Jose Mourinho turned to his previous foe Pep Guardiola and smiled on the sound of the ultimate whistle.
Just over 12 months on from his arrival, the Portuguese had witnessed his Tottenham aspect produce one in all his trademark performances to safe a 2-0 dwelling win over Manchester City and ship out a message within the Premier League title race.
Counter-attacking objectives in every half from Heung-Min Son and substitute Giovani Lo Celso handed Spurs an announcement victory regardless of Pep Guardiola’s males dominating possession within the capital.
So was this one other Mourinho masterclass?
Harry Kane did not have a single shot however he gained six fouls for his workforce, laying on the help for Lo Celso’s essential second to provide the hosts respiratory area.
“Kane is messing with them. He has been spectacular,” Gary Neville purred on commentary for Sky Sports. “Kane has obtained each centre-backs the place he desires them. He’s enjoying with them.”
On his function in Tottenham’s second, Neville added: “This is a traditional Jose Mourinho efficiency. A beautiful contact and switch from Kane. Brilliant for Spurs, a nightmare for City.”
Hojbjerg embodies Tottenham’s bulldog spirit
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was in every single place on the night for Tottenham. Guardiola performed a pivotal function within the Denmark worldwide’s improvement following their time collectively at Bayern Munich – the place he grew to become the youngest participant to play for the Bavarians within the Bundesliga as a 17-year-old.
But Hojbjerg ultimately fell out of favour on the Allianz Arena, being loaned out to first Augsburg after which Schalke earlier than being bought to Southampton for £12.8m in July 2016 as Guardiola himself departed for City.
Now 25, the defensive midfielder is rising as an important cog in Spurs’ rise underneath Mourinho, his renaissance mirroring his supervisor. With 30 of his 32 passes accomplished, Hojbjerg proved a degree to his former boss.
City blunt once more with out Aguero
Here was additional proof of City’s decline in attacking output this season. Guardiola’s males have scored simply 10 objectives in eight Premier League video games this season – on the similar stage of final time period, that they had scored 27.
“I believed City performed properly within the first half,” Neville informed Sky Sports. “In this half, they have not performed properly. It’s been ragged.”
While the defence has improved for the reason that arrival of Ruben Dias, Sergio Aguero’s return to full health can not come quickly sufficient. Gabriel Jesus managed 9 touches in Tottenham’s penalty space, however none of his 4 photographs have been on course.
“The actuality is to date we did not rating a lot, and that is why we wrestle to attain objectives,” Guardiola stated.
“It was final season, final season was final season, so it is completely different. Of course we wrestle with out the 2 strikers via the season, however I feel we’ve got the flexibility and high quality to attain objectives.
“I haven’t got the sensation that we’re enjoying dangerous, we come right here, we’ve got extra photographs on course, concede much less photographs on course, we’ve got extra possession, however soccer is about element within the containers. I do know Mourinho’s workforce at all times wait so that you can make a mistake to punish you.”
A case of deja-vu for City?
Back in February earlier than lockdown, City have been additionally crushed 2-0 by Tottenham right here with 67 per cent possession. This time, Guardiola’s males had 66 per cent of the ball, and but have been on the fallacious finish of the identical end result.
But this felt completely different. That end result lifted Spurs as much as fifth however they’re much-improved since then. Guardiola sounded resigned from the beginning, so are Tottenham now real title contenders?
“I doubted it a number of weeks in the past,” Neville stated. “I’m not going to vary from that. But they’re actually gaining in confidence and this was a very good efficiency.
“In the primary half it was resilient and the Mourinho of previous. In the second half, they have been simply higher than City.”
Tottenham utilise attacking channels
Curiously, 41.3 per cent of Tottenham’s first-half assaults got here down the precise via the marauding runs of Serge Aurier.
But Mourinho flipped that within the second interval with 40.6 per cent coming down the left via the indefatigable Sergio Reguilon as Spurs regarded to use the area behind Kyle Walker as he more and more dedicated himself going ahead with City searching for a route again into the sport.
Here was additional indication of Mourinho’s return on the sharp finish of the sport. In overcoming his previous nemesis, this was Mourinho enjoying on City’s weaknesses, hitting his opponents on the counter-attack.
It’s not the model of soccer that Spurs followers have come to affiliate with their membership down the years, however will they care if Mourinho can as soon as extra earn silverware in his second season?
“Spurs have had some nice groups over time, seen nice footballers, stunning footballers, however they’ve not gained a factor,” Jamie Redknapp informed Sky Sports.
“If Spurs followers must take watching that fashion to win trophies, they’ll take that. Mauricio Pochettino constructed a stunning workforce – what did they win? Zero. I wasn’t certain Jose Mourinho may do it at Spurs however he makes gamers work so exhausting. It’s unbelievable how exhausting Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min work with out the ball. Spurs did so properly with out the ball – it was a masterclass from Jose and the workforce.”
Kane continues to stump opponents
Can you’ve got an invisible help? It was Kane’s motion in sucking two City defenders out of place for Son to take Tanguy Ndombele’s cross to fit dwelling after 5 minutes.
City grew to become the newest workforce to wrestle to become familiar with the England captain’s motion, along with his heatmap indicating his positional play extra as a central midfielder than as a striker, dropping deep to outnumber City in midfield.
Kane had as many duels (14) as Hojbjerg whereas he even made extra tackles than some other participant in the course of the first half.
Tottenham now host Ludogorets within the Europa League on Thursday at 8pm, earlier than going to Chelsea subsequent Super Sunday at 4.30pm, stay on Sky Sports Premier League.
Man City are at Olympiakos within the Champions League at 5.55pm on Wednesday, earlier than internet hosting Burnley within the Premier League at 3pm on Saturday.