Jose Mourinho apologised to Eric Dier after his 29th-minute substitution in Tottenham’s 4-2 Champions League win over Olympiakos.

With a stunned Spurs 2-0 down in Mourinho’s first home game in charge, the new boss made the call to hook Dier for the more creative midfielder Christian Eriksen, who would go on to play his part in their comeback victory.

Dele Alli’s goal on the stroke of half-time would spark the turnaround, before three goals in 23 second-half minutes – two from Harry Kane and one from Serge Aurier – saw them comfortably into the last 16.

“The most difficult moment of the game was not when they scored the first two goals, it was when I made the change in the first half,” Mourinho said.

“It hurt the player but also myself. It’s not easy for him or me. It’s important that the player understands, and I was lucky my choice was a very intelligent boy who has very good understanding of what the team is, because I did it for the team. It was not about his performance, but what the team needs.

“We are losing 2-0, in a very difficult situation in that moment, and I felt that one positional midfield player was enough. I thought I needed a second creative player who could play with Alli in what I call an open triangle, and not with a closed triangle with two deeper midfielders. I apologise to Eric, but he knows I did it for the team and not to hurt him. I think the fans understood too.”