Jose Mourinho: Tottenham victory at Wolves a special feeling as my father played at Molineux
Mourinho praised the strength of his players, said Wolves are pushing for the top four, and praised the referee for his performance in what was an incredibly high-pace match
By Dylan Terry
Last Updated: 16/12/19 6:19am
Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho revealed his side's late winner against Wolves at Molineux was a proud moment for him personally as it was in the same stadium his father played in four decades ago.
Jan Vertonghen headed home from a corner in stoppage time as Tottenham battled to an entertaining 2-1 victory which inflicted a first Premier League defeat since September on Nuno Espirito Santo's side.
And in the post-match press conference, the Spurs manager said it was a satisfying win on more than one level.
"Let me share you with you a little emotion," he said. "My dad played here in this stadium against Wolves in a UEFA Cup match in the early '70s, so it was a special feeling for me."
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Mourinho's father Felix - a goalkeeper - played for Portuguese side Belenenses between 1968 and 1974, losing to Wolves 4-1 on aggregate in the 1973/74 UEFA Cup first round, before coaching a series of teams in his home country.
The victory itself was one that Spurs had to fight hard to earn, with Mourinho expressing after the game just how proud the performance made him of his players.
"It was a big match, a big, big, big match. They showed everything I said in the press conference before the game. How good they are, how strong they are, at every level - tactically, technically, mentally they are very, very strong.
"And for us to cope with them and arrive in a position where it was possible to win the game in the last period was a big, big effort from a team who has a lot to improve on from a tactical point of view."
"But we are getting there. Amazing spirit. A big, big, big victory for us.
Mourinho considers Wolves top-four challengers
Heading into the match Wolves sat one point ahead of Spurs in the table, but slipped to eighth following the defeat.
Despite the result, Mourinho still considers them top-four challengers and believes that is what Nuno and his side will be aiming for, regardless of whether they come right out and say it.
"Wolves are so, so, so, so good that they don't lose for so many matches. Incredible campaign in the Premier League and the Europa League. That's a very, very good team," added the Spurs boss.
"They can say what they want, but I think they fight for top four. They can hide, say no, say they have other objectives, but I am too many years on this to know the feelings. The fight for something more than what they say."
'The Europa League is unfair'
Mourinho was also keen to add he thinks the rule around Champions League sides dropping into the Europa League is unfair on teams like Wolves.
Wanderers secured their path to the knockout stage on Thursday with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Besiktas, and Mourinho was quick to condemn the fact they could now face those from Europe's premier competition.
"In the Europa League I always think it's unfair that the losers [in the Champions League] drop back. "For me, the losers of the Champions League should go home. But now they get Inter, Ajax, and teams that are already good.
"They get guys from the Champions League, but they can beat anyone - home or away. They have an incredible mentality."
Nuno calls for referees to protect Traore
Wolves winger Adama Traore was the man of the match despite his side's defeat as he gave match winner Vertonghen a torrid time down the left hand side.
Nuno came out after the match to praise the 23-year-old for his contribution and speak on the fact that 24 players have now received bookings from challenges on him in just 26 games this season.
"Referees know, we mentioned that, and they realise," he said. "They should punish the tackles and protect the players, players who have talent like Adama.
"It's tough to defend [against] and opponents do what they have to do, it's up to the referee to judge.
"All the referees know in cases of players like this they must act immediately to prevent an injury because sometimes a tackle can cause a serious injury and it's not fair.
"Mistakes happen in football, it happened at the end, but I'm very proud with the way the team performed. We keep on going, it's football."
Tottenham now host Chelsea on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Main Event at 4.30pm, while Wolves travel to Norwich on Saturday at 3pm.