Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho questioned the attitude of some of his players as Spurs drew 3-3 at LASK to progress to the Europa League knockout stages.
Substitute Dele Alli put Spurs ahead from the spot before Mamoudou Karamoko curled past Joe Hart in added time to earn the Austrians a deserved draw.
Gareth Bale and Son Heung-min were also on target for a disjointed Tottenham.
“I think it’s a question of attitude, which I have experienced before even at Manchester United,” said Mourinho.
“I had a similar situation – we lost two matches away in the group phase.
“When we get into the knockouts and you get better opponents and more difficulties, the team faces matches in a different way.”
Asked what he had learned, Mourinho said: “Nothing new, really. The fact that the Europa League group phase doesn’t motivate some of the players, I knew it.”
Spurs were fortunate to head in at half-time level after Bale’s penalty cancelled out Peter Michorl’s opener in Linz.
Son slid a finish beyond Alexander Schlager to put Spurs in front but three goals in a dramatic final 10 minutes saw both teams take a point.
Johannes Eggestein levelled in the 86th minute and Alli thought he had won it from the spot two minutes later, before Karamoko’s 93rd-minute effort.
Spurs lost 1-0 to Royal Antwerp in Belgium in October and beat Ludogorets 3-1 away from home last month.
They are through with a game to spare but will need to beat Antwerp at home next week if they are to progress as group winners.
“Our team at home is a different team,” added Mourinho.
“When we go to Antwerp, to Ludogrets, to LASK, the stadium, the weather, the emptiness, the atmosphere – I have a feeling, which is not a feeling, it’s experience, that some of the players, they feel that they shouldn’t be here.
“But the contradiction on that, is that players like Son and Pierre [Hojbjerg], players starting every match, are the examples of the guys that it doesn’t matter where, doesn’t matter the competition, they are there. And they are there for the team all the time.”
Spurs’ fringe players fail to shine
With the north London derby against Arsenal on Sunday, Mourinho made eight changes to the side that drew 0-0 at Chelsea, but Alli and Harry Winks were still only on the bench.
Those given their chance did little to impress and a sluggish start on a freezing evening in Linz meant a string of saves from Hart were needed to keep the side sitting second in the Austrian Bundesliga at bay.
LASK’s pressure eventually told as the hosts broke following Matt Doherty’s slip and Michorl’s long-distance effort beat former England number one Hart down to his left.
Tottenham struggled to string a pass together before their first move of note saw Tanguy Ndombele’s shot hit Andres Andrade’s arm and Bale converted from the spot for his second Spurs goal since returning on loan from Real Madrid – and the 200th of his career overall.
Two of the three players who kept their places from the goalless draw at Stamford Bridge then combined to put Spurs ahead as Ndombele seized on an error in the LASK midfield to slide Son in on goal.
Bale and Son almost combined for a third, only for the Wales forward to place his pass behind the South Korean.
Alli has found himself out of favour under Mourinho this season, only featuring twice in the Premier League with his game time largely restricted to European nights.
The 24-year-old did get his chance with eight minutes remaining and proved he was able to keep his nerve from the spot during the dramatic late goal flurry.
Mourinho said he noticed a “difference in intensity, communication and enthusiasm” in Spurs’ warm-up for the match in Austria.
He will expect a hugely improved performance against Arsenal and said afterwards he believes talismanic frontman Harry Kane will be available.
“I could be now doing some bluff or pretend he is in big trouble. He’s not in big trouble. He is going to play,” said the Portuguese.
Bale hits 200 goals – the stats
- Spurs conceded three goals in a game for the first time since October’s 3-3 draw with West Ham – they had only conceded three times in their previous nine games before tonight.
- This was only the second time an Austrian side has scored 3+ goals in a major European match against English opponents, with FC Red Bull Salzburg losing 4-3 against Liverpool in last season’s Champions League.
- Son Heung-Min has scored 12 goals in all competitions this season – among Premier League players, only Harry Kane and Dominic Calvert-Lewin (13 each) have more.
- Only Leicester City (8) have scored more penalties in all competitions among Premier League teams than Spurs this season (7).
- Gareth Bale scored his first European goal for Spurs since March 2013 against Inter Milan.
- This was his first away European goal for the club (excluding qualifiers) since his hat-trick at the San Siro against Inter in the Champions League in October 2010.
- Of Bale’s 200 goals, 57 have been scored for Spurs, with the other 143 coming at Southampton (5), Real Madrid (105) and Wales (33).
Premier League leaders Tottenham host north London rivals Arsenal on Sunday at 16:30 GMT.
- 6WiesingerBooked at 86mins
- 30AndradeBooked at 45mins
- 10MichorlBooked at 32mins
- 17GruberSubstituted forReiterat 69′minutes
- 27GoigingerSubstituted forKaramokoat 69′minutesBooked at 79mins
- 6D Sánchez
- 18Lo CelsoSubstituted forDierat 71′minutes
- 9BaleSubstituted forAurierat 82′minutes
- 28NdombeleSubstituted forBergwijnat 65′minutes
- 27Lucas MouraBooked at 25minsSubstituted forSissokoat 65′minutes
- 7Son Heung-MinSubstituted forAlliat 82′minutesBooked at 88mins
- Pawel Raczkowski
Match ends, LASK 3, Tottenham Hotspur 3.
Second Half ends, LASK 3, Tottenham Hotspur 3.
Goal! LASK 3, Tottenham Hotspur 3. Mamoudou Karamoko (LASK) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Reinhold Ranftl.
Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur) is shown the yellow card.
Mamoudou Karamoko (LASK) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur).
Goal! LASK 2, Tottenham Hotspur 3. Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the centre of the goal.
Philipp Wiesinger (LASK) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Penalty conceded by Philipp Wiesinger (LASK) after a foul in the penalty area.
Penalty Tottenham Hotspur. Steven Bergwijn draws a foul in the penalty area.
Foul by James Holland (LASK).
Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Johannes Eggestein (LASK) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Goal! LASK 2, Tottenham Hotspur 2. Johannes Eggestein (LASK) left footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Andrés Andrade.
Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Serge Aurier replaces Gareth Bale.
Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Dele Alli replaces Son Heung-Min.
Attempt blocked. Dominik Reiter (LASK) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Mamoudou Karamoko (LASK) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Mamoudou Karamoko (LASK).
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.