Jose Mourinho "would love" to bring silverware to Tottenham to mark two decades at the helm for chairman Daniel Levy.

Spurs face Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa League round of 16 on Thursday, which will mark 20 years since Levy assumed the role following ENIC's takeover in 2001.

While Levy's reign has proven a huge commercial success, on-field glory remains scarce, with the 2008 EFL Cup triumph providing the only exception.

Premier League title tilts have floundered, while the 2018-19 campaign ended with a Champions League final loss to Liverpool.

Mourinho, a serial trophy-winner, was brought in to replace Mauricio Pochettino a matter of months after that defeat in Spain, and he has his heart set on success.

As well as the Europa League, Spurs have an EFL Cup final with Manchester City on the horizon, and Mourinho – who is approaching a milestone of his own – is hoping to make some additions to the trophy cabinet as reward for Levy's work.

"I would love to help and be part of the work that will deliver a trophy. I would love it," he said.

"I don't think sometimes it's fair for an owner, CEO or president to be judged on trophies. Many times they depend on others too.

"I think there are many ways to look at work in football and the work has been done in this club, independent of the trophies the club didn't get.

"The work is in other aspects. It's a big club now in many aspects and that's down to the work he's done and the structure he has put in place.

"But trophies are the salt and pepper of football and I would love to, not just for him but for the players and fans and everyone, help.

"I'm not a big guy on stats but my 1,000th match arrives this season and it would also be nice to celebrate that with a trophy with him."

In between the two legs of their Europa League showdown with Dinamo, Spurs take on Arsenal in the north London derby, but Mourinho urged focus on the immediate task at hand.

"I am not thinking about the Arsenal match," he said.

"I am thinking about his one. We will make changes the same way we made changes between the Fulham and the Crystal Palace match.

"The team is playing well and the team is winning, so you could say no changes, but we change.

"We won't play with the same team that played against Palace but the team will be equally strong."

One question mark is over the involvement of the in-form Gareth Bale, who has scored six goals in as many games and provided three assists, with Mourinho insisting the Wales forward's playing time needed to be carefully managed.

"I want to keep the momentum going but I need to manage him," he said.

"The communication is very good and I think he trusts me. In this moment we are deciding together what to do.

"He's playing very well. The relationship with him is very good I think and, of course, I would like him to play 90 minutes in every game, but he can't."

Jose Mourinho says Gareth Bale deserves great credit for recovering from "psychological scars" to show what he is capable of in his second spell at Tottenham.

Bale failed to force his way into the Spurs side following his return to the Premier League club on loan from Real Madrid.

The Wales forward struggled to make an impact after so long on the sidelines as he was hampered by injury problems, but he has looked much more like his former self in recent weeks.

Bale scored twice in a 4-1 defeat of Crystal Palace on Sunday, taking his tally to six goals in as many games along with three assists.

The 31-year-old had netted just four times and not laid a single goal on in 16 matches prior to his recent purple patch and Spurs boss Mourinho applauded the way he has put such a difficult period behind him.

Mourinho said: "I found psychological scars. When you have a couple of seasons with lots of injuries I think it is not about the muscular scars but the psychological scars - that brings fears and instability.

"There is a moment when you are working very well and everyone around you is giving everything we can give, there is a moment where that psychological barrier has to be broken.

"And he broke it. It was him, not us. We just supported him."

Spurs are sixth in the Premier League table, two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, and have won their last four games in all competitions.

Jose Mourinho will not worry too much about the race for Champions League qualification and prefers to focus on enjoying moments in the season, such as reaching 100 goals with his "very negative" Tottenham.

Spurs beat Crystal Palace 4-1 in the Premier League on Sunday to climb to sixth in the table, albeit with seventh-placed West Ham set to play on Monday.

The fourth goal at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Harry Kane's second, was the 100th Tottenham have scored in all competitions this term.

Only European and world champions Bayern Munich (106) have previously passed this mark across Europe's 'top five' leagues in 2020-21.

That achievement was one aspect Mourinho chose to focus on when asked about his side's chances of climbing into the top four, occupied by Manchester City, Manchester United, Leicester City and Chelsea on Sunday night.

"We have just to try to get the best number of points we can, try to win the most matches we can and the most number of points that is possible," he said.

"If possible playing well, if possible scoring goals, if possible not conceding many, and try to see what can happen.

"I don't forget the Europa League, I refuse to forget. I refuse just to say Thursday is not important because for me it is important.

"The cup [EFL Cup] final is there waiting for us but still a couple of months.

"We just have to work, to work hard, stick together, go through the difficult moments like we did already, try to enjoy the good moments but enjoy in a soft way because we know how difficult it is going to be next.

"For us, in the Premier League next is Arsenal away, Aston Villa away, Newcastle away. This is what is waiting for us around the corner.

"We try to be happy when we can. Today we can after three victories in the same week.

"If the stats I was given are correct, 100 goals scored in the season, which for a very defensive team, for a very negative team, is not bad."

Mourinho was apparently referring to criticism of his style of play, but Tottenham thrilled the neutral in their latest victory.

Kane was involved in all four home goals, the first two of which were scored by Gareth Bale, who has six in his past six games in all competitions.

The depth of Mourinho's attacking options was on show as Son Heung-min teed up Kane's second and Lucas Moura provided a nuisance factor, contesting 23 duels and winning three fouls. Dele Alli did not even make it off the bench.

Next for Tottenham is the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie with Dinamo Zagreb, at home on Thursday when Mourinho will hope to see more positive forward play.

Mourinho said: "We are a team with a lot of talent in these areas.

"This Gareth is an extra for us. This Gareth didn't start the season. This Gareth is playing this way for a couple of months and of course the quality is amazing. He's a fantastic player."

Jose Mourinho agrees with Jurgen Klopp that club duty must be the top priority for players but is waiting to see how the coming weeks pan out amid uncertainty regarding the upcoming international break.

Liverpool manager Klopp said he could not allow Reds stars to join up with their national teams if it meant a period of quarantine and missing Premier League matches.

"The players are paid by the clubs so that means we have to be the first priority," he said.

Premier League players travelling to 'red list' countries during this month's break would be forced to quarantine for 10 days when they return to England.

Klopp's sentiments have been met with approval by other top-flight coaches, including Spurs boss Mourinho.

But the Portuguese is still waiting to see the impact of the international matches, believing late changes to the schedule could yet ease the burden.

"In this moment, I don't want to speak," Mourinho said. "In this moment, I want to see what is going to happen.

"Do you know, for example, if Argentina-Brazil is going to be played in South America or if it's going to be played, for example, in London? I don't know.

"I know little things; I know Portugal will play in Turin, I know Norway will play in Spain. I don't know much.

"Let's see what is going to happen, where the matches are going to be played.

"Of course, the clubs have the right to protect themselves, because Jurgen is right: the clubs pay the players."

The break comes after a key stretch in Tottenham's season, with Thursday's narrow win at Fulham their first of six games prior to the international fixtures.

Spurs are five points off the top four and Sunday's meeting with Crystal Palace is their only home league match this month.

Palace – 11 points clear of the bottom three – at least tend to make for polite guests, last winning away at Tottenham in 1997. Manager Roy Hodgson has only one victory from 18 attempts against Spurs in the Premier League.

"I think we need the points more than them," Mourinho said.

"If their objective is to be quiet and stable in the middle of the Premier League, they're going to have that anyway. If we want to go up the table, we need points.

"Of course, March is going to be so hard for us: only one match at home, Palace, and then everything after that is away, plus two Europa League matches, plus national team with all the controversy and the problems we may face with that.

"March is going to be very, very hard. If we can add three points to our table, that would be great."

Mourinho expects Serge Aurier to be back involved this weekend, but Giovani Lo Celso is not anticipated to return until Thursday's Europa League last-16 first leg against Dinamo Zagreb.

Meanwhile, Palace may be able to call on Wilfried Zaha for the first time since he hobbled out of a victory at Newcastle United on February 2.

The Eagles' league win rate this season drops from 42.1 per cent to 12.5 per cent when without Zaha, their leading scorer with nine goals, and Mourinho suggested his potential return for this match was typical of Tottenham's misfortune.

"He's a very good player," Mourinho said. "It doesn't surprise me that he's fit to play against us because everybody plays against us.

"Everybody is fit and the goalkeepers always play amazing against us. It doesn't surprise me."

Zaha has not scored or assisted a Premier League goal in his 11 career games against Spurs.

Jose Mourinho made clear Dele Alli deserved to start for Tottenham against Fulham after putting in the hard work in recent weeks – and was pleased with what he delivered in the 1-0 win. 

Alli was named in Spurs' XI in the Premier League for just the second time this season, the midfielder playing 67 minutes before making way for Moussa Sissoko. 

The England international created two chances and also had a shot himself during his time on the pitch, continuing an upward trend for a player whose future at the club has appeared uncertain for so much of the campaign. 

Mourinho made clear a place in the team was a well-deserved reward for Alli, rather than a "gift", as he looks to rotate amid a hectic schedule.

"He deserves it. It was not a gift, [it] was a consequence of his work since he came back to the team. [Through] Work and working with the team 100 per cent and becoming fully fit and ready to play," the Tottenham boss told the media.

"He was giving us important things. He did very well in the Europa League. He did very well every minute on the pitch against West Ham, against Burnley, he was deserving. 

"In this moment we need the squad, with so many matches coming so fast. Of course we need it. We cannot change the structure of the team. We can change two or three players, which today we did with Dele, Ben [Davies] and Matt [Doherty]. 

"I'm happy with what they gave to the team. For Dele, it was important to have a feeling of a Premier League start."

Alli was involved in the winner too, albeit his failure to connect properly resulted in an own goal by Tosin Adarabioyo that settled a close contest in Tottenham's favour.

Fulham had just under 60 per cent possession and pushed hard for an equaliser, but the visitors held on at Craven Cottage for a win that further boosts their hopes of a top-four finish.

"I believe that we really showed from the first minute that we were coming for that [the win]," Mourinho said of the performance.

"The first half was a good half for us, the second half was harder. They put some pressure on us, but I believe that when we made the changes, we brought a new energy and dynamic to the team. We brought the danger to the other side. 

"Even being a solid block to defend we were the team with the best chances to score in the last ten minutes."

Spurs have now won back-to-back Premier League games for the first time since November, with Crystal Palace up next on Sunday.

Jose Mourinho believes anyone wondering why it took Gareth Bale so long to hit top form for Tottenham would be better off asking Real Madrid.

Bale had a miserable start to his Tottenham return after coming back to the club on a season-long loan deal in September.

He struggled with his form and fitness, quickly falling out of favour with Mourinho.

Bale has been revitalised of late though, impressing in two Europa League games against Wolfsberger as well as Premier League clashes against West Ham and Burnley.

Mourinho recently said Bale was the happiest, fittest and most confident he has ever been at Tottenham.

The Spurs boss confirmed Bale had another good reaction to his 70-minute outing in the 4-0 win over Burnley on Sunday.

It means the Wales international is in contention to play at least some part when Spurs take on Fulham at Craven Cottage on Thursday.

"For the past two years, he had what he had in Madrid," said Mourinho. "Ask them [why it took Bale so long to find form]. 

"Maybe if they answer you, you can understand better why he took a while. 

"Maybe to be patient was the main reason for him to reach the level he showed in the last couple of weeks."

Asked if Bale would be involved in the Fulham game, he added: "I believe so. Starting or on the bench I don't know, we have to decide that.

"He is such an experienced guy so of course his opinion is very important. But he has had a good reaction [after the Burnley game], a good recovering session and he will be involved. 

"I repeat: [it could be] bench or starting, but he will be there."

Midfielder Giovani Lo Celso will not be rushed back despite returning to training.

"He is training with the team but it was a big injury," added Mourinho.

"We are not going to risk [him] yet. In fact, we don't want to risk [him at all], we want to bring him to the team and competition when there is no risk. One week, two more weeks. 

"Apart from that, everyone OK. One more training session after this but everyone OK."
 

BALE'S SWIFT IMPROVEMENT

Bale has registered four goals and three assists in his last four games for Tottenham.

In his first 16 matches since returning, he only recorded four goals and did not register a single assist.

The 31-year-old's minutes per goal involvement have impressively plummeted from 200.8 in his first 16 matches to one every 28.7 in this most recent four-match span.

Bale is having more of an active role in other areas too. His chances created per 90 minutes are up to 3.1 from just 1.1, while his shot conversion rate is 44.4 per cent, up from 10.5.

It is only a small sample size and two of the matches were against weaker opposition in Wolfsberger, but the signs are encouraging.

The amount of shots he is taking is similar (4 per game compared to 4.3 before), but notably more of Spurs' attacks are coming through Bale. 

He has accounted for 22 per cent of Spurs' shots in the last four matches, where before he was responsible for just nine per cent of their attempts in the time he was on the pitch.
 

HOW DO HIS STATS COMPARE TO REAL MADRID?

The recent burst from Bale means his statistics since returning to Spurs compare favourably to his successful Madrid tenure in a number of categories.

Again, it is worth noting his Spurs figures are from a comparatively small sample size making them more prone to fluctuations – 20 matches compared to 251 in the Spanish capital.

Bale has 11 goal involvements for Spurs (eight goals and three assists) in 1,004 minutes on the pitch, giving him an average of 91 minutes per contribution.

At Madrid, he averaged one every 111 minutes.

Bale also compares favourably when looking solely at minutes per goal (171 at Madrid v 126 at Spurs).

He did, however, win 65 per cent of the games he played in at Madrid, compared to 60 per cent since returning to Spurs, a sign of the difficult season experienced by the London club.

Jose Mourinho felt Gareth Bale turned in the best display of his Tottenham second coming against Burnley and insists every manager in the world would pick the Wales star, fitness permitting.

Bale was handed only his third Premier League start since re-joining Spurs on loan from Real Madrid last September and he responded with two goals and an assist for Harry Kane in a dominant 4-0 win over Burnley.

Persistent fitness struggles have made Mourinho reluctant to give Bale too much action outside of cup competitions but he was thoroughly impressed after the forward put Sean Dyche's woeful Clarets to the sword.

"It's the best Bale that we have had during this season, more confidence, better condition, no bad feelings with injuries," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"His left foot will always be his left foot but the change of speed and direction and winning duels is not something he was able to do three or four months ago. Now he's giving us that."

Bale won five of eight duels contested including two out of two in the air – the only Spurs player to have a 100 per cent record on this metric against Burnley.

The 31-year-old was also perfect in a more headline-grabbing fashion, scoring twice from two shots on target and setting up Kane's 15th-minute goal with his only key pass.

A hectic schedule continues at pace with back-to-back London derbies for Tottenham against Fulham and Crystal Palace this week.

Mourinho plans to continue carefully managing Bale's workload, despite having instincts to the contrary.

"Sometimes some of you like to imagine stories and you have to write stories. Sometimes you like to say things that are not really true," he said at a post-match news conference, referencing allusions to a strained relationship between himself and the Wales international.

"But there is not one manager in the world who does not play Gareth Bale if Gareth Bale is in good condition. There is not one.

"His knowledge of his body and his feelings are going to be fundamental.

"A player who gives me this kind of performance, I want to play him Thursday and I want to play him Sunday and I want to play hm next week against Dinamo Zagreb [in the Europa League].

"But I don't think I can. This is a process that we have to manage day bay day. The day after tomorrow we have to see how he feels.

"He is a very important part of this decision making because he has a lot of experience."

Gareth Bale marked his return to a Premier League starting line-up with a brace in Tottenham's 4-0 thumping of Burnley.

Bale had only been named from kick-off twice in the top flight since re-joining Spurs from Real Madrid last September, but a goal in each leg of the Europa League win over Wolfsberger AC persuaded Jose Mourinho to give the Wales international a chance.

Tottenham's recent run of five defeats in their past six Premier League matches became a fast fading memory as Bale notched after 68 seconds and set up Harry Kane's second.

It was 3-0 after the half hour thanks to Lucas Moura, who kept Dele Alli on the bench despite the England midfielder's similarly impressive European form, and Bale's eighth goal of his second Tottenham spell came in the 55th minute.

Bale wasted little time in making the most of his selection by stealing in behind a sleeping Burnley defence to convert Son Heung-min's cross – Nick Pope having charitably stayed on his line.

There was fleeting defiance from the visitors, with Davinson Sanchez forced to make a last-ditch challenge on Jay Rodriguez.

Pope denied Lucas at close quarters before Bale was given time and space to send a raking ball into Kane's path in the 15th minute.

The England captain advanced infield from the left and rifled home an emphatic finish.

Any lingering doubt over the result was put to bed when Sergio Reguilon's cross clipped off James Tarkowski and Lucas pounced.

Burnley's misery deepened nine minutes into the second half with Bale allowed room for a touch and a clinical finish after Son played the provider once more.

Lucas and Bale made way but Kane and Son remained a nuisance for the Clarets.

Pope pushed over a swerving drive from the England captain before getting down sharply to deny Son.

 

Jose Mourinho has selected Gareth Bale in the Tottenham side to face Burnley in Sunday's Premier League clash in north London, with Dele Alli on the bench.

Bale has only started two Premier League games since re-joining Spurs on loan from Real Madrid last September, while Alli's solitary appearance in a top-flight first XI this term came in the opening-day defeat to Everton when he was replaced at half-time.

However, both men have impressed in Tottenham's recent Europa League outings.

Bale scored in both legs as Mourinho's men dispatched Wolfsberger 8-1 on aggregate, with Alli netting a stunning overhead kick and recording two assists in this week's second encounter with the Austrian side.

Those heroics were not enough to win the England midfielder a place in the team to take on Sean Dyche's team at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, as Bale joins Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura in a four-pronged attack.

Tottenham have lost five of their past six Premier League matches and lie ninth, needing a positive result against Burnley to reignite their top-four hopes.

Gareth Bale looks happier and more confident than ever at Tottenham, according to manager Jose Mourinho.

Wales international Bale has impressed in his last three Spurs appearances, registering two goals and two assists in one start and two substitute appearances.

Those displays, in two legs of the 8-1 aggregate Europa League win over Wolfsberger and in the Premier League loss at West Ham, came after a disappointing start to his loan spell from Real Madrid.

Bale has largely struggled with his form and fitness, falling out of favour with a seemingly frustrated Mourinho.

There was intense speculation over whether Bale had any chance of extending his stay from Madrid for a second season.

But he now seems revitalised, with Mourinho offering a positive update ahead of Sunday's home Premier League game against Burnley.

"The mental side is always a consequence of the physical side," explained Mourinho.

"If a player feels great, if he is training 100 per cent, if the feelings are very good then there are no psychological problems, fears or barriers. 

"When you have these little things and you have a recent history of injuries, these things are normal, they have a consequence. 

"But lately, he is fine, it is just a question of how many minutes he can play, how many days he needs to recover between matches – it is just about that. 

"He looks happier than ever, looks confident. In training you can see that confidence back, the way he hits a shot like for example in the last game, it is a confident shot. 

"A player with fears or feelings in the muscle does not hit that shot, strike the ball that way. That strike means a lot, it means freedom in relation to the brain and the muscle.

"He's in his best condition since he arrived."

Mourinho insisted Bale has the complete trust of everyone at Tottenham when it comes to managing his condition after being asked if the 31-year-old could only play when he was 100 per cent fit.

The under-pressure Spurs boss added: "He's a player with a lot of experience and players with experience, they know their body better than anyone. 

"There is no coach, fitness coach, sports science, medical staff who knows the body better than a very experienced player. 

"Especially a player that had years of small problems, bigger problems and situations that had an impact on the last couple of years of his career. 

"We trust him. We trust his experience, his analysis and everything with him is done with the great participation of everyone, because in the end the best for him is the best for Tottenham. 

"To have him giving us important contributions bit by bit, of course we want that in a more continuous way. 

"We have important Premier League matches, a crucial cup final, crucial matches in the Europa League.

"The more we have Gareth, a player with his confidence, experience, know-how of big moments, the better. 

"So we have to be careful and we have to trust the player who I repeat has a lot of experience."

Tottenham are ninth in the Premier League ahead of a crucial week for Mourinho that sees them face three teams in the bottom half: Burnley, Fulham and Crystal Palace.

Jose Mourinho has hinted he could start Dele Alli and Gareth Bale in the same Tottenham team as Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.

The prospect of those four attacking stars being regulars for Spurs this season appeared remote in the first half of the season.

While Son and Kane thrived, Alli and Bale struggled with their fitness and fell out of favour with Mourinho amid intense speculation over their Spurs futures.

Alli and Bale have been revitalised over recent weeks and all four players were on the pitch with Lucas Moura as Tottenham almost staged a late Premier League comeback in the loss at West Ham last week.

Asked about fans wanting all four to play together, Mourinho told reporters: "Do you give me four names or 11? Do you want to give the other seven? I do the other seven and you do the four!

"You could see against West Ham, it was not from the start of the game, but for 20 minutes or so, we had Bale, Lucas, Dele, Harry, Sonny. So you had it. 

"We didn't turn the result around or score to win that game, but we could leave the game with positive feelings.

"They played well, the interaction was good, we create chances. All of them, they had their ball to score their goal, it was positive.

"When they are in top form, and when they are fit, and when they are ready to play matches, it is never a problem for good players to play together.

"Since the beginning of the season I'm saying that, and I don't forget Gio [Lo Celso], because he is out for two or three months or whatever, I don't forget him, because he also belongs to that quality of the creative players, as well as Tanguy [Ndombele].

"We could even speak about [Erik] Lamela, [Steven] Bergwijn - we have players with these qualities."

Alli was the star of the show on Thursday, scoring a spectacular goal and adding two assists as Spurs thumped Wolfsberger 4-0 in the second leg of their last-32 tie.

Mourinho believes the England international has come through a testing time and feels better after every outing.

"In relation to Dele, when you have players performing like he did, it's easier for the team to play well and when the team plays well it's easier for players to perform well individually," Mourinho said ahead of Sunday's home Premier League match against Burnley.

"I'm happy with him. Difficult period. Sometimes small injuries in accumulation are more difficult than a big injury where after a few weeks or months you are back.

"Small injuries are mentally not good, players getting disappointed, lack of motivation, frustration. He went through all that.

"He came back. We had good conversations, training well, playing minutes or part of matches. Not yet a 90-minute match but he went through periods and basically now 75 or 80 minutes.

"Condition also improving. His feelings after matches always is better. In the first match in Budapest, he played 60 minutes or something like that and he [was] super, super tired after the game.

"This time he played more and two days later he's good."

Tottenham's struggles with injuries have taken a positive turn ahead of the clash with Burnley.

Ninth-placed Spurs are in desperate need of a run of results against Sean Dyche's team, Fulham and Crystal Palace over the next week.

Spurs have lost five of their last six Premier League games, more than they had in their previous 28 in the competition.

Since winning against Arsenal in December, Mourinho's men have taken just 12 points from 13 top-flight games – only strugglers Newcastle United, Sheffield United and West Brom have taken fewer in that span.

Mourinho said: "Now it never stops so we need everybody and, in the particular case of Dele Alli, I'm very happy.

"We need him and we need them all. In a long, long time, we didn't have every player on the pitch and today we did have it - that is great news for us because we have so many matches."

Jose Mourinho thinks it would be "wonderful" if Tottenham were able to play a part in an all-English Europa League final.

Reacting to the draw for the last 16 on Friday, which saw Spurs paired with Dinamo Zagreb, Mourinho accepted there were some positives.

Arsenal and Manchester United are also in the draw and will face Olympiacos and Milan respectively, with a realistic chance of three English sides making it into the quarter-finals.

While he did not want to get carried away, Mourinho did discuss the prospect of facing the other Premier League sides later in the tournament after Spurs defeated Wolfsberger 8-1 on aggregate to book their Dinamo tie.

"When you are in this competition and you get to this stage you don't get easy clubs," said Mourinho.

"If you want to win it, sooner or later you have to play against the best clubs or the ones who go through the different stages. So, the objective now is to win against Dinamo.

"Then if later Arsenal and Manchester United are in the competition, we have always to face them.

"It happened in the Champions League final, two English clubs, happened in the Europa League with Arsenal and Chelsea too.

"It's something that can happen and if it does, wonderful for us if we are one of the two teams. And [it would be] wonderful for English football to have two teams in the final.

"But in this moment,16 teams, everybody wants the same so it's very premature to think about it."

While Dinamo Zagreb are top of the Croatian league, other possible opponents for Spurs included Milan, Roma, Ajax and Villarreal.

Mourinho, who has won the Europa League twice in spells at Porto and United, added: "Good stadium, I believe we are going to play there.

"Not a very difficult flight, not too far, so I feel very positive things, but the most important thing is that we get to the quarter-finals.

"Dinamo, they beat Krasnodar twice. Krasnodar is a Russian team and it's never easy to play them. 

"In the group stage, of course they won it, not only against Wolfsberger, but Feyenoord and CSKA Moscow. They are every season in European competitions.

"I played against them with Real Madrid in the Champions League. Croatian football is Croatian football, lots of talent. It's a football country." 

Prior to the beginning of that tie on March 11, Mourinho is tasked with turning around Tottenham's poor Premier League form, starting with Sunday's home match against Burnley.

Spurs have lost five of their past six league matches, as many as they had in their previous 28, leaving them ninth in the table.

Tottenham defender Eric Dier has disagreed with Jose Mourinho's claim that he was suffering a crisis of confidence.

Mourinho mentioned Dier as one of his players that feels "more than anyone else, these little moments of confidence, of crisis".

The Portuguese coach made the comments after Spurs' 2-0 win over West Brom earlier this month, a match that Dier sat out as an unused substitute.

The England international has returned to the starting line-up in four of Spurs' five games since and Dier rejects the suggestion his confidence was low.

"Confidence-wise, I don't feel like I've been in a bad place all season," Dier said.

"I've gone through periods where I've had low confidence in the past so I know what it feels like and I haven't felt that this season.

"The most important thing is the reality and people's perception versus reality can be different sometimes.

"We've gone through a difficult moment but it's important to keep things in context.

"I feel like I've been happy with my level for the majority of the season.

"There's been a dip in it, which correlates with the dip with the team in general and our performances in general.

"I don't think my confidence has ever been in a negative place where it's been in previous times."

The 27-year-old admits the North Londoners' form has been below-par, with Spurs slipping to five losses in their past six league games.

That slump has resulted in Mourinho's team falling to ninth in the Premier League table, but Dier insists it is not for the want of trying.

"I'm a big boy, this is a ruthless profession and I focus on trying to do the best that I can every time I get an opportunity," he added.

"I always try to be the best version of myself, every day in training I try to improve constantly.

"I know I can have good games and bad games but I'm always relaxed because I know that I give everything I do have.

"Everything on the outside doesn't affect me so much because I'm confident in myself and I'm confident that I always try to give the best of myself.

"Sometimes it goes well, sometimes it goes badly but my effort never changes."

Jose Mourinho lavished praise on Tottenham youngster Dane Scarlett following an impressive Europa League cameo, likening him to Manchester United star Marcus Rashford.

The 16-year-old made his fourth senior appearance for the club on Wednesday, coming off the bench for the final 10 minutes a 4-0 win over Wolfsberger.

And he made a telling impact almost immediately, hustling a defender out of possession to set up Carlos Vinicius for the hosts' fourth goal.

Mourinho could barely contain his delight at the rapid progress of a player whose quality reminds him of another major talent he once helped develop.

"He is a diamond, a kid with incredible potential," the Portuguese told BT Sport.

"He has worked many times with the first team and that gives him a different personality. He is still 16, 17 soon [in March] and I believe next season he will be a first-team squad player because he has a lot of talent.

"He is going to be a fantastic player and I hope everything around him goes well. He is a striker, a number nine, I have been playing him from the sides similar to Marcus Rashford and he is very clever.”

Mourinho praised Scarlett even further in his post-match media conference, revealing the teenager is already splitting his time between the senior squad and Under-23s.

"Dane has incredible talent. I don't want to speak too much because tomorrow I arrive in the building and the kid's boss is going to kill me," he added.

"I don't want that so I don't want to speak too well about him. I just want to say that he will be 17 next month and I want him to be part of the first-team squad next season.

"So this season he is there and here, goes to training sessions with us and matches with the kids of his age and trains there.

"Next season he has to be a first-team player. Immense talent. Very good physical development.

"He's very good, he's going to be very good. I hope that nothing is going to destroy that potential. He must have feet on the ground and head on his shoulders because he has a fantastic talent."

Jose Mourinho is delighted by Dele Alli's return to form after he lit up Tottenham's Europa League win over Wolfsberger with an outstanding overhead kick.

Boasting a 4-1 lead from the away first leg, Spurs were dominant again in the return fixture, a 4-0 success.

Not since 2011-12, when coach of Real Madrid against APOEL, had Mourinho had a team score eight times over the course of a European knockout tie, and Alli was the star of the show.

Wednesday's game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium saw Alli make only his eighth start of the season - only one of which has come in the Premier League, in the opening-day defeat to Everton - but he made the most of his opportunity.

As well as executing a marvellous acrobatic volley - his first non-penalty goal of the campaign - at the end of a move he started, the England international provided two assists, doubling his seasonal tally.

This was the first time ever in a European match Alli had both a goal and an assist and the first time in any Tottenham fixture since December 2018.

These contributions and an impressive all-round display, including two shots, three key passes and 66 touches, suggest Alli is rediscovering his best form under Mourinho.

Since initially impressing when the Portuguese was appointed in 2019, Alli has fallen badly out of favour and was linked with a loan exit in January.

But Mourinho told BT Sport: "He had a difficult period. He had an injury, and at the same time he had an injury, it was the same period of talk, talk, talk about staying, leaving, leaving, staying.

"The market closed, the injury is gone, he started working with lots of motivation, and it's coming. That's what we need."

In his post-match news conference, the Spurs coach added: "The goal I don't need to speak [about] because everyone watched it and I believe around the world, on all these sports TV [channels], people are going to watch it.

"I don't need to talk about it. For me, the globality of the performance is what matters. He played very well. In every aspect of the game, he played very well.

"Of course he's not fresh, of course we can feel his performance, like in the first leg, from minute 55, 60 is going to go down - which is normal in the circumstances; injured, not training for a long time, come in for a couple of weeks.

"But in this moment where we are going to play every three days, 10 matches in March, to have Dele back at this level is amazing."

Substitute Gareth Bale was the beneficiary of one of Alli's assists, sweeping in a stunning third goal for his second of the tie.

Mourinho insists Tottenham's schedule means he does not need to have a first XI, but he acknowledged it would be hard to continue to leave Alli and Bale out of his league line-up.

"These are the headaches that I love," Mourinho said.

"The headaches I don't like are the headaches of selection [when] lots of people are not performing, lots of doubts, negative reasons. These are wonderful problems."

It was not just a night for Spurs' big names, though, as Dane Scarlett replaced Alli nine minutes from time and immediately teed up the fourth goal for Carlos Vinicius, also the scorer of the second.

Scarlett became the first 16-year-old to record a Europa League assist since Kylian Mbappe against Tottenham in December 2015.

Mourinho described the teenager as "a diamond" to BT Sport and added later: "He has immense talent, very good physical development. He's very good, he's going to be very good.

"I hope that nothing is going to destroy that potential. He must have his feet on the ground and his head on his shoulders because he has fantastic talent."

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