Jose Mourinho has defended Dele Alli and Harry Winks after the pair headed down the tunnel mid-game during Tottenham’s 2-0 victory over Royal Antwerp and said he gave them permission to go in for an early shower due to the cold weather.
Second-half goals from Carlos Vinicius and Giovani Lo Celso sealed all three points for the hosts and secured them a place in the Europa League last 32 as winners of Group J.
But the questionable behaviour of Spurs’ players threatened to overshadow their qualification for the next round, with Winks appearing frustrated as he was replaced by Tanguy Ndombele and made his way straight down the tunnel just before the hour-mark.
It was a similar situation around ten minutes later as Alli left the bench and headed for the changing room after realising Mourinho had used all five of his substitutions with Moussa Sissoko replacing Lucas Moura.
Former Tottenham star Jermaine Jenas, commentating for BT Sport, said: ‘There’s no way Jose is going to keep this whole squad happy.
‘You’ve got two internationals there in Winks and Dele who have been mainstays in this team for a long period of time.
‘I suppose they haven’t really got a leg to stand on right now when the team is top of the league and playing well.
‘They probably deserve more of a chance than what they’re getting, especially in this competition, but there’s no doubt that they’re both going to be unhappy.
‘It’s up to them to get themselves back into Jose’s good books.’
However, Alli was seen returning to his seat again in the 77th minute and Mourinho insisted he had no problem with the England duo’s actions at his post-match press conference.
‘I told him to go,’ Mourinho said when asked about Winks’ reaction to being taken off.
‘I told every player that left the pitch to go because when the weather is cold I prefer the players to go to the dressing room and have a shower and be warm and be safe.
‘Some preferred to stay even cold, they prefer to stay and still participate in the game from the bench and Winks decided to go and I’m happy with that because I’m the one that told him to do it.’
Asked whether Alli was given permission to leave the bench early, Mourinho replied: ‘Yeah.
‘But let’s not run away from the reality. A player that is on the bench and realises that with five changes he’s not one of the players, of course he’s not a happy player and I wouldn’t expect him to be happy.
‘But every player that is on the bench or every player that leaves the pitch in cold weather with me, they can go to the dressing room and I even prefer if that happens.’
They then face joint leaders Liverpool next Wednesday for what promises to be an enthralling clash at Anfield.