José Mourinho reveals the secret of his success in the EFL Cup

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Tottenham manager José Mourinho has revealed that the ‘secret’ to his success in the EFL Cup is taking it more seriously than his rivals, despite the stigma attached to competition, having led Spurs to a first national final in six years.

Mourinho’s Tottenham defeated Brentford in championship form Tuesday night thanks to an early goal by Moussa Sissoko and a second-half settler by Son Heung-min.

Moussa Sissoko
Spurs beat Brentford in the only semi-final | Clive Rose / Getty Images

The Spurs were lucky in the third round when they were awarded a pass to the fourth round as a result of a coronavirus outbreak that forced Leyton Orient to lose the game. They later knocked out Chelsea on penalties and were victorious against Stoke in the quarter-finals.

Mourinho is a four-time EFL Cup winner, having won it three times in two spells at Chelsea (2005, 2007, 2015), including Spurs’ victory in the final six years ago, and once with Manchester United ( 2019).

“I came to England in 2004 and I remember that in that period I had to learn the meaning of the cups here and I always took it seriously,” said the Portuguese quoted by BBC Sport.

“If there is a secret, it is to take it seriously. Respect what English football is, what English clubs are, what English lower divisions are.

Jose Mourinho
Mourinho has won the League Cup four times | Alex Livesey / Getty Images

“If you see the winners, you realize that the big clubs want to win,” he added.

Who was the last winner other than the usual top six? Swansea [2013]? I remember Manchester City won many times, Chelsea won many times, I remember United won a few times. I remember Liverpool in the final, Arsenal. The big clubs care. “

The EFL Cup was the last major trophy Tottenham won, coming in 2008 when they beat Chelsea, who had parted ways with Mourinho only a few months earlier, in extra time at Wembley.

Jonathan Woodgate of Tottenham Hotspur c
Spurs lifted the cup for the last time in 2008, their last major trophy | ADRIAN DENNIS / Getty Images

League cup competitions are rare outside of England, but Portugal is one of the few European nations to have one. It wasn’t established until 2007, several years after Mourinho last coached in his homeland, but his hometown club Vitoria Setubal won the first edition.

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