Tottenham Hotspur will be without winger Steven Bergwijn for the rest of the season and full back Ben Davies will also miss their Champions League last-16 return leg at RB Leipzig on Tuesday but Jose Mourinho is confident his team can turn the tie around.
The Premier League club, who lost 1-0 in the first leg in London last month, are already without injured England captain Harry Kane and their South Korea striker Son Heung-min, while Bergwijn was injured in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Burnley.
Checks on Monday showed the Dutch international suffered a serious sprain to his left ankle and is unlikely to play for the rest of the season, coach Mourinho told a news conference.
“Ben, out one week, two weeks,” Mourinho said on Monday. “Steven, I don’t expect him to play this season.”
The Portuguese said he was in an unusual position to prepare for a big game without several key players.
“No,” he answered when asked if he had ever been in such a position. “That’s what it is. We’re used to it. We were psychologically more down with the other injuries (of Kane and Son). When you have three, four or five or six or seven it’s the same.
“I am very motivated, very calm, very positive. But if you want to imagine Leipzig tomorrow without (Timo) Werner, (Patrik)Schick, (Christopher) Nkunku, (Yussuf) Poulsen, (Emil) Forsberg I am pretty sure the coach (Julian Nagelsmann) would not be laughing as much as I am now.”
Spurs have failed to win any of their last five matches in all competitions, including their first-leg defeat.
That poor run also covers being knocked out of the FA Cup on penalties by the Premier League’s basement club Norwich City.
“Tomorrow we have to give everything. Or we win or we leave everything on that pitch,” Mourinho said.
“It is not an easy situation. We feel hurt by the fact that we recovered 11 points to go to the fourth position in the Premier League and then arrive in a situation where we are really in trouble.
“But tomorrow is one game. We are losing 1-0 at halftime and we have a second half now to play and we go with everything we have.”
“The momentum is negative. We lost and drew the last two matches and (with) one defeat on penalties so the momentum is not the best but I feel the boys deserve something special.”
Reuters | BERLIN