Mourinho Says Kane ‘Irreplaceable’ Ahead Of Tottenham, Liverpool Clash

Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho (L) congratulates English striker Harry Kane after the UEFA Champions League Group B football match against Olympiakos at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London on November 26, 2019. Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

 

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho said he would get “depressed” if he wallowed in the news that Harry Kane is to be missing for at least three months.

The Spurs striker has undergone surgery on a torn hamstring that will see him miss the majority of the remainder of the season at club level and in a race to be match fit to lead England at Euro 2020.

“If I speak too much about Harry, I get a bit depressed and then you are going to say he is miserable and in a bad mood,” said Mourinho, ahead of Premier League leaders Liverpool’s visit to north London on Saturday.

“Harry is irreplaceable. You know that we cannot play like we normally play when Harry Kane is in the team. We cannot do it the same way as we do with Harry.”

Spurs have been linked with a move for AC Milan’s Polish striker Krzysztof Piatek as cover for Kane’s absence with Tottenham needing to chase down a six-point gap to Chelsea to qualify for the Champions League next season.

However, Mourinho said he is willing to wait until the summer to add to his squad.

“If the boss arrives with the solution for these difficult months then so be it,” added the Portuguese.

“But if we don’t find the right opportunity or the right solution we are going to wait until summer to make decision for the evolution of the team.”

Kane is just one of a host of absences Mourinho must contend with for the visit of the European champions, who are looking for a record 20th win from their opening 21 games to the league season.

Moussa Sissoko is also absent until April, while Hugo Lloris, Ben Davies, Danny Rose and Tanguy Ndombele remain out.

Club captain Lloris has at least returned to training after three months out with a dislocated elbow suffered in a disappointing 3-0 defeat at Brighton in October.

The French number one has yet to feature under Mourinho, but he is looking forward to being able to call on Lloris’s experience after a difficult spell for Paulo Gazzaniga in goal.

“Lloris has not played a game for me. Ben has played one and did very, very well. It’s good news. By the end of the month we will have two new players,” Mourinho added.

“We have a goalkeeper that is doing his best and we have confidence in him but for Hugo to be back after such an important injury is good for him.”

No Quick Fixes For Tottenham In Transfer Window, Says Mourinho

 

Jose Mourinho says Tottenham will be “intelligent” in the January transfer window and there will be no quick fixes at the Premier League club.

Mourinho has repeatedly said that he will not be overhauling his squad this month and that any business could be dependent on players leaving.

One player who appears to be on his way out of the club is midfielder Christian Eriksen, whose contact expires in June, but it is not certain he will depart this month.

Mourinho, whose side have stumbled in recent weeks, walked into the club with his eyes wide open and said he was on the same page as chairman Daniel Levy.

“That was very clear for me and is very important for me to understand that before I came,” said the Portuguese boss, who took over from the sacked Mauricio Pochettino in November.

“This is our first transfer window, not the last,” he added. “We are going to have one in the summer, we are going to have one in 2021 January, we are going to have another one in the summer of 2021.

“We are going to have to try to be intelligent and we have to try to make the right decisions, not just for now, but for the development of a cycle.”

Spurs are struggling for numbers ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup trip to Middlesbrough.

Harry Kane, Tanguy Ndombele, Ben Davies, Danny Rose and Hugo Lloris are all injured and many players have played three games over the Christmas period.

Mourinho said he was likely to call on youth at the Riverside but emphasised that such a move did not mean the FA Cup was not important for the eight-time winners.

“Everybody’s going to be involved,” he said. “If you go to our squad and no Rose, no Davies, no Lloris, no Kane. I don’t know if Eric Dier will be ready but he is still to come back.

“When you say no, no, no, no, no you have to say (Oliver) Skipp, (Japhet) Tanganga, (Troy) Parrott, the young boys in.”

AFP

Spurs Boss Mourinho Expecting ‘Bad News’ On Kane Injury

Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho takes a team training session at Tottenham Hotspur’s Enfield Training Centre, in north London on November 25, 2019, ahead of their UEFA Champions League Group B football match against Olympiakos.
Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

Jose Mourinho said on Friday he was expecting “bad news” on Harry Kane’s hamstring injury after the England captain limped out of the 1-0 defeat at Southampton on New Year’s Day.

The Tottenham boss said the full extent of the problem would soon become apparent.

Kane pulled up as he slotted home Christian Eriksen’s free-kick 15 minutes from time on Wednesday but was flagged offside.

“I don’t know yet, I think maybe later today we have news,” Mourinho said. “But if you ask me just my feeling, good news or bad news, I am more bad news than good news, what the player felt, Harry Kane leaving a match the way he did.

“He didn’t think twice, didn’t take him two seconds to realise the severity of the situation.”

Spurs, who are sixth in the Premier League, face Championship side Middlesbrough in the FA Cup third round on Sunday.

Tottenham’s Defensive Mistakes Worry Mourinho

Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho reacts during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Brighton and Hove Albion at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on December 26, 2019. Tolga AKMEN / AFP

 

 

Jose Mourinho bemoaned Tottenham’s inability to keep clean sheets after twice having to come from behind to salvage a 2-2 draw at bottom-of-the-table Norwich.

Slack Spurs defending allowed Mario Vrancic to open the scoring and only a VAR review to harshly rule out Teemu Pukki’s goal prevented Mourinho’s men trailing 2-0 at half-time.

Even once the visitors had regained a foothold in the game via Christian Eriksen’s free-kick, they shot themselves in the foot at the back once more as Serge Aurier’s calamitous own goal restored Norwich’s lead.

Harry Kane’s penalty eight minutes from time ensured Spurs did not slump to a third defeat in seven games, but they failed to take the chance to leapfrog Chelsea into the top four.

The area of the field with work to do for Mourinho remains obvious and his side have kept just one clean sheet in 10 games since he took over.

Tottenham’s season is being chronicled as an Amazon documentary and Mourinho believes the focus of that show should be on his side’s defending.

“I think if Amazon wants to do episodes, they will have for sure one episode about our defensive mistakes and the goals that we concede,” he told Sky Sports.

“We conceded two very bad goals, the first and the one that was offside but two very bad goals.

“Second half I think we were very, very good with the ball; we create, dominate with play but again the goal (conceded) is a very bad one.

“To score two goals away from home, you have to win. You cannot concede as many goals as we do, but our defensive mistakes are match after match.”

Tottenham could have been out of sight inside the first 15 minutes as Dele Alli fired wastefully over before Kane was denied by a fine save from Tim Krul when one-on-one.

At the other end, Vrancic could not believe his luck as Toby Alderweireld stood off and allowed him to close in on goal before firing low past Paulo Gazzaniga to open the scoring 18 minutes in.

Only VAR prevented Tottenham falling further behind before the break as Jan Vertonghen allowed Pukki to control Vrancic’s ball over the top and the Finn finished clinically.

However, Pukki’s joy was short-lived as he was harshly adjudged to be offside after a VAR review.

“The disallowed goal was tough to take,” said Norwich manager Daniel Farke. “It’s not in the sense of the game.”

Mourinho showed his displeasure with Spurs’ first 45 minutes by making two half-time substitutions and changing his system as Lucas Moura and Davinson Sanchez replaced Juan Foyth and Vertonghen.

The Portuguese got the upturn in performance he desired as the visitors were level 10 minutes into the second half after Jamal Lewis handled on the edge of his own area to prevent Kane a clear sight of goal.

Eriksen has been a peripheral figure both under Mourinho and Mauricio Pochettino earlier in the season due to his contractual standoff with the club that will most likely see the Dane leave on a free transfer in the summer.

But he produced a timely reminder of his quality by curling the resulting free-kick into the top corner.

Moments later, the ball was in the Norwich net again but this time the offside flag went in the hosts’ favour as Alli’s classy finish was ruled out.

Just as Tottenham seemed to have taken control, the tide turned again in the other direction as Norwich retook the lead in comical fashion.

Aurier turned the ball into his own net after the ball ricocheted into his path from Alderweireld’s tackle on Pukki.

Spurs laid seige towards the Norwich goal in the final quarter and not for the first time this season Farke’s men were unable to see the game out.

Kane was wiped out by Zimmermann as he cut inside and the England captain picked himself up to dispatch the resulting penalty.

AFP

‘I Am Not Mourinho’s Clone,’Says Lampard

 

Chelsea’s English head coach Frank Lampard , 2019. OZAN KOSE / AFP

 

Frank Lampard insists he doesn’t want to emulate Jose Mourinho’s unique style as the Chelsea manager plots to out-wit his old boss in Sunday’s crucial clash at Tottenham.

Lampard’s first Premier League meeting with Mourinho is the headline act in a fascinating derby that will determine which of the London rivals spends Christmas Day in the top four.

Spurs manager Mourinho played a key role in Lampard’s emergence as one of Chelsea’s all-time greats during their time together at Stamford Bridge.

Yet while Mourinho’s managerial credentials are well established after winning a host of trophies during his glittering 19-year career, Lampard is still carving out a name for himself in the coaching world.

The former England midfielder is in just his second season as a manager after leaving Championship side Derby to take charge at Chelsea in July.

Lampard acknowledges Mourinho was a big influence on him as a player but, now he is in the dug-out, he will follow his own path rather than copy the Portuguese coach.

Asked to name the most important lesson he took from working with Mourinho, Lampard said: “There’s not one thing, no; he’s obviously a good manager with loads of good attributes.

“But there’s not one specific thing I learned working under him, and I wouldn’t strive to be a clone or anything.

“I’m happy to go up against Jose; for me to play under him, he was a big influence in my career.”

Lampard and Mourinho remain on good terms from their Chelsea days — the Tottenham manager promising a “big hug” when they meet before kick-off and talking of his “love” for the 41-year-old.

But that didn’t stop the student admitting beating his old teacher in such an important game would be a memorable moment.

READ ALSO:I Am 100% Tottenham,’Says Mourinho Ahead Of Chelsea Clash

– ‘Every point is crucial’ –

Chelsea were 12 points ahead of Tottenham when Mourinho replaced the sacked Mauricio Pochettino in November.

That gap is now down to just three after Mourinho masterminded an immediate Tottenham revival with four wins from his five league games.

In contrast, Chelsea are experiencing the first major blip of Lampard’s reign after four defeats in their last five league matches.

“To go up against him for Derby against Manchester United last year was a big deal for me. And that still remains,” said Lampard in reference to last season’s win over Mourinho when they met in the League Cup third round.

“I’ll always have respect for him. The bigger thing is Chelsea-Tottenham, and what that rivalry means to our players and us.

Lampard won two league titles with Mourinho at Chelsea, but they are managerial peers now and the former England star recognises his old boss has a squad capable of denting his ambitions by knocking the Blues out of the top four.

“It should be relatively even when you look at the last four years, where Chelsea and Tottenham have been fighting to get into the top four. It’s always a competitive fixture,” Lampard said.

Mourinho’s impact at Tottenham has surprised some who claimed he was finished as a top manager after his last two jobs with Chelsea and United ended in acrimonious circumstances.

But the 56-year-old never doubted his ability to Tottenham back on track and now he wants to underline their resurgence with a statement win against Chelsea.

“When we arrived we were 12 points distance, we were closer to the bottom than the top,” Mourinho said.

“But of course we knew where we belong and we knew it was a question of time to leave this awful position and to have an approach.

“We know we can end this year in the top four. But this is not just between us and Chelsea. Manchester United are involved, Wolves are involved. Every point is crucial.”

AFP

‘I Am 100% Tottenham,’Says Mourinho Ahead Of Chelsea Clash

 

Jose Mourinho 
Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

Jose Mourinho insists his loyalties are completely with Tottenham as the former Chelsea boss prepares for an emotional clash with his old club.

Mourinho once claimed he could never manage Tottenham due to his two successful spells with their London rivals Chelsea.

But the Portuguese coach accepted Tottenham’s offer to replace Mauricio Pochettino in November and on Sunday he will come face to face with Chelsea for the first time since taking charge in north London.

While Mourinho earned his place in Chelsea folklore for the six trophies he won at Stamford Bridge, which include three Premier League titles, he made it clear he no longer concerns himself with the Blues because his allegiance is with Tottenham.

“For me, it’s a game. I am 100 per cent Tottenham, 100 per cent my club always, all my career,” Mourinho told reporters on Friday.

“No space at all for my previous clubs. I gave everything to all of them. Everything. I kept nothing.

“I gave everything but they are my previous clubs. I give everything to my club – my club is Tottenham.

“It’s so easy for me to play that game. Difficult because of Chelsea’s quality but not difficult from an emotional point of view.”

Mourinho will remember that some Chelsea fans gave him a hard time when he returned to the Bridge as Manchester United boss, chanting “you’re not special anymore” in reference to his self-styled ‘special one’ nickname.

He is likely to endure more taunts from Chelsea supporters at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this weekend, adding another layer of intrigue to an already explosive fixture.

Tottenham are in good form in the early days of Mourinho’s reign and another win over Chelsea, who have struggled in recent weeks, would take them above the Blues in the top four despite trailing their rivals by 12 points when Pochettino was dismissed.

Mourinho will come up against a familiar face in the opposition dugout in the shape of Frank Lampard, one of the key players his two reigns at Chelsea.

The former Real Madrid boss revealed there will be a big hug waiting for Lampard, but he will not be inviting him for a post-match drink.

“I don’t think so because our stadium is built in the way that our office is completely on the inside our private headquarters,” Mourinho said.

“Until now I didn’t invite any managers to go there and I don’t think I’ll do that with Frank.

“But like I used to say, a big hug before the game and another after the game, that’s for sure independent of results and who is happy.

“I think our feelings will be forever. I’ll always be grateful to him for what he gave me as a player.

“Nothing is going to change that. I love the guy, I will always love the guy. I hope he loses on Sunday.”

AFP

Vertonghen Hails Mourinho’s ‘Fighting Mentality’ After Tottenham Late Show

Tottenham Hotspur’s Belgian defender Jan Vertonghen celebrates on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur at the Molineux stadium in Wolverhampton, central England on December 15, 2019. Tottenham won the game 2-1. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Jan Vertonghen believes Tottenham’s last-gasp victory at Wolves proves they have bought into Jose Mourinho’s “fighting mentality” as they closed to within three points of fourth-placed Chelsea.

Spurs’ chances of a fourth successive finish in the Champions League qualification places looked a lost cause when the Portuguese took charge last month with the club 12 points behind Chelsea.

But Spurs host Frank Lampard’s side on Sunday with the chance to leapfrog their London rivals into the top four.

Defender Vertonghen scored an injury-time header to seal a 2-1 win on Sunday and secure a fourth win in five Premier League matches since Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino.

The Belgium international said Tottenham showed their ability to adapt in search of victory after Adama Traore had cancelled out Lucas Moura’s opening goal for Spurs.

“Yes, the gaffer has a lot to do with it, he’s brought that fighting mentality back and we had a lot of meetings this week about this game,” said Vertonghen.

“Tactically, Wolves are a very good side, they will always have good spells in the game. It was a tough one, at the end you think ‘should we be happy with a draw or not?’ But this feeling is better.

“My feeling would not be any different if someone else had scored that goal. If you saw the celebrations at the end of the game, we dug in deep and coming away with the win meant a lot.

“We had lots of games last season when we won right at the end, it is the best feeling, we can’t give up, Wolves wanted a late goal too — but we believed just that little bit more.”

AFP

Mourinho Backs Tottenham For Top-Four Premier League Finish

Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho takes a team training session at Tottenham Hotspur’s Enfield Training Centre, in north London on November 25, 2019, ahead of their UEFA Champions League Group B football match against Olympiakos. AFP

 

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho believes his side will finish in the top four of the Premier League this season.

Spurs’ chances of a fourth successive finish in the Champions League qualification places looked a lost cause when the Portuguese took charge last month with the club 12 points behind Chelsea.

That gap has been cut to six following three wins from four under Mourinho, with a game against Frank Lampard’s side to come next week.

They will hope to make further inroads against Wolves on Sunday in a bid to get back to where Mourinho says they belong.

“We know where we belong, Mourinho said at his pre-match press conference on Friday. “We don’t belong to the second part of the table where we were, we don’t even belong to position seven or eight where we are in this moment.

“We know where we belong and we believe at the end of the season we are going to be there.”

Mourinho said he needed time but the squad had the “talent and desire” to improve.

The 56-year-old has had a hectic start to life at Spurs, with six games in 21 days, and he has been unable to put the hours in with this squad to fully implement his ideas.

The fixture schedule eases slightly in January and the Portuguese intends to be on the training ground rather than trying to sign new players.

“I want to work,” he said. “I’m going to have time to work, which until now I don’t have.

“I complain every day with my staff, the frustration of I want to do a certain kind of training. I just can’t do it. It’s frustrating. I love pre-season to work. I don’t have.”

Mourinho got a first real look at some of his fringe players in the Champions League defeat by Bayern Munich on Wednesday as Ryan Sessegnon, Kyle Walker-Peters, Giovani Lo Celso and Juan Foyth all started for the first time under him.

Sessegnon scored and did well while Mourinho singled Foyth out for praise but neither of those players will be in the starting line-up at Molineux.

AFP

Kane Hopes To Build ‘Strong Relationship’ With Mourinho At Tottenham

Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho (L) congratulates English striker Harry Kane after the UEFA Champions League Group B football match against Olympiakos at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London on November 26, 2019. Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

 

Harry Kane wants to build a “strong relationship” with new manager Jose Mourinho that will help take Tottenham to the next level.

Kane, whose two goals in the 4-2 win over Olympiakos helped book a Champions League knockout place, was a staunch supporter of former boss Mauricio Pochettino, but he knows Mourinho could be the man to help him win silverware with Spurs.

The Portuguese coach has a record of strong relationships with strikers, with Didier Droba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Diego Costa all excelling under him and Kane wants to add his name to that list.

“It’s early days, we have a good relationship so far. We talk, we try and help the team,” said Kane, who became the fastest player to 20 Champions League goals.

“Obviously me being one of the leaders in the team he looks to me for feelings and advice on the team.

“When you are winning games it definitely helps your relationship. Hopefully we can build a strong relationship.”

Spurs are through to the last 16 of the Champions League for the third successive year and can travel to Bayern Munich for the final Group B game with their position in second guaranteed.

They enjoyed a memorable run in last season’s knockout stages, culminating in a run to the final, and Kane wants his side to build on that.

“We know what we did last year in the knockout stages and we have to take that positive energy and try and do similar and go even further,” he said.

“We have got a quality squad, no doubt about that. We have got one of the best squads in Europe.”

AFP

Tottenham Survive Scare To Make Last 16 On Mourinho’s Home Bow

Tottenham Hotspur’s Ivorian defender Serge Aurier (L) celebrates scoring his team’s third goal during the UEFA Champions League Group B football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Olympiakos at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London, on November 26, 2019. Tottenham won the match 4-2.
Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

Jose Mourinho survived a huge scare on his home debut as Tottenham Hotspur manager as his side came from 2-0 down to beat Olympiakos 4-2 and reach the last 16 of the Champions League.

The Greek champions blew a huge chance to give themselves a shot at reaching the knockout stages after scoring twice in the first 20 minutes through Youssef El Arabi and Ruben Semedo.

Dele Alli pounced on a horrible defensive mistake to breathe new life into Spurs before the break and a second-half double from Harry Kane either side of Serge Aurier’s fine strike completed the comeback.

Last season’s Champions League finalists can now look forward to the knockout stages for a third straight season, but will go through in second behind Bayern Munich in Group B after the German giants secured top spot with a 6-0 thrashing of Red Star Belgrade.

Spurs have now scored seven goals in winning Mourinho’s first two games in charge to make a good first impression on many supporters unconvinced by the appointment of a former Chelsea manager renowned for a more conservative style of football.

However, the first 20 minutes showed the work Mourinho has ahead to make Tottenham as tight at the back as his most successful sides over the past two decades.

The warning signs were there for the hosts as early as six minutes in when El Arabi was afforded room on the edge of the box to line up his shot and found the bottom corner despite Paulo Gazzaniga getting a hand to it.

Only a brilliant recovery challenge from Davinson Sanchez denied Daniel Podence from doubling the away side’s lead as Spurs were then opened up by one simple pass through midfield.

Moments later it was 2-0 as more sloppy Spurs defending from a corner left Semedo in space to prod home Guilherme’s near-post flick on.

Mourinho had seen enough inside the first half-hour to make a change as Eric Dier was sacrificed to make way for Christian Eriksen.

However, it was a huge error from Olympiakos rather than a moment of inspiration that gifted the hosts a route back into the game.

Aurier’s low cross from the right should have been easily cleared by Yassine Meriah, but he let the ball slip under his foot and Alli was on hand to tap in at the back post in first-half stoppage time.

That goal made Mourinho’s half-time team talk a far easier one and Spurs built on their momentum by equalising five minutes after the restart.

Quick thinking from a Spurs ball boy and Aurier caught Olympiakos napping as the Ivorian’s throw-in freed Lucas Moura down the right and his cross was swept home by Kane.

Aurier was the unlikely hero once more 17 minutes from time as he sweetly connected with Alli’s cross at the back post to put Spurs in front.

Uncertainty over Eriksen’s future has been one of the scourges of Spurs’ season.

Such a key figure for much of Mauricio Pochettino’s five-and-a-half years in charge, the Dane has more often than not been left on the bench both by the Argentine prior to his dismissal last week and in Mourinho’s first two games in charge.

But he offered a glimpse of the quality he can offer with a wicked dipping free-kick from which Kane stooped to head home his 23rd goal of the season in as many games for club and country.

Man City Keep Liverpool In Sights As Mourinho Magic Lifts Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho takes a team training session at Tottenham Hotspur’s Enfield Training Centre, in north London on November 25, 2019, ahead of their UEFA Champions League Group B football match against Olympiakos. Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

 

Manchester City kept Premier League leaders Liverpool in their sights on Saturday after battling back to beat Chelsea as Jose Mourinho ended Tottenham’s away-day woes in his first game in charge.

Leicester saw off Brighton 2-0 to stay in second place, eight points behind Jurgen Klopp’s men, while struggling Arsenal needed a stoppage-time goal to draw 2-2 with lowly Southampton.

Liverpool’s hard-fought 2-1 win at Crystal Palace meant defending champions City went into their evening match against high-flying Chelsea 12 points behind the pacesetters.

N’Golo Kante gave the visitors a deserved lead midway through the first half at the Etihad but City hit back with a deflected shot from Kevin De Bruyne and a trademark Riyad Mahrez strike to win 2-1.

Pep Guardiola’s men were never entirely comfortable with a one-goal lead but their margin of victory could have been greater as Raheem Sterling found the bottom corner deep into stoppage time, only for VAR to rule the goal out for offside.

City’s possession figure of 46.74 percent is the lowest recorded by a side managed by Pep Guardiola in any of his 381 top-flight matches in charge.

“It was a top game against a top side,” Guardiola told Sky Sports. “Chelsea have been big quality for the past 20 years. When they went ahead in the best moments they had we scored through Kevin De Bruyne. Then we missed a lot of chances.”

Guardiola sounded the alarm over all-time top-scorer Sergio Aguero, who limped off in the second half, saying he feared his injury could be “bad”.

Liverpool Late Show

Earlier, Liverpool once again demonstrated their knack for scoring last-gasp winners, with Roberto Firmino finishing from close range following a goalmouth scramble.

Liverpool had looked set to drop points for just the second time this season after Wilfried Zaha cancelled out Sadio Mane’s opener in the 82nd minute.

The European champions, chasing their first league title for 30 years, have now won 12 of their 13 Premier League matches this season and are unbeaten in 30 league games.

“We are not out there to show we invented football. We have a job to do to get results. We did that again,” said Klopp.

“I have no problem that we were not brilliant today. You just have to make sure you are ready to fight for the result and we were that from the first minute.”

Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester kept up their dogged pursuit of the leaders, with second-half goals from Ayoze Perez and Jamie Vardy giving them a fifth successive league win.

Mourinho Effect

In the early kick-off at the London Stadium, Son Heung-min, Lucas Moura and Harry Kane were on the scoresheet for Tottenham as Mourinho won his first game in charge 3-2, days after replacing the sacked Mauricio Pochettino.

Spurs’ first away league victory since January will help to endear Mourinho to sceptical supporters, who were sad to see Pochettino dismissed less than six months after leading the club to a first-ever Champions League final.

“It was very, very important. Eleven months without music in the away dressing room, without a smile, without happiness and they did it,” said the former Chelsea and Manchester United boss.

“That’s where I belong (on the touchline), that is my natural habitat. I just love it. When things go in your direction, winning is the best feeling.”

Arsenal manager Unai Emery is under increasing pressure after another limp display that leaves them winless in five Premier League matches.

Southampton took an early lead at the Emirates through Danny Ings only for Alexandre Lacazette to level.

James Ward-Prowse restored Southampton’s lead in the second half but Lacazette saved Emery’s blushes with a goal deep into stoppage time.

In-form Wolves won 2-1 at 10-man Bournemouth courtesy of a Joao Moutinho free-kick and Raul Jimenez’s goal to climb to fifth in the table.

Norwich lifted themselves off the bottom with a 2-0 victory away to Everton while Burnley won 3-0 at Watford, who are now bottom.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United face Sheffield United on Sunday with a chance to move into fifth place.

Tottenham Banking On Mourinho Recovering Golden Touch In Europe

Jose Mourinho. PHOTO: Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Tottenham turned to Jose Mourinho to try and maintain their status as a Champions League club, but a terrible start to the Premier League season leaves the Portuguese with a mountain to climb either domestically or in Europe.

Mourinho’s appointment was not a universally popular one with the Spurs’ support given his past as a two-time Chelsea manager.

He managed to make the right first impression by securing Tottenham’s first away win in the Premier League since January with a 3-2 victory at West Ham on Saturday that was far more comprehensive that the scoreline suggested.

A vital three points cut the gap between Mourinho’s men and the top four to nine points, but strong starts from Liverpool, Leicester, Manchester City and Chelsea mean one of them will have to falter significantly in the coming months to open the door to Spurs.

The fact that Mourinho’s deal signed last week reportedly contains a £2 million bonus for making the top four is an illustration of how tough a task it will be.

Could winning the Champions League for the first time in the club’s history actually be Spurs’ best way to secure the riches and prestige of Europe’s premier club competition for a fifth consecutive season?

Under Mauricio Pochettino, who was sacked after five-and-a-half years in charge last week, Tottenham improved each year in Europe and last season fell just one hurdle short after a dramatic run to Champions League final.

Despite their dreadful domestic form and a 7-2 thrashing at home to Bayern Munich last month, Pochettino left with his side well-placed to reach the last 16 once more.

Victory over Olympiakos in Mourinho’s home debut on Tuesday will secure their passage into the knockout stages.

“I think we can go and win that match at home and qualify in the Champions League,” said Mourinho, who has a proud record of always qualifying from the Champions League group stages in spells as Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Manchester United.

A rejuvenated Spurs could certainly cause problems for some of Europe’s more fancied sides come the new year as they showed in shocking City and Ajax on their way to last season’s final.

Negative approach

Mourinho labelled himself “humble” on his return to management after 11 months out of the game last week, but was quick to point out in his first media briefing that, unlike Tottenham, he had never lost a Champions League final.

He has lifted the trophy twice, with Porto and Inter, but the second of those successes came 10 seasons ago and there are questions over whether he is still the man to deliver Champions League glory.

The 56-year-old has failed to win a single knockout tie in the Champions League over the past five years.

The nadir of that run came when the negative approach that has often characterised Mourinho’s sides came undone for Manchester United against Sevilla in the last 16 of the 2017/18 season.

That style contrasts sharply with the thrilling comebacks away from home that carried Spurs to the final in June as they scored three times in Manchester and Amsterdam.

“Before teams just defended and used the counter-attack, now most of the teams have the courage to play,” said City manager Pep Guardiola, after seeing a fearless Chelsea under Frank Lampard go to the Etihad and have secure more possession than the English champions on Saturday.

“Young managers, they have nothing to lose, go forward and that’s why the football is nice.”

Attack has tended to beat defence in the latter stages in recent years with attack-minded Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Liverpool the only sides to lift the Champions League in the past seven seasons.

Spurs could not have chosen a more different approach. Now they have to see if Mourinho is still capable of Champions League miracles.

AFP