Spurs set for warm welcome on a cold Wednesday night in Stoke

Jonathan Veal, PA
·3-min read

Tottenham are set for a more hospitable welcome than they were expecting at Stoke in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup quarter-final after the Championship club significantly upgraded their away dressing room.

The changing facilities came under heavy criticism from Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock, who described them as a “pigsty” following his side’s 1-0 loss there earlier this month.

Warnock claimed the portable building was cold, the toilets were blocked, the showers were leaking and fumes were being pumped in from a generator, but the PA News agency understands changes have been made.

Mourinho has seen a video of the old facilities but will now find more luxurious surroundings, where the whole team will be housed in one structure with an in-built heating system, which could make their evening easier.

Spurs head to the Championship club knowing they are three games away from winning the competition, with a one-legged semi-final and a showpiece final waiting if they can get past Stoke.

On paper that represents their best chance of ending their long trophy drought and Mourinho’s rich history in this competition, which he has won four times before, will stand them in good stead.

But the Portuguese knows with the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United, Everton or Arsenal still possibly standing in their way, it will not be an easy job to bring the silverware back to north London.

“To win this tournament we need to win three matches,” he said. “One against Stoke and then, if we beat Stoke, we will have two more matches to play. Against teams who have the same ambitions as we have.

“If I am not wrong, Man City, Arsenal, Man United, Everton, Newcastle, Brentford, everybody wants the same.

“The difference between Championship and Premier League is minimal. The teams are very good, they have very good players and have very good coaches.

“So even the fact we play Stoke, or Newcastle play Brentford, does not give us easier matches than the others.

“It is a difficult competition to win. We need to win three matches.

“But going in the direction from what we are saying from the beginning of the season, the next match is a match we want to win, and the next match is Stoke.”

Jose Mourinho has won the League Cup three times, most recently with Manchester United
Jose Mourinho has won the League Cup three times, most recently with Manchester United (Nick Potts/PA)

Mourinho intends to rest “two or three” of the side that have been going flat out in the Premier League, a competition in which they have lost their last two games, and will pick a side that will be a “mixture” of his first-choice XI and the one that has been playing in the Europa League.

“I think a mixture,” he said. “I think we need some players who need to play and deserve to play.

“From the ones that are playing more times, others where we don’t have great options to make changes and have to keep them but I will try to give a little bit of a rest to two or three.”

Giovani Lo Celso is a doubt after suffering a hamstring injury in the 2-0 defeat to Leicester at the weekend, with Erik Lamela (Achilles) and Japhet Tanganga (shoulder) out.