Jose Mourinho insists Tottenham deserved their 3-2 win over Southampton in Wednesday’s FA Cup fourth-round replay, despite being second best in a see-saw game.
Spurs found themselves 2-1 behind with 18 minutes remaining at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium after Shane Long and Danny Ings struck following Jack Stephens’ early own goal.
However, Lucas Moura swept in from 18 yards to equalise and, after being fouled by visiting goalkeeper Angus Gunn, Son Heung-min converted from the penalty spot in the 87th minute.
Tottenham will now face another Premier League side in Norwich City in the next round, but Mourinho conceded his side had been a little fortunate to progress.
“I have to be honest and say I think the best team lost on the pitch, but my team were the ones with more heart and went to their limit,” he told BT Sport.
“There are so many difficulties to build a team – the options were not options to change the game. My team deserved to win – but the best team lost.”
Mourinho sent on Dele Alli for Tanguy Ndombele and the England midfielder played a key part in Tottenham’s late comeback, setting up Lucas to make it 2-2.
“From the intensity level and freshness, they were much stronger than us. We tried to organise the team with the players available,” Mourinho said.
“They controlled us well. Dele changed the game after we switched to a back four. We had a link with Dele Alli – it was like trying to build a puzzle with a few pieces short.”
Jan Vertonghen was the first player to be taken off by Mourinho, however, as Gedson Fernandes came on, leading to a change in formation.
“It’s hard to sub players during the game,” Mourinho said of his decision to take off Vertonghen.
“We were not controlling the game in a back five so had to change and he was the one to come out – that’s football.
“Some players react in a negative way, but Jan acted like the professional that he is.”
Tottenham now have a welcome break before their next match – a Premier League trip to Aston Villa on February 16.