Jose Mourinho says Tanguy Ndombele is a prime example that "the door is always open" for players to come in from the cold after the midfielder scored a sublime goal in Tottenham's win at Sheffield United.

Ndombele endured a disappointing first season at the London club following his big-money move from Lyon, scoring just two goals and providing four assists in 29 appearances.

The French midfielder has shown what he is capable of in the current campaign, finding the back of the net four times and laying on three goals across all competitions for a Tottenham side battling for honours on all four fronts.

Ndombele produced a moment of magic with a clever lobbed strike to score his third Premier League goal of the season – his best tally in any league campaign - in a 3-1 victory at Bramall Lane on Sunday, with Serge Aurier and Harry Kane also on target.

The classy Ndombele made 38 passes in the Blades half, more than any of his team-mates, and misplaced only nine of his 78 passes in the match, also winning 75 per cent of his duels and making three interceptions in an impressive all-round display.

Dele Alli and Harry Winks were not in the squad for the clash with the bottom-of-the-table Blades, while Gareth Bale was not called upon from the bench, but Tottenham boss Mourinho pointed to Ndombele as proof that there can always be a way back for out-of-favour players.

"I have coached for so many years, had so many players, and I have enough experience to say and to feel that when a player is not playing very well, it's his responsibility, and when a player turns things around and brings his performance level to a very high level, it's also his responsibility," said Mourinho.

"It's a great example that with me the door is always open. The door of the team is always open, and when a player is not playing he has to try to understand why and he has to try to understand how can he walk through that door. He understood, he understood.

"The goal is amazing, but I don't care about the goal, I care about the performance and the performance was magnificent and I'm really pleased that he's come to this level. He's playing very, very well."

Spurs are unbeaten in seven games and four points behind leaders Manchester United, who drew 0-0 with champions Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday, and Mourinho says it is all to play for.

"We have to do our season, we have to play our matches. We are in four competitions, we have a final [against Manchester City in the EFL Cup] to play," he said.

"Unfortunately we cannot do that [showdown with City] next month, we have to wait until end of April, we are going to fight in Europa League, we are going to fight in the FA Cup, we have a lot to take.

"I think at the end of the season, with the right results, you realise how good your season was, how better it could be, how worse it could be, and where you can improve."

Harry Kane marvelled over a "truly special" goal from Tanguy Ndombele in a "fantastic" display from Tottenham as they beat Sheffield United 3-1 at Bramall Lane.

Serge Aurier headed Spurs in front in the fifth minute and Kane clinically doubled their lead late in the first half with his 19th goal of the season late in the first half on Sunday – the sixth time he has scored from outside of the area in the league this season.

David McGoldrick appeared to have got the bottom-of-the-table Blades back in it with a header just before the hour mark, but Ndombele nonchalantly beat David Ramsdale with an exquisitely lob as he ran away from goal inside the penalty area three minutes later.

There was no way back for Chris Wilder's side as Spurs moved into fourth place in the Premier League, although Manchester City have the opportunity to move back above them when they take on Crystal Palace later in the day.

Kane hailed Ndombele after the French midfielder scored his third goal of the season – his best tally in a league campaign – in sublime fashion.

The Tottenham talisman told Match of the Day: "It was a fantastic performance from everyone today – started really well, aggressive with our press and were clinical to go 2-0 up. Even in the second half, when they scored, we didn't panic. Tanguy scored a fantastic goal and we saw the game out well, which we haven't done in the past few weeks."

He added: "Tanguy's goal was incredible, the technique he had to flick that ball back over the keeper was truly special.

"There were a couple of chances I could have done better with, the most important thing is winning games. Anyone who can put a good spell together [can stay in the title race], that's why it has been disappointing and frustrating for us dropping points from winning positions."

Spurs, who have dropped 10 points from winning positions this season, have been criticised for seemingly shutting up stop to try and protect slender leads on several occasions, but Kane said boss Jose Mourinho should not take any blame for that.

"It's never been the manager saying that [they should sit back after going in front] it's been us on the pitch having a mentality where we want to drop and hold on to to the win," the England captain said.

"The most important thing is us as players to go and take responsibility, and we did that today."

For 172 seconds on Sunday, it appeared that Tottenham's second-half frustrations could be set to continue.

Serge Aurier and Harry Kane had put Jose Mourinho's team in complete control at Bramall Lane – where Spurs lost 3-1 last season – but David McGoldrick's header in the 59th minute hauled one back for lowly Sheffield United, hunting just their second Premier League win of the season.

Spurs have dropped 10 points from winning positions this season, and Mourinho has previously cited a lack of "desire" and "ambition" after the interval as reasons for his side failing to hold onto results against Fulham last time out and Wolves on December 27.

However, within three minutes of McGoldrick giving the Blades hope, Spurs struck back.

Steven Bergwijn prodded a ball in behind the hosts' defence, and the industrious Tanguy Ndombele turned on the style to lob a sublime finish over the hapless Aaron Ramsdale and all but seal the points.

Mourinho, asked before the game if his team sat back and invited pressure in the second half of matches, told Sky Sports: "My reaction is to say that is completely true.

"What is not true is that in the second half, we do what I ask the players to do. It's true that we have lots of chances to win matches in the first half, we are not scoring enough goals in relation to what we do and then in second halves opponents dominate us and it looks like we are accepting that dominance, and we pay the price for mistakes we make defensively.

"I agree totally, but that is not what we want to do. What am I telling them at half-time? Play attacking football, be dominant, do not accept dominance [from the opponents]."

Across their 17 league games prior to Sunday's clash, Spurs had scored just 11 of their 30 goals in the second half.

However, despite Mourinho's claims, it had not been for a lack of trying. Their tally of 103 shots in the second period of matches was 10 more than they had accumulated in the first half of games.

Of their attempts, 40 had been on target, at an average of 2.35 per game, with 38 off target and a further 25 blocked.

Spurs had, on average, played 11.7 passes per match into the penalty area after the break in their opening 17 games, creating 76 chances in total, with 17 of these opportunities counting as 'big chances', according to Opta.

Once again, these numbers are close to their first-half equivalents – some higher, some lower – but there was no doubting Spurs seemed to have hit a mental block when it came to seeing out leads.

Perhaps aided by a lack of cutting edge from a blunt Blades team, Tottenham managed to overcome that hurdle.

They only managed two attempts on target in the second half – slightly below average – but unlike Son Heung-min against Fulham last time out, Ndombele took his chance.

Their second-half passing accuracy was also up on the early-season average of 78.49 per cent, with Spurs completing 83.4 per cent of their passes after the interval at Bramall Lane.

A duel success rate of 57.4 per cent after the break was also higher than their 17-game match average (47.21), suggesting Spurs were more aggressive in their individual battles – a statistic which will satisfy Mourinho's clamour for "dominance".

Spurs fed on their opponents' weaknesses on Sunday, and though they ultimately managed only 14 attempts compared to United's 15, they displayed the clinical nature which had fans dreaming of a title challenge earlier in the campaign.

With the top of the table so congested, Mourinho's men cannot be discounted if they have finally found a way to rediscover a much-needed ruthless streak, though they must now ensure it is not another false dawn.

Jose Mourinho has hinted Dele Alli might not be doing enough to turn around his situation at Tottenham.

England international Alli has been confined to the margins of Mourinho's squad this season, with only one of his four Premier League appearances coming as a starter.

Those top-flight outings total a meagre 74 minutes overall and, although he has been a more frequent fixture in midweek cup line-ups, reports that the 24-year-old is unhappy hardly come as a surprise.

A reunion with former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino at Paris Saint-Germain has been touted, although Mourinho insisted having disgruntled players in a dressing room is a fact of life for any coach.

However, when distinguishing between unhappy players who "work, work, work and work" and others who think such toil is "not his job", he tellingly did not specify a category for Alli.

"In every dressing room are unhappy players," he told reporters ahead of Sunday's match against the Premier League's bottom club, Sheffield United.

"For sure. If any one of us, of my tribe, tells you that in his dressing room are only happy players, I don't think it's true. Or somebody is so, so lucky to have a miracle in his hands.

"Then you can have [an] unhappy professional and the unhappy professional is the one that is unhappy but feels that his duty is to work, work, work and work.

"And there is the unhappy [player] that believes that it’s not his job to fight and to work every minute for the squad and for the club."

Nevertheless, Mourinho suggested he would probably be reluctant to let Alli leave if Spurs are unable to source a replacement during this transfer window.

"The question is if I let Dele go without getting a player in exchange and I'm not going to answer that," he said.

"It’s not a question that I am comfortable to answer. Of course, I would know how to answer.

"But I am not ready to answer. I am not ready to make public my vision of the situation."

Jurgen Klopp believes it will be tough to programme Premier League stars to change goal celebration habits overnight as football tightens up its social distancing rules.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters this week wrote to clubs to advise that players should cut out unnecessary contact including hugs, handshakes and high fives.

Those can take place at any time but are particularly likely when a goal is scored, when there is typically a rush to congratulate any player who finds the net.

Out goes the norm this weekend, however, as clubs have been reminded in follow-up calls to captains and managers that such behaviour must be avoided.

Football authorities are determined to stick to coronavirus era protocols as keenly as possible, to avoid further rises in cases among players and to ensure the leagues can continue during lockdown.

Klopp, boss of champions Liverpool, believes so many new measures have been introduced and respected that risks on the field are already low, saying his players have done "an incredible job to be disciplined".

He said: "We stick to the rules, and if now somebody says if you do this again we have to stop the game I wouldn't understand to be honest, but I'm not the decision maker."

Liverpool face Manchester United on Sunday at Anfield in the biggest game of the Premier League season so far.

Klopp said: "I understand rules have to be strict … but we have to learn from the things that have worked in the past few months and football worked."

When goals go in across the country this weekend, the instinct of many players will be to embrace team-mates, and there seems likely to be cases where the new advice is forgotten.

"If there's something to celebrate it will be in an appropriate way, but it's difficult," Klopp said.

"Football is an emotional game and what we should not forget in the discussion about this is these players are tested two or three times a week. During the week we reduce contract to a minimum."

He added: "If we would think and feel we would threaten one or two of our team-mates [with a goal celebration] we would never do it, it would just not happen."

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho, whose side take on Sheffield United on Sunday, said the north London club were "very, very strict with what the Premier League asks us to do".

But his stars, including the likes of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, are not being coached on how to avoid celebrations.

"We're not training not to celebrate goals," Mourinho said.

His suggestion is that a scorer should celebrate as exuberantly as before, unleashing the emotion that a goal can stir, and that others should stand off.

"For players on the pitch, it's a very individual thing," Mourinho said. "My advice is maybe the guy who scores express the emotion of the team by himself, alone.

"Maybe he can express all the emotions of the team and then of course share a walk with mates and happiness. And we try to make things the best we can."

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho says there has not been "one second of discussion" over the decision on whether to extend Gareth Bale's stay.

Bale re-joined Spurs to much fanfare on a season-long loan deal from Real Madrid in September.

But his return has not yet met expectations, with Bale only making one Premier League start and yet to play a full 90 minutes in any competition amid issues with injuries, fitness and form.

Spurs are said to have an option to sign Bale for a second year on loan, but reports have suggested the Wales forward, who has scored only three times since his return to north London, is instead poised to head back to Madrid at the end of the season.

Asked if the decision not to extend his loan was made, Mourinho said: "There was not even a second of discussion about that.

"Gareth is a player on loan until the end of the season.

"Not one second of discussion. We are speaking about, of course, Gareth, himself, Real Madrid, Tottenham, but I promise you, not one second of discussion.

"Of course, you know that he arrived injured. And he was injured before, I believe, the first month. And then, step by step, Europa League matches were helping him to get his condition.

"Europa League group phase is a different level than the Premier League. The knockout round is a different story. But the group phase is a different intensity, a different rhythm, a different quality.

"So, in the Premier League, he didn't play many minutes. Then another small injury at Stoke City [in the EFL Cup] where he was having a good first half. It is not an easy process.

"Everybody knew that in the past couple of seasons, in Madrid, they were not easy for him. So, let's go, step by step, and try to get the best out of him."

Spurs were held to a 1-1 draw by Fulham on Wednesday, though they are on a six-game unbeaten run across all competitions.

They face Sheffield United, who have only just recorded their first win of the Premier League season, at Bramall Lane on Sunday.

Mourinho added: "Gio [Lo Celso] of course is not [available] and we still have two training sessions before the game. But I believe no more problems in principle.

"They [Sheffield United] are not the worst team in the Premier League at all. They're a much, much, much better team than what the table says.

"You analyse their matches and many times the opponent was not better than them. I don't look to the table. Of course, I look but I go deeper than that.

"Many times, it was one of the small big details that decides the points, decides the score, decides the table.

"Many times, they lose 1-0, they draw 1-1, they are a very good team. If in our mind we are going to play the worst team in the Premier League, we are going to be in big trouble."

Jose Mourinho cited "individual mistakes" as the reason for Tottenham's tendency to drop points from winning positions.

Spurs looked set to be heading to third place in the Premier League thanks to Harry Kane's header against Fulham, but Mourinho's team were pegged back by Ivan Cavaleiro's brilliant 74th-minute effort.

After winning their opening three games of 2021 in all competitions by an aggregate score of 10-0, it was a reminder to Tottenham of their fragility when defending leads.

Tottenham have now dropped 10 points from winning positions in league games this season, and Mourinho blamed individual errors, while also rueing some glaring opportunities which were missed, with Son Heung-min twice failing to beat Alphonse Areola from close range prior to Kane's opener, before the South Korea forward hit the post in the second half.

"Three or four big chances in the first half to have a different result, the biggest chance of the second half would have killed the game and then again we concede a goal that is completely avoidable," a frustrated Mourinho told Amazon Prime Sport.

"We could have killed the game and again we lose a man in the box. That happens the majority of time in set-pieces, this time it was in open play.

"Of course it is costing points, especially away we are winning and then we don't show that ambition to kill the game and many times it happens that in the last part of the game we concede.

"There are things that are individual, that are down to individual qualities and individual mistakes. Basically I cannot say much more than that.

"It's good that we play [soon]. It's not good that after that game on Sunday we have 10 days. At this moment though we just have to accept that."

Tottenham are at least unbeaten in their past eight London derbies in the Premier League (W3 D5), since a defeat to Mourinho's former club Chelsea last February.

Spurs managed just five attempts in the second half, compared to eight from Fulham, and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg sees vast room for improvement.

"Very disappointing. I think we have to do better, in a couple of aspects of the game, it's difficult to speak right now because of the emotions," the midfielder told Amazon Prime Sport.

"More bravery, more focus in terms of organising the team and being solid as a team.

"It doesn't mean you have to stand in your own box and defend, it means that the team is compact, closes the lines. Executing the chances, I had a chance and had to score. Many details that we have to do better."

Fulham, meanwhile, have drawn five consecutive Premier League games, their longest such run since January 2007 (six games).

Scott Parker was angered by the Premier League rearranging this fixture in the wake of Aston Villa's coronavirus outbreak, but was delighted with the performance his team put in.

"Very impressed, I thought it was outstanding, everything about us," Parker said.

"Nobody knows what we've been through in the last couple of weeks, players in the squad who have had one day of training, to prepare and play like we did is what I'm pleased the most with.

"I'm proud of the team because of how we played in the circumstances but I'm even more proud of them because they showed some real quality."

Harry Kane's brilliant header was not enough for Tottenham as Jose Mourinho's side were pegged back to a 1-1 draw by Ivan Cavaleiro's equally fine effort.

Spurs looked set to claim back-to-back Premier League victories for the first time since November thanks to Kane's 25th-minute effort – his 36th league goal against a London rival.

Scott Parker was enraged by the decision to reschedule his team's trip to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium at such short notice, but Fulham stayed in the game and, with Son Heung-min squandering a great chance to wrap things up, got their reward.

Substitute Ademola Lookman proved the difference-maker as he pinged in a cross that was met by the towering Cavaleiro to seal a share of the spoils.

Sergio Reguilon blazed over inside the opening 10 minutes, but Fulham showed plenty of intent and Hugo Lloris had his palms stung by Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa's strike.

Alphonse Areola came to the fore with two superb stops, both from Son, who prodded goalwards from point-blank range before attempting to guide a header into the top-right corner.

Areola was beaten in the 25th minute, though. Where Son went for height, Kane went low, diving to meet Reguilon's exquisite left-wing cross and head in off the post.

Kane was the beneficiary of another terrific cross – this time from Serge Aurier – soon after, but failed to keep his header down.

Tosin Adarabioyo made a fantastic last-ditch tackle to frustrate Moussa Sissoko after the restart, while Areola had to lunge across to keep out Harry Winks' dipping effort.

Son could have wrapped things up with just under 20 minutes remaining, yet hit the base of the right-hand upright, and Spurs were made to pay.

Cavaleiro towered over Eric Dier to meet Lookman's cross and send a powerful header beyond Lloris, rescuing a hard-earned point with Fulham's first shot on target of the half, with Reguilon rightly denied a last-gasp winner by the offside flag.

Jose Mourinho welcomed the Premier League's decision to have Tottenham play Fulham on Wednesday as Aston Villa attempt to recover from a coronavirus outbreak.

Spurs will host Fulham when they were scheduled to instead take on Villa, who had to field an academy side against Liverpool in the FA Cup after COVID-19 wiped out their first team.

The Fulham fixture had been postponed from December due to their own problems with the virus, a short-notice call that frustrated Mourinho.

The Tottenham coach was rather more enthused by the league's resolution this week, hailing it as a crucial step in order to keep the season going.

"The biggest impact is to have matches postponed. That is the biggest impact," Mourinho said.

"The changing of the order of the matches, the impact is minimal because, in the end, you have to play 19 matches at home and 19 matches away, you have to play two matches against every team.

"If it is to help the Premier League to go and to end properly, I think it is a solution we all have to accept as a positive solution."

But Fulham see the change rather differently, with the move only confirmed on Monday when Scott Parker's side otherwise expected a week off.

Given the last-minute nature of the initial postponement, the relegation battlers received little sympathy from Mourinho, however.

Asked if the switch was fair on Fulham, Mourinho replied: "Are you serious?

"They had 48 hours to prepare for this game? You think so? I had the news I was not going to play them two hours before the game started."

Parker, a former player of Mourinho's at Chelsea, was not impressed by the shake-up.

"It was a possibility on Saturday afternoon," said Parker. "I didn't think it was realistic.

"We were then told on Monday at 0930 we had to fill in for Villa. I realise we live in unpredictable times. We have to move things and it is not ideal.

"I am normally the last one to moan or whine. To confirm a Premier League game at 0930 on Monday morning is scandalous.

"It's not about the fixture. I accept we have to play but it's the notice. The people making these decisions don't understand."

Fulham have not played since Boxing Day, with a second fixture - against Burnley - also postponed, although Parker's men are unbeaten in five in all competitions.

Jose Mourinho is preparing for Tottenham's Premier League clash against Aston Villa to go ahead as scheduled on Wednesday.

After a significant coronavirus outbreak, Villa used youth players in a 4-1 FA Cup loss to Liverpool on Friday.

The outbreak has put their hosting of Spurs at risk, but a postponement would create more fixture chaos for Tottenham.

After a 5-0 FA Cup win over Marine on Sunday, Mourinho was asked when Tottenham's next game would be and the Spurs head coach responded: "Wednesday."

"No-one has told me any different that I am not going to play so tomorrow morning we'll start preparing that game," he added.

"The same Tuesday, unless we're told different."

Spurs are fourth in the Premier League table, four points behind Liverpool and Manchester United.

Jose Mourinho was delighted to see Carlos Vinicius' patience for minutes rewarded with a hat-trick and praised Tottenham's professional approach in the 5-0 FA Cup beating of non-league Marine.

Brazilian forward Vinicius made just his fifth start of the season, four of those coming in the Europa League, and netted three times in the first half of the third-round tie at Rossett Park on Sunday.

Vinicius plays second fiddle to Harry Kane and Mourinho felt his performance was emblematic of a Spurs team that showed plenty of respect to their eighth-tier opponents, who are 116 places below them in the English football pyramid.

"It is nice for him. Of course, for a striker that doesn't play a lot because in front of him is the big one," Mourinho told BBC Sport.

"Every time he has a little chance to play, like in the Europa League, he is there for us and we are very happy.

"I think the boys were professionals and didn't stop until the game was over in terms of the result. 

"The attitude was positive and that means a lot for me and also for the competition and to Marine's guys, because they felt we played seriously."

Lucas Moura was on target with a superb free-kick as Spurs led 4-0 at the break, with 16-year-old Alfie Devine making history as Tottenham's youngest ever player and scorer after drilling home the fifth on the hour.

Brazil forward Lucas was thrilled for his compatriot Vinicius, saying: "I'm very happy today, very happy for my friend Vinny, let's go for the next game."

Jose Mourinho revealed Tottenham have managed to carefully "hide" their COVID-19 problems as he insisted Premier League chiefs must not let the season descend into chaos.

The Spurs manager is relishing the distraction of an FA Cup tie at Marine on Sunday, describing the competition as "absolutely beautiful" and promising to take a star-studded squad to face the minnows.

But Tottenham would be left in an "impossible situation", according to Mourinho, if next Wednesday's Premier League clash with Aston Villa is called off.

Villa have experienced a major outbreak of coronavirus cases and their first-team training facilities were closed ahead of Friday's cup clash with Liverpool.

Tottenham have already had a London derby with Fulham called off under similar circumstances, and fixtures are piling up.

Mourinho wants a solution to be found and appealed for "leadership" from league top brass, suggesting there should be ways found to allow games to go ahead.

"The only thing I can say is that since pre-season, we knew that eventually it would happen to us, to have difficult situations to manage and to play again with 14 players," Mourinho said.

"I think every club was mentally ready for it."

Mourinho pointed to his former club Chelsea fielding Petr Cech at under-23 level recently, with the veteran goalkeeper coming out of retirement in case he is needed in a crisis.

"Every club was mentally ready for an extreme situation of having a lot of players not available to play," said Mourinho.

"In our case, we didn't have that extreme situation yet but we had problems. We had problems that of course with the legal right that we had, we managed to hide it, to hide it in a way by not telling who was positive and who was not able to play.

"But we are also having our problems. But we always thought we would always play. I cannot say much more than that."

Tottenham, like all clubs, have not been obliged to identify players who have tested positive for COVID-19, which has allowed Mourinho to avoid cases being publicised.

Those affected must go into self-isolation, but it appears Tottenham are in a good way ahead of their trip to Marine.

Mourinho remembered facing lower-league sides during his coaching career, pointing out the day his Chelsea side lost 4-2 to Bradford City in the FA Cup fourth round, back in the 2014-15 season.

"The FA Cup is absolutely beautiful," he said. "That's why, even knowing that I would love to rest all my guys. I cannot do it. It's not about being afraid, it's about giving the guys what they deserve.

"I'm not taking everybody. But out of 20, I take 19 first-team players. so you can imagine how strong we go."

Mourinho promised he would even enter the Marine club raffle, which offers a top prize of managing the eighth-tier team in a pre-season friendly. With no gate receipts, Marine are understandably looking for other ways of monetising the glamour tie.

"I will buy a ticket. Even if I win, I cannot do it," Mourinho said. "I don’t think I will have conditions to do that, but the meaning of it yes, I will be buying it."

The Northern Premier League North West part-timers and Spurs will go down in the record books as having the biggest gap between each other in the pyramid in the history of the FA Cup when they meet at Marine Travel Arena.

Marine sit sixth in their section of the eighth tier of English football, while Tottenham are fourth in the Premier League, reached the final of the EFL Cup this week and remain in the hunt for Europa League glory.

Mourinho will demand victory, of course, and will be quietly testing his players' appetite for the romance of the game.

"This is just a match that can show me how much they love football," he added. "Nothing else."

Jose Mourinho expects his Tottenham side to take minnows Marine from dreamland "back to reality" in a historic FA Cup third round tie on Sunday.

The Northern Premier League North/West part-timers and Spurs will go down in the record books as having the biggest gap between each other in the pyramid in the history of the competition when they meet at Marine Travel Arena.

Marine sit sixth in the eighth tier of English football, while Tottenham are fourth in the Premier League, reached the final of the EFL Cup this week and remain in the hunt for Europa League glory.

Mourinho has vowed to show the Merseyside club respect and will take a squad that could include Gareth Bale and Erik Lamela north this weekend along with the likes of Jack Clarke and Harvey White.

The Spurs boss said in a press conference on Friday: "I don't think they want to play against Tottenham under-23s, they want to play against a Tottenham team with the players they admire, they follow.

"We are trying to know their striker, their centre-back, their tactical organisation, the exactly same way we do with other opponents. I think the same way, they feel happy to play against us.

"I feel very happy to play against them. I understand the dream. It's up to us to bring them back to reality, but I clearly understand the dream. Nobody puts a foot on a football pitch feeling they are going to lose. We are top professionals. It's up to us to make them understand that as soon as possible."

Liverpool have provided video analysis of their Premier League rivals for Marine and Mourinho, whose side will get changed in the clubhouse bar, says that is to be expected.

The Portuguese said: "Liverpool helping Marine I think is normal, they are neighbours, I am pretty sure there are emotional connections between them. if they gave analysis, access to certain kinds of footage that they would not have, I feel it absolutely normal.

"What we can expect? First of all, we need to see the pitch. It's important for the safety of the players. I believe they are trying to have the best possible pitch. Then it's a group of boys playing the game of their careers.

"What can we do except respect them and win the match? I always believe to respect these teams is to beat them, is to play with a good team with responsibility, with motivation.

"A team that goes there and wins the game. That is respect. That is the cup mentality of the big teams. If we go there and we lose, of course it would be amazing for them, but would be a lack of respect from us."

Jose Mourinho warned Tottenham would be left in an "impossible situation" if their game at Aston Villa is postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak and called on the Premier League to show "leadership".

Villa are expected to field a young side in the FA Cup third-round tie against Liverpool on Friday, as a large number of first-team players and staff tested positive for coronavirus this week.

Spurs already had a derby at Fulham called off on December 30 after the Cottagers were hit by the virus and a scheduled trip to Villa Park next Wednesday is now in doubt.

Tottenham will also face Manchester City at a later date of April 25 due to the pandemic and given they are fighting for honours on four fronts, Mourinho suggested they would refuse to accept any more postponements.

Speaking ahead of Sunday's FA Cup tie at Marine, he said: "I believe that is a completely impossible situation for a club to have three matches postponed, especially if that club plays in Europe. If that club doesn't play in Europe, of course there are the UEFA fixtures.

"For a Europa League team to have three matches postponed is impossible. Completely impossible. That's the only thing that I can say."

Asked about the prospect of facing Fulham instead of Villa, he added: "I don't know. It's not for me to find solutions. I'm not going to lie to you, I've been doing that hypothetical exercise with my staff.

"Of course, we have no influence and we don't want to have influence. The only thing that we can say is that what we did in the beginning of the season is impossible to repeat and we refuse to repeat.

"We have to defend our players, the integrity of our competitions and we would never accept to play seven matches in three weeks like we did before. One thing is [the] beginning [of the season], another thing is mid-season.

"And also because of the difficulties and demands of the matches. One thing is to play with all the risks, the Europa League play-offs, another thing is to play Europa League knockout where all the best teams are there.

"We cannot be put in an impossible situation. To have three matches postponed... it is the moment for the Premier League to show leadership, make decisions, that of course a club like us, is trying every day to be ready to play, to follow the rules that we had in our hands.

"We cannot be punished. If we don't play against Aston Villa, we will have three matches postponed and that is impossible. Because after the season we have the Euros, and of course the matches cannot be moved."

Mourinho revealed Gareth Bale trained on Friday and could travel to eighth-tier minnows Marine, while Jack Clarke and Harvey White will be in the squad.

Jose Mourinho labelled Son Heung-min a "special player" after Tottenham reached the EFL Cup final on Tuesday.

Moussa Sissoko and Son scored as Spurs recorded a 2-0 win over Brentford, who were reduced to 10 men after Josh Dasilva's late red card.

Only Harry Kane (17) has scored more goals in all competitions this season than Son (16) among Premier League players.

Mourinho lauded the forward, who had more key passes (three) and shots on target (two) than any other player against Brentford.

"That's the humility of a player. That's Sonny. That's the human nature. He's like that. Some other guys they are not like that. For him it's the team," the Spurs head coach told a news conference.

"For him, for [Harry] Kane, for Lucas [Moura], for many the team is first and of course we depend a lot on the characteristics of some players. Sonny is one of them.

"He had two chances. He had a good volley. I saw the ball in the net but unfortunately, I was wrong and the ball went out. Then he faced the keeper in a difficult moment of the game, where the game is open.

"The opponent is trying and pushing and he goes and he kills the game. So special player but also a special human being."

Spurs' next outing is a trip to non-league side Marine in the FA Cup on Sunday.

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