Mourinho hoping for weakened Boro side in replay

Jose Mourinho is hoping old boys Jonathan Woodgate and Robbie Keane do Tottenham a favour by fielding Middlesbrough’s second team when they return to North London for their FA Cup third round replay.

The Spurs boss saw his Premier League side come from behind to secure a 1-1 draw at the Riverside Stadium on Sunday, meaning Boro boss Woodgate, who scored the winner as the London club won its last trophy in the 2008 League Cup final, and free-scoring striker Keane will return hoping to spring an upset.

Mourinho said: “They go to our new stadium – that was never their stadium, but will always be their stadium because when you are a Tottenham player, you are Tottenham forever, so I think it is great for them to go to London, to our new stadium.

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
There will be new surroundings for Jonathan Woodgate and Robbie Keane’s return to north London (Zac Goodwin/PA)

“The fans will show them the respect, Robbie scored so many goals for Tottenham and Jonathan scored the goal that gave Tottenham their last silverware, so the fans will show them respect, the same as they did when Aaron Lennon came back with Burnley.”

He added with a smile: “It is good for them. If they can take the second team, even better. They can show they like Tottenham by taking the second team.”

Woodgate, however, insisted that would not be the case.

The former central defender said: “We haven’t got a second team. We haven’t got numbers.

“We play Fulham on Friday and probably Spurs will be on Tuesday, won’t it? I hope it is the Tuesday we play them because I haven’t got a big squad, have I? I might come out of retirement.”

Ashley Fletcher celebrates his goal
Ashley Fletcher celebrates after putting Boro ahead (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Spurs enjoyed the better of the game, but fell behind five minutes into the second half when Ashley Fletcher ran on to George Saville’s ball over the top and beat keeper Paulo Gazzaniga – with Mourinho convinced the striker was offside.

However, the lead lasted just 11 minutes, Lucas Moura powering home a header from Serge Aurier’s cross to ensure it finished 1-1.

Mourinho, who bemoaned the absence of striker Harry Kane with a hamstring injury, said: “The boys accepted it and the boys tried.

“They deserved to win by their dominance, but I think it’s fair to say that Middlesbrough deserve their right to go to London and play us and try to stay in the competition.

“It frustrated me to be in control of the game and to concede a goal. I know it is offside, but that is football. It can happen.”

Jonathan Woodgate, left, and Robbie Keane, right, with Mourinho after the game
Jonathan Woodgate, left, and Robbie Keane, right, with Mourinho after the game (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Woodgate was thrilled with the way his players stood up to the challenge of dealing with last season’s Champions League finalists, and will hope for more of the same when the sides reconvene.

He said: “It’s going to be a really difficult game. Tottenham are an incredible team, a really, really incredible team, but listen, in this life, you never know.

“Upsets do happen, it’s been proved over the years, let’s hope we upset the apple-cart.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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