League Cup bye lessens Spurs’ fixture pile-up

League Cup bye lessens Spurs’ fixture pile-up

LONDON • Tottenham Hotspur’s fixture congestion has eased a little after the English Premier League outfit received a bye to move into the fourth round of the League Cup yesterday.

Their third-round tie at Leyton Orient was called off on Tuesday after several players from the fourth-tier side tested positive for the coronavirus, with the English Football League (EFL) confirming it meant a forfeit and not a rescheduling.

A statement read: “Tottenham… will now play Chelsea on Tuesday Sept 29.

“The board has determined (Orient) was unable to fulfil its obligations to complete the fixture.”

Due to their Europa League qualification commitments, Spurs were facing the unenviable prospect of nine games in 22 days since their top-flight opener with Everton on Sept 13.

It is now one game fewer for Jose Mourinho’s men, who on Thursday booked their berth in the play-offs after beating North Macedonia’s Shkendija 3-1.

Goals from Erik Lamela, Son Heung-min and substitute Harry Kane fired Spurs to a 3-1 away victory and should they defeat Israel’s Maccabi Haifa at home next week, they will advance to the group stage of the Europa League.

The visitors were, ultimately, too good for the hosts, but there was a pre-match incident resulting in Mourinho taking umbrage with the lower than usual goal posts employed by their opponents.

Spurs goalkeepers Hugo Lloris and Joe Hart, who are 1.88m and 1.96m respectively, had noticed the dimensions were wrong and told the Portuguese, who took the matter up with Uefa’s delegate at the match in Skopje.

After the game, the 1.74m Mourinho posted a picture of himself on Instagram nearly touching the crossbar.

“Before the game, (it) was a funny situation because my goalkeepers told me that the goal was small,” the Portuguese said.

“I went by myself and of course, the goal was small.

“The goalkeepers, they spend hours and hours and hours in the goal so they know when the goal is not the right dimension.

“I am not a goalkeeper, but I know football since I was a kid and I know when I stand there and spread my arms and I know the distance, so I felt immediately that something was going wrong.

“We got the Uefa delegate to confirm and yes it was 5cm smaller, and of course, we demanded for the goals to be replaced with goals of the right dimension.”