LONDON — Jose Mourinho got off to the perfect start as Tottenham’s manager, as his side won 3-2 at West Ham United to secure their first Premier League away win since January.
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After a tough week for Spurs’ players after Mauricio Pochettino was fired and then Mourinho hired, they delivered a dominant display as they outclassed bitter rivals West Ham from start to finish.
First half goals from Heung-Min Son and Lucas Moura set Spurs on their way and Harry Kane added a goal in the second half as Mourinho celebrated wildly on the sidelines. Michail Antonio scored a late consolation for the Hammers.
With the win Spurs momentarily moved up to sixth place in the table, while West Ham are now without a win in seven as Manuel Pellegrini‘s continue their alarming slump towards the bottom.
3 things we learned
1. Mourinho off to perfect start: It doesn’t get much better than this for Mourinho. His Spurs side were solid, albeit it against a lackluster West Ham, and were lethal in attack. There was a clear plan to get the ball wide to Moura and Son as quick as possible and it worked. Spurs looked more like a counter-attacking team than one that pressed high as that was the biggest change from Poch to Mou. It worked a treat and Mourinho has settled in very well at Spurs.
2. Dele Alli delivers: During the week Mourinho revealed what he said to Dele Alli. “I asked him if he was Dele or Dele’s brother. He told me he was Dele. ‘OK,’ I said. ‘Play like Dele.’” And boy did he prove he was the real Dele Alli. An assist for Son’s goal and a big hand in Moura’s with a majestic flick while he was on the ground showcased his undoubted quality. Dele now needs to deliver on a more regular basis.
3. Hammers need Haller to regain his mojo: This was poor from West Ham as Pellegrini could well lose his job in the coming days and weeks. There was no bite, no grit and no real plan in their derby game against their biggest rivals. Sebastian Haller looked lost up top as the Frenchman wasn’t bothered about holding the ball up and his first touch was abysmal. He scored three goals in his first three games for the Hammers but has scored just once since August and he is low on confidence and support. Haller needs to regain his mojo and West Ham need to give him support. The 3-2 scoreline didn’t tell the story of just how bad Spurs were.
Man of the Match: Dele Alli – His flicks and tricks set up this win for Spurs and he looked back to his best. He tired in the second half but Mourinho has shown he will but his faith in the English playmaker. Dele repaid that faith.
Mourinho thought he’d got off to the perfect start as Dele Alli played in Kane who slammed home, but the offside flag chalked off the goal as Spurs didn’t get the goal their bright start deserved.
At the other end Ryan Fredericks cross found Haller at the back post but Paulo Gazzaniga saved thanks to a deflection from Serge Aurier. Spurs then sat back and struggled to get in the game but Roberto pushed Heung-min Son’s effort from distance away and Lucas Moura then headed wide.
Felipe Anderson was then set free and as he raced towards goal he lost his composure as his pass was behind Sebastian Haller. Toby Alderweireld went close from two set pieces and Son and Kane were then denied by Declan Rice after two lovely flowing moves.
But Son wasn’t to be denied as Alli found him in the box and he made space for himself before smashing a shot on goal which Roberto should have saved but the ball went in. Mourinho punched the air with delight and moments later Son was clattered by Fredericks who should have been sent off.
Before half time Dele Alli delivered a majestic flick while he was on the floor to set free Son and his cross was finished by Moura as Mourinho slid on his knees in celebration.
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Spurs should have been 3-0 up at the start of the second half as Moura was played in and raced clear but instead of shooting or picking out Dele Alli, he did neither.
Soon they were 3-0 up as Kane headed home Serge Aurier’s cross to leave Spurs’ fans, players and manager in dreamland.
Kane was almost in again soon after as Spurs were lethal on the counter and Mourinho stood on and watched calmly on the sidelines as his side eased to their first Premier League away victory since January.
West Ham were poor throughout but substitute Michail Antonio did grab a fine goal but that did little to ease their woes, as they also had a late goal correctly chalked out by VAR due to offside and Ogbonna finished in stoppage time to make it 3-2.
Aside from conceding the two late goals, this was the perfect start for Tottenham’s new manager as Jose Mourinho celebrated with the Spurs fans at the final whistle.