Spurs sparkle on Mourinho's return
Lilywhites bag first away win since January in the Portuguese's first match in charge
|WEST HAM UNITED||TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR|
|(Michail Antonio 73, Angelo Ogbonna 90+6)||(Son Heung Min 36, Lucas Moura 43, Harry Kane 49)|
Jose Mourinho delivered Tottenham Hotspur’s first away win in the English Premier League since January in his first game in charge with a 3-2 victory at West Ham United to catapult Spurs up to sixth on Saturday (Nov 23).
Son Heung Min, Lucas Moura and Harry Kane got the goals as the Portuguese made an instant impact after replacing the sacked Mauricio Pochettino on Wednesday.
The much-needed three points will help to endear Mourinho to a skeptical Spurs support who were sad to see Pochettino’s 5½-year spell in charge of the club end just six months after leading them to a first ever Champions League final.
There was no love lost between Mourinho’s Chelsea sides and Tottenham in the past, but his arrival had the desired impact for Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, even if a West Ham team devoid of confidence made for perfect opponents.
Mourinho followed Pochettino’s example in leaving out Christan Eriksen, with the Dane one of a number of Spurs players into the final months of his contract and showing no signs of agreeing a new deal.
“We have to make the right decision for the club,” Mourinho said on Eriksen’s future before kick-off, but his decision to field a front four of Dele Alli with Son, Moura and Kane worked.
Kane had smashed the ball past beleaguered West Ham goalkeeper Roberto after just three minutes from Alli’s pass but was denied by the offside flag.
An injury to first-choice stopper Lukasz Fabianski has coincided with a run of eight games without a win for West Ham with a string of errors from Roberto spreading a lack of confidence throughout the team.
The Spaniard could have done better when Tottenham did open the scoring nine minutes before half-time when another through-ball from Alli found Son, whose shot had too much power for the hapless goalkeeper.
However, Roberto was blameless for Spurs’ second seven minutes later when a lovely flick from Alli sent Son racing down the left and his inch-perfect cross was met by Moura at the back post.
The same two players should have combined for the visitors’ third just two minutes into the second half when Son sent Moura clean through on goal, but the Brazilian dragged his shot wide to the despair of Mourinho, who sank to his knees on the touchline.
Tottenham’s celebrations were only put on hold for another two minutes as Serge Aurier’s cross picked out Kane to head home and become the third highest goalscorer in Spurs’ history with 175.
The England captain was furious at himself for not adding another on the hour mark as he dallied with just Roberto to beat and was dispossessed by a last-ditch challenge from Issa Diop.
Michail Antonio pulled a goal back for the hosts 17 minutes from time, but by the time Angelo Ogbonna scored West Ham’s second six minutes into stoppage time it was too little, too late.
West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini now waits to see if he faces a similar fate to Pochettino.
The Hammers were expected to challenge for European qualification in the Chilean’s second season but instead are 16th and in danger of falling even closer towards the relegation zone by the end of the weekend. – AFP