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Europa League

Jose Mourinho accused Tottenham stars of going missing – now he has no hiding place – Mike Walters

Jose Mourinho accused his big hitters of going missing in the north London derby – but there is no hiding place for the Special One after Tottenham’s catastrophic night of Eurotrash.

In the Stadion Maksimir, damaged by an earthquake 12 months ago, hat-trick hero Mislav Orsic pulled off a Europa League miracle at Spurs’ expense.

And if Mourinho didn’t feel the earth move in Croatia, just wait for the aftershocks.

For disbelieving Tottenham fans, the only place to hide was behind the sofa.

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Going out of Europe is bad enough, but the manner of Spurs’ dismal exit will haunt Mourinho like the ghost train at a funfair.

When they were top of the Premier League in November, even Mourinho’s harshest critics were prepared to overlook Tottenham’s lack of flair and fantasy.

But when officers bring shame upon the regiment, the honourable course is to reach for the revolver in the drawer.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho
Mourinho’s men were embarrassed in the Stadion Maksimir

Tottenham are in the League Cup final and only six points off the top four with a game in hand, but let’s spell it out for Jose: This was tepid, complacent and dismal.

Dinamo’s underdogs we can deal with in short measure: They were dazzling and deserved their miracle.

But when matron does her rounds with the medicine chest, Tottenham’s medicine will be hard to swallow.

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They were pedestrian, plodding and Spurs royalty Glenn Hoddle – visibly stunned on the BT Sport pundits’ couch – said: “It was a disastrous performance and a disastrous result for the club.”

Dinamo Zagreb's Mislav Orsic celebrates scoring their third goal
Dinamo Zagreb celebrate

Unless Tottenham can upset Manchester City at Wembley next month, the meter will tick over to 13 years without a trophy.

Conventional methods of retrieving a two-goal deficit do not normally include the coach resigning after being sentenced to four years in prison for fraud.

But Dinamo boss Zoran Mamic’s fate, leaving his assistant Damir Krznar to take charge, left the Croatians facing improbably steep odds.

Spurs had not blown a two-goal lead from the first leg in Europe since their battle of Britain with Manchester United in the Cup Winners Cup 58 years ago, when Matt Busby outsmarted Bill Nicholson, and they should never have been in danger of coming unstuck here.

Mourinho may have brought a hermit’s sense of adventure to the north London derby, but when safety-first is his prerogative, nobody is supposed to spoil a party better.

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Mourinho's men had a two-goal lead - and blew it
Mourinho’s men had a two-goal lead – and blew it

If joylessness and suppressed excitement on Thursday nights in the Balkans are on the menu, the Special One’s supposed to be your mood hoover.

And if parking the bus to order is required, Jose’s your valet.

But Tottenham’s defending was untidier than a teenager’s bedroom and their ball retention was wretched from back to front.

Lovro Majer dragged a yawning chance wide from 15 yards with Hugo Lloris stranded on Amen Corner – saying his prayers – but for 45 minutes, that was the sum of all fears in Lilywhite heartlands.

At the other end, Kane – who has previous for spurning opportunities in the six-yard box against Croatians, notably in a World Cup semi-final – was thwarted by the sprawling Dominik Livakovic after being played in by Lucas Moura.

But just when Spurs thought the storm had passed with Dinamo’s measured onslaught, their advantage was cut in half 17 minutes into the second period.

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Serge Aurier didn’t get close enough to Orsic 25 yards out, and when the Zagreb winger shifted the ball on to his right foot, he launched a beauty into the top corner.

Mislav Orsic celebrates for Dinamo
Mislav Orsic celebrates

Tottenham were condemned to extra time when Orsic swept home Zagreb sub Iyayi Atiemwen’s cut-back with eight minutes left.

And when Orsic drove at Spurs’ tiring defence in extra time to complete his hat-trick with another stunning finish, their meltdown was complete.

Kane was close to salvaging a decisive away goal in the dying moments, but Spurs did not deserve an escape clause.

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