Serge Aurier

Rashford ruins Mourinho’s Old Trafford return

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Marcus Rashford scored twice to ruin Jose Mourinho’s return to Old Trafford, as Manchester United topped Spurs 2-1 on Wednesday.

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The win propelled United ahead of Spurs and into sixth place, eight points back of the Top Four.

Dele Alli scored a wonderful goal for Tottenham, who drops into eight with 20 points.


Three things we learned

1. Rashford ruins reunion in eye-popping fashion: Put simply, Rashford was everywhere. The English center forward scored twice, the second a conversion of a penalty he won. He also smashed a distance shot that Paulo Gazzaniga saved in outstanding fashion, and completed five dribbles. A forceful day.

2. McTominay all important to banner moment for under-fire Solskjaer: Mourinho brought Scott McTominay into United’s first team, and will rue how influential the Scottish international was in marshaling the hosts’ midfield. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s future has been in question, but his game plan worked despite the absences of Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial. It’s a very good moment for the Norwegian’s hopes of extending life at Old Trafford.

3. Maguire, Lindelof put clamps on Kane : Tottenham’s star center forward had an awful day at the office, completing under 60 percent of his passes and managing two shots: one off target and another blocked by United.

Man of the Match: Rashford.


United took the lead when Jesse Lingard back heeled the ball to Rashford, who was wide open thanks to the laissez-faire marking of Serge Aurier. Rashford beat Paulo Gazzaniga to the near post for 1-0 in the sixth minute. The keeper will have wanted to do much better.

Spurs seemed to snap awake after the concession, and the next big moment was a slide from Daniel James that felled Mourinho on the touch line and left the United attacker requiring medical treatment.

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Fred won a dangerous free kick in the 17th minute, and Rashford spun it just wide of the upper 90.

Gazzaniga made a fine low save on Mason Greenwood in the 23rd, a slight bit of redemption.

Rashford was feeling it, and tore into a 30-yard shot that Gazzaniga somehow pushed off the cross bar.

Dele continued his resurgence with a gorgeous flick in traffic to fool Fred and Ashley Young before lashing past De Gea for 1-1.

Moussa Sissoko conceded a penalty to give Rashford a chance to put United in front, and the Englishman delivered the goods after a stuttering run-up.

Gazzaniga stopped a James shot in the 69th minute to keep it 2-1. Spurs kept pressing, and De Gea made a fine denial of a Dele shot deep in stoppage time.

Tottenham’s hero ballboy reacts: ‘It has made my life!’

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Tottenham’s hero from Tuesday’s night UEFA Champions League win against Olympiacos wasn’t Harry Kane, Jose Mourinho or anybody connected with the first team squad.

[ MORE: Spurs fans warm to Mourinho ]

Ballboy Callum Hynes, 15, who has been a ballboy at Spurs over the last six seasons, threw the ball in quickly to Serge Aurier and his throw-in allowed Lucas Moura to cross for Harry Kane to make it 2-2 early in the second half.

Hynes played a key moment in Spurs’ comeback from 2-0 down to win 4-2, as new manager Mourinho hugged and congratulated him on his home debut and had high praise for him after the game.

“To do that you have to be a very good ballboy. I was, between 10 and 15, 16-years-old, a very good ballboy. He is a very good ballboy, understands the game, reads the game,” Mourinho said. “He’s not there just to look to the stands, the lights or the scarves. He’s there reading the game and playing the game very well. In the end, I wanted him to come back to celebrate in the dressing room with the players, but he had gone.”

Hynes retold his side of the story, as he left the stadium as soon as he could to get back to school for a math exam on Wednesday and that was why Mourinho couldn’t find him at the final whistle.

The ballboy then spent his entire car journey home studying for his exam, which was subsequently switched to a Thursday.

“It’s all a bit surreal. I was just doing my job and I still can’t quite believe what happened,” he explained. “I didn’t even see the goal! I was busy getting the ball that had come off (after Masouras tackled Serge) and then I heard the cheer. I turned around and Harry was celebrating. I looked at the replay on the screen and watched exactly what happened. You can see from my smile it was just unbelievable. Jose didn’t have to do that. It was really nice of him to come over to me. It’s made my day, my life, really! I love Spurs and it was an amazing moment I’ll never forget.”

Safe to say Callum will be catching up with Jose and the players in the coming days, and he will be given a heroes welcome the next time he takes up his position on the side of the pitch at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Mourinho credits players for comeback, speaks on viral ball boy moment

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Through two quality wins, Jose Mourinho is making sure the love is headed for his players.

Tottenham Hotspur’s men have struggled this season despite a tactical wizard in Mauricio Pochettino, so it would be reasonable to offer some credit to their infamous new manager for a 3-2 win over West Ham and a now Tuesday’s 4-2, come-from-behind defeat of Olympiacos in the UEFA Champions League.

[ MORE: JPW at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium ]

OIympiacos built a 2-0 lead before the match was 20 minutes old, but Dele Alli pulled one back before the break. The second half was all Tottenham, with Harry Kane scoring twice and Serge Aurier also bagging a goal against a Greek side which has been quite good at keeping the ball out of the net.

Aurier scoring would be another reason to toot Mourinho’s horn, as the defender was abject in an earlier UCL match versus Bayern Munich. Mourinho, however, kept his composure.

“The way they reacted and knowing that a draw would give us qualification, because we knew Bayern were winning, but to go in search of the win and the confidence, they did that,” Mourinho said. “I expect them to start the next game without ghosts and open. We have to play better than that first half.”

And then there’s the ball boy, as Mourinho has offered his proper assessment of the kid who got the ball to Serge Aurier ahead of a Spurs goal.

“To do that you have to be a very good ball boy. I was between 10 and 16 years old a very good ball boy and he is a very good ball boy. He was reading the game and wasn’t looking at the stands. I wanted to invite him to the dressing room to celebrate with the players but he had disappeared.”

Something tells me we’ll be seeing a reunion on social media soon.

Spurs have now advanced to the UCL knockout rounds, and with Mourinho there’s renewed hope of another long run. Remember: Mourinho may not be the wizard he once was, but he remains one of the great trophy hunters in sport.

Tottenham ready to laud ‘born winner’ Mourinho

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LONDON — Jose Mourinho isn’t a hero at Tottenham Hotspur yet. But the fans want him to be.

Before the game the lyrics of a Tom Greenan’s Song “found what I’ve been looking for” blasted out over the PA system. Spurs and their Chairman Daniel Levy feel like the have, generally.

All the chatter before, during and after the game was about Jose Mourinho. The “born winner” who has won trophies at FC Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Manchester United.

Spurs fans hope Mourinho adds Spurs next to his list and keeps his incredible record going of winning silverware wherever he’s gone.

The former Chelsea and Man United manager has now won his first two games as Tottenham’s manager, beating rivals West Ham 3-2 on Saturday and securing a spot in the UEFA Champions League last 16 by beating Olympiacos 4-2 in dramatic fashion.

It was box office Mourinho to be 2-0 down early, make a tactical substitute after 30 minutes, then rally to win 4-2 and spark wild celebrations on the sidelines and in the stands. It was quite surprising just how positive Tottenham’s fans were towards Mourinho.

Asked by ProSoccerTalk after the game about the reaction from home fans and what he made of his home debut for Spurs, Mourinho made it all about the team, but mostly about himself.

“It is not about me, it is about the team. I just want to help. The fans helped, I helped, the ballboy helped. Everybody that loves Spurs helped the players. The players are the most important thing,” Mourinho said. “My feeling was great, especially because it was one of these matches where I had to play. Some of the matches you play before the match, the way you prepare the team, you work, you train and your action during the game isn’t very important. In other matches you have to play. But today I had to play. “I think that was my 80th victory in the Champions League. Let’s go for 81.”

He is always focused on one thing: Winning above everything else.

Speaking to Spurs fans before the game, they are keen to forget Mourinho’s allegiance to rivals Chelsea (but were also keen to also mention they couldn’t forget former manager George Graham for his links to Arsenal) provided he does one thing: Win.

“If you’re going to go get someone, this club needs someone who is going to win, so you can go on and win. It has been so long. He is a winning manager,” Danny Hood said, smiling, as he stood next to his daughter with his flat cap on. “To get a couple of trophies would be great and then hopefully even if he does go, hopefully they will have it in them to do it again.”

Mourinho is all about the final step for Tottenham.

Under Mauricio Pochettino they came so close to winning silverware but just came up short. That ruthless edge wasn’t there. Firing Pochettino and hiring Mourinho came out of necessity.

“When it happened I was shocked. In terms of Pochettino, I thought he had a little bit of time left. And Mourinho, well, I thought it was quite an extreme appointment,” Duncan Capp, a lifelong Spurs fans from Uxbridge, explained. “At the same time you could see the sense as well. A proven winner of trophies and it is sort of a marriage of convenience for both parties. Tottenham want to get back to the top four and Mourinho wants to get back to the Champions League and hopefully win it, again.”

There was a spring in the step of fans and staff members at Spurs before and after the game, as the new manager bump has arrived big time under Mourinho. For a manager who divides opinion, there is still a sense of hesitation to laud him from Tottenham’s fans.

His name was not sung by the home fans on Tuesday against Olympiacos.

“I don’t think we will be singing his name just yet and any response will be more for the team who are playing in the Champions League tonight,” Capp said. “I don’t think there will be a negative response for Mourinho. He has a chance, especially if he keeps winning. We aren’t going to win every single game under Mourinho, we know that, but the Champions League is a good platform for him. It is his competition, or so he thinks. If we can have a good run in the Champions League and get in the top four, it would be a good season.”

Other were more keen to go all-in on Mourinho: “If we start winning every week then we will start singing his name!” Hood added.

Fans broke down his hiring time and time again amongst themselves, with many admitting he’s probably be gone inside three seasons but if he left with a few more trophies under his arm, who cares? They want to win, any way, any how. One fan belted out that 38 1-0 victories with boring football would do the job.

Somewhere Mourinho’s ears must have pricked up.

“You have the third most successful manager in history now,” one fan explained to another. “Exactly. We sacked one world class manager and replaced him with another,” replied another.

Mourinho was apparently the “best appointment we could have made” but some admitted they were a “little worried about the reaction he will get.”

They know the Portuguese coach is playing the same game he has time and time again to get fans onside early and believe they can succeed. He’s a master at it.

“Mourinho is saying all the right things, Pochettino was saying all the wrong things,” said one man leaning on the edge of corporate box inside the stadium. He and his friends had a theory, if Spurs didn’t hire Mourinho, Arsenal would have. And they believed Pochettino would never go to the Gunners.

The next guy came along and wasn’t happy with Mourinho being the new manager but quipped “he could be a great manager and I hope it works out, but…”

The retort arrived: “But how good will it be for the youngsters, to have a winner like that around the team!?”

It all goes back to winning. It always does with Mourinho.

Winning means Spurs will try to become nasty again, as they try every trick in the box Mourinho wrote to get success.

He was the first person to celebrate with the ball boy who hurried to get the ball to Serge Aurier for Spurs’ second goal. The master of the dark arts approved.

“We want somebody who is nasty and pushing people and mixing it up. When Pochettino took over we were the youngest, fittest team and the most aggressive team,” Danny Hood added. “People talked about us being the hardest team in the league to play against. Dele used to dive, wind people up, Poch told him to stop that and knocked the confidence out of him. I want that nasty team again, that team who fought everyone. I hope that comes back.”

There is still a reluctance to get too excited by Mourinho.

“My initial reaction was shock but once you break it all down, here some of the details and rumors, then you sort of understand it a bit more. You can accept it a little more,” Capp added.

The acceptance at Spurs is that Mourinho isn’t perfect, but he’s a winner.

“He’s proven he can win everywhere, so let’s hope Spurs aren’t the odd ones out,” Daisy Hood laughed. “I nearly fell asleep during the Newcastle game! I want trophies. So it is Mourinho. As long as he’s running up the touchline at Stamford Bridge celebrating for Tottenham, I’m happy.”

Tottenham reach UCL last 16 thanks to stunning comeback

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LONDON — Jose Mourinho has lift off at Tottenham Hotspur.

After falling 2-0 down in the first half, Spurs rallied to beat Olympiacos 4-2 at home on Tuesday, as they reached the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League.

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Youssef El-Arabi gave Olympiacos the lead, the Ruben Semedo doubled it soon afer, but a goal just before half time from Dele Alli sparked Spurs into life.

Harry Kane equalized early in the second half and then Serge Aurier got the go-ahead goal before Kane finished things off on a triumphant, in the end, home debut for Mourinho at Spurs.


3 things we learned

1. Spurs’ shaky defense has to be priority: Spurs have conceded four times in Mourinho’s first two games in charge and he will not be happy about that. Olympiacos’ first was a fine individual goal but the second was after sloppy marking from a set piece. Spurs need to sharpen up defensively and they once again started slowly, which is nothing new this season. Olympiacos are a solid UCL team but nothing more. Keeping compact as a team and being tighter at the back has to be the first big project for Mourinho as Spurs manager. Going forward they will score plenty but they can’t keep shooting themselves in the foot.

2. Positive vibes for Mourinho: Somewhat surprisingly, the overall vibe towards Mourinho from the home fans was a positive one. Before and after the game. Spurs fans want one thing: To win trophies. They’ve accepted that wasn’t going to happen under Pochettino and have moved on very quickly. Mourinho is a winner and back-to-back wins to open up his time in charge of Spurs proves it. The overall message is that Mourinho is welcome at Spurs, as long as he wins a trophy.

3. Holding midfielder/right back key for January: Eric Dier was hooked off after 30 minutes and Eriksen came on to give Spurs some extra attacking impetus, but it was probably because he was having another shocker, just like Saturday at West Ham. He’s rusty and it showed. If Mourinho doesn’t start using Victor Wanyama as a holding midfielder, he needs to go out and get a new one in January. He probably needs a new right back too as Aurier was all over the place positionally, erratic in possession and Mourinho needed to bring Sissoko on to give him more protection defensively. A new right back and holding midfielder is a must for Mourinho’s January wishlist.

Man of the Match: Dele Alli – He scored one and grabbed an assist, as he continues to shine under Mourinho. Clever flicks and tricks stole the show and he has that nasty streak back.


Olympiacos took the lead with their first effort of the game as El Arabi brilliantly turned and smashed a low finish past Paulo Gazzaniga to send the away fans wide.

Heung-Min Son‘s flicked header then produced a fine save from Jose Sa in a rare Spurs attack, but it was Olympiacos who looked more likely to grab a second. And they did.

Things then got worse for Spurs as a corner was flicked on and Ruben Semedo tapped home to make it 2-0 and spark scenes of utter disbelief among the home fans.

Mourinho responded by subbing off Eric Dier with less than 30 minutes on the clock as Christian Eriksen came on to try and help Spurs salvage the situation.

Right on half time Spurs were gifted a way back into the game as a cross to the front post was missed by Yassine Meriah and Dele Alli tapped home.

Game on.

Five minutes into the second half Spurs drew level as some quick work from a ball boy found Serge Aurier, his quick throw-in found Lucas Moura who crossed for Kane to slot home as Mourinho celebrated wildly, and with the ball boy, on the sidelines.

Olympiacos poured forward and threatened on numerous occasions as Spurs creaked at the back, but Tottenham got the win their flowing attacking performance, in the second half, deserved.

Dele Alli’s ball to the back post found Aurier who hammered home as Mourinho celebrated wildly on the sidelines, while Kane nodded home Eriksen’s free kick to seal the win in style.

Mourinho is off to a flying start at Spurs, but there is plenty of work to do to repair the damage of the past 12 months.