Jose Mourinho moved Tottenham Hotspur to within one game of their first trophy in 13 years as they earned a Carabao Cup semi-final 2-0 win over Brentford.
Spurs have not claimed silverware since they beat Chelsea in the 2008 League Cup final and they were made to work hard before seeing off the Championship promotion chasers in this one-leg semi-final at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Brentford had beaten four Premier League sides in the run to their first major semi-final but they were behind after only 12 minutes when Moussa Sissoko headed Sergio Reguilon’s cross beyond Bees keeper David Raya. Thomas Frank’s side thought they had equalised after the hour when top scorer Ivan Toney headed in but the goal was ruled out for the most marginal of offsides when the striker was actually down on his haunches earlier in the move. Spurs increased Brentford’s sense of injustice when Son Heung-min raced clear to add a second after 70 minutes before the visitors were reduced to 10 men following Josh Dasilva’s foul on Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. Mourinho’s side will now meet either Manchester United or Manchester City the final at Wembley in April. Mourinho makes it his business to win trophies – and this competition has always been a building block in his strategy for success. He regards the EFL Cup as vital in not just making his mark at a new club but also in giving his players the confidence that comes with securing silverware. Mourinho’s first trophy, in his first season at Chelsea, was the 2005 League Cup. It was the first trophy of his second spell there too, as he won it in 2015. He then marked his first season at Manchester United by winning it again in 2017. He believes that if this competition can end Spurs’ long trophy drought, it can be the platform for bigger things. He wants to rid the club of their “nearly” tag, of a reputation for falling just short of success, as they did most recently in the 2019 Champions League final against Liverpool in Madrid. Mourinho always takes the competition very seriously and rarely fields anything other than full-strength sides. If Spurs beat either Manchester United or Manchester City in the final on 25 April, that policy will be fully justified.