Football

Jose Mourinho not taking second-tier Stoke City lightly

Jose Mourinho said his Tottenham Hotspur side will not take second-tier Stoke City for granted in their League Cup quarter-final tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

The Portuguese manager is keen to succeed where several of his predecessors have fallen short, in delivering silverware to the club for the first time since the 2008 League Cup.

However, he says the gap between the English Premier League and the Championship is narrower than it was and seventh-placed Stoke will be a tricky opponent at the Britannia Stadium.

"Everybody wants the same (to win a trophy)," said Mourinho yesterday. "Even the Championship from the last decade, the difference between Championship and Premier League is minimum.

"The teams are very good. They have very good players and very good coaches.

"So even the fact we play Stoke or Newcastle play Brentford doesn't give us easier matches than the others."

Mourinho said that the comforting factor was that the team were progressing the way he wanted them to, despite two losses and a draw in their last three matches.

"It's a difficult competition to win and we need to win three matches to win it," he said.

"But we are going in the direction of what we are saying at the beginning of the season."

Mourinho, though, is mindful that he needs to rest some players and will put out a side featuring a mix of regular starters and those that have mainly played in the Europa League. - AFP

Football