Former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel has angrily claimed that Jose Mourinho should not have ventured into the Dinamo Zagreb dressing room after the final whistle, suggesting that Sir Alex Ferguson would have never even considered the idea before talking to his own players first. Mourinho was spotted congratulating Tottenham’s victorious opponents shortly after his side were dumped out of the Europa League in embarrassing fashion on Thursday evening.
Spurs went into the game with a two-goal advantage but conceded twice to force the tie into extra time, before Mislav Orsic completed his hat-trick with 14 minutes remaining to seal a remarkable comeback for Zagreb.
The hosts were the better side throughout, successfully keeping the likes of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min at bay to deservedly book their place in the quarter-finals of the competition.
The result poured cold water on Mourinho’s hopes of sealing the club’s first major European trophy, ensuring that next month’s Carabao Cup final will be the only chance Spurs get this season to end their 13-year wait for silverware.
Schmeichel, who won the Champions League with United in 1999, launched a scathing post-match attack on Mourinho for his decision to congratulate the Zagreb dressing room immediately after the final whistle.
The Dane claimed that the Spurs squad should be angry with the 58-year-old for his antics, suggesting that he was more interested in generating a buzz on social media than dealing with the result by addressing his players first.
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“If that was my manager doing that after the game, and I was part of what happened there, I would be seriously cross,” Schmeichel told CBS Sports.
“As a player, for me he’s got to go back to his own dressing room, and he’s got to do whatever a manager does behind closed doors.
“For me it’s a little bit [like] he’s playing to social media, playing it a little bit up. He’s kind of detaching a little bit from the events.
“He should be in the dressing room talking to his players, making sure they understand that what has just happened is unacceptable.
“You would never have seen Alex Ferguson do that. He would have done whatever he had to do in his own camp, then afterwards he would have paid respect.
“But that’s directly after the game, I wouldn’t have liked that.”
Thursday’s result marked the latest disappointing twist in a poor campaign for Spurs, who appear unlikely to seal a top-four finish in order to ensure Champions League qualification for next season.
The north London club currently occupy eighth place in the Premier League table, six points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea with ten games left to play.
Mourinho often chooses to question the mentality of his players after a damaging defeat, and his post-match comments on Thursday were no different.
The Portuguese boss suggested that the problems at Spurs run deeper than what meets the eye, claiming that his side were firmly second-best as a result of a lack of desire to see out their advantage.
“There was only one team that left everything out there on the pitch,” Mourinho told BT Sport. “They left blood, sweat – even tears there at the end. It was not my team.
“They were very humble, I have to praise them. I went into the Zagreb dressing room to congratulate them. Very humble. Very humble.
“On the other side, my team, it did not look like it was an important match. For me it was, every match is important. And for every Tottenham fan at home, every match is important. It matters.
“To say that I feel sad is not enough, every emotion is left out there.”