home in a Europa League play-off on Thursday before a league fixture at Manchester United on Sunday.

Mourinho made nine changes to the team who had faced Newcastle, sticking with first-choice goalkeeper Hugo Lloris instead of new signing Joe Hart and giving a second start in three days to Dier, who stepped up to score the first penalty.

"I have to think about three games at the same time but the players only thought about this game, they were phenomenal. Phenomenal," added Mourinho, who praised England international Dier.

"What happened to Eric Dier is not normal, I have to praise him in a special way. It should be forbidden for a player to play two games in 48 hours at this level. What he did is not human to do."

Reuters

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