Dier drama for Spurs in spot kick FA Cup defeat
Tottenham suffer fourth straight defeat as Norwich dump Mourinho's men out of the FA Cup on penalties
04 March, 2020 — By Dan Carrier at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
FA Cup Fifth Round
SPURS 1 (Vertonghen 13)
NORWICH (Drmic 78)
Norwich win 2-3 on penalties
SPURS crashed put of the FA Cup tonight (Wednesday) after being beaten by lowly Norwich in a dramatic penalty shoot out.
Spurs had taken a first half lead through Jan Vertonghen but failed to capitalise and make the game safe.
Norwich, who gave as good as they got, equalised with 12 minutes remaining and then went on to seal a place in the quarter-finals against Manchester United courtesy of goalkeeper Tim Krul’s spot kick heroics.
Krul, who has a history of performing outstandingly well against Spurs, stopped three Tottenham efforts from 12 yards to consign Jose Moutinho’s team to their fourth straight defeat in all competitions.
And the drama continued after the final whistle: Eric Dier clambered over hoardings and into the west stand to confront a spectator as his team mates trudged off the pitch.
At the post match press conference, it was suggested the Dier’s younger brother, who was sitting in the lower tier to the right of the Spurs dug out, had been subjected to abuse and Dier was incensed enough to try to remonstrate.
It was an ugly end to an ugly evening.
Speaking after the match, Jose Mourinho briefly touched on the controversy: he said that as professionals, Dier’s behaviour was not acceptable – but it was also understandable that Dier had felt the need to react.
He added that he believed the area where the trouble had flared up had seats bought by “…corporate guests with special invitations, who are not real Tottenham fans..”
Mourinho said: “The fans were with us until the last penalty kick. There were people who are in privileged places near the tunnel. This person insulted Eric, his family was there, his younger brother was not happy with the situation…he did something many would do.”
Mourinho once again referred to how thin he believes his squad is – a regular line in recent press conferences – and his team selection today laid out the task Spurs face to get back to where they were just a season ago.
He played third choice keeper Michel Vorm, who was let go in the summer and only re-signed as emergency cover after Hugo Lloris injured himself in October.
It was Vorm’s first game since 2018, a season where he played just four times – twice in Champions League group games and twice in the League Cup.
It showed: it was his error on 78 to hand Norwich a way back in.
“Michel made a mistake, we can’t run away from that,” said Mourinho, who left the usual deputy Paolo Gazzaniga on the bench.
Mourinho added a toothless performance as partly due to his front players running themselves into the ground after so many games in quick succession.
“Lucas Moura and Steve Bergwijn told me they were close to being injured,” he said.
“I had to take them out at 1-0.”
But he also said he felt his team were unlucky not to win it and praised their spirit.
“After they equalised, we were the only team in it, with all respect to Norwich, we were the team who went closest to winning.
“We were the team that tried to win this. I would expect Erik Lamela to play 20 minutes, not 60 and he did so well. Jedson had a great opportunity to score too. The boys did all they could, I think they deserved to win the game in 90 and extra time.”
Silver linings came in the shape of Jan Vertonghen’s performance at left back – at times it was like the Jan of old – and his superbly taken goal was warmly appreciated.
Oliver Skipp’s energy in the midfield was another plus and Mourinho recognised how hard the youngster, making his first start for the coach, had worked.
“Skipp was phenomenal,” he said.
“A very, very good, solid performance from him. He was so mature and confident. Harry Winks was in trouble [with so many games played] and you could see the difference between Skipp and the physical condition of those playing all the time.
“I was thinking what next – I am really worried in playing in two days, I want to give my boys a chance of going to Leipzig [next Tuesday] against a team that’s fresh. I have to think about the Saturday [away at Burnley] and then the Tuesday match and try to decide which one is the priority.
“I need to give some my players help under huge fatigue. That is what worries me.”
Bottom of the table Norwich, who are six points adrift of their nearest competitor in the league, had put in a terrific performance on Friday to defeat high flying Leicester 1-0 at Carrow Road.
Spurs, on the other hand, fell to a confidence sapping 3-2 reverse at their home on Sunday to Wolves – their third straight defeat.
In a side that saw Mourinho make three changes, the back four was tweaked, with Vertognhen, who was made Captain, playing left back.
Dier was set to continue his conversion to a centre back, making his second start there in four days.
And Vertonghen’s inclusion immediately paid dividends.
Spurs took the lead on 13 when the Belgium defender thumped a header home off a delightful free kick by Lo Celso.
Spurs had come alive moments before when the Argentine, who looked intent on imposing himself on the game, broke clear from a Moura pass and forced Krul to a point blank save.
Then Lo Celso swung an inch perfect free kick to the back post.
Vertonghen arrived to get above a thicket of Norwich defenders and bury a header home from close range.
It gave Spurs confidence, and with Lo Celso at the heart of things, they carved some good opportunities.
Krul denied both Lo Celso again and then Moura.
But without the second goal cushion, Norwich were dangerous: Dier had to be at his sharpest to get in the way of Lukas Rupp effort, and the same player tested Vorm from range with a shot that the third choice keeper initially spilled before recovering.
Norwich pressed Spurs well in the second half and the home side were playing a dangerous game of soaking up attacks without creating too much themselves.
It proved to be their downfall on 78, when a long range shot that dipped from Kenny McLean was only blocked by Vorm.
Josip Drmic was fastest to react and shinned the ball into the ground and then over the stand in keeper to bring things even.
Conceding the goal gave Spurs a jolt: they finally came to life and they laid siege for the final 10 minutes.
Tricky attack play by substitute Jedson Fernandes carved some good chances, while Dier was close twice in the dying minutes with headers.
And so, extra time: Spurs had the lions share but when it mattered had left their scoring boots at home.
Serge Aurier fired over, Jedson blasted wide when he should have buried it, and Lamela created a couple of opportunities but the final ball was either missing or the Norwich defence did just enough.
On to penalties: Dier stepped up and put Spurs ahead, then Vorm pulled off a good save to make it seem that perhaps this Tottenham’s night.
However, Lamela could only stroke the bar with the next kick and Norwich buried their second.
Substitute Troy Parrott and Jedson then both failed to beat Krul and Norwich capitalised.
After the final whistle, the drama continued with Dier climbing over seats in pursuit of a so-called fan. It was an ugly end to a game Spurs will want to forget about as quickly as possible.
SPURS: Vorm, Vertonghen, Sanchez, Winks (Ndombele, 80) Dier, Lo Celso, Alli (Parrott, 96), Bergwijn (Fernandes, 53), Aurier, Moura (Lamela, 69), Skipp.
Substitutes not used: Gazzaniga, Alderweireld, Tanganga.
NORWICH: Krul, Aarons, Godfrey, Hanley, Rupp (Idah, 71) Vrancic (McLean, 66) Lewis, Cantwell, Buendia, Trybull (Tettey, 87) Drmic.
Substitutes not used: McGovern, Stiepermann, Pukki, Duda.