Erik Lamela

Mourinho on Spurs win
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Mourinho: Spurs don’t have attacking depth, but do have ‘family’

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In this “whole new Jose Mourinho” world, the key word is family.

Mourinho said it six times in his post-match presser after Tottenham Hotspur scrapped to a 2-1 defeat of Norwich City on Wednesday in London.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Spurs had an early lead disappear when Ryan Sessegnon gave away a penalty to Max Aarons, and Teemu Pukki converted it for a 70th-minute deadlock.

Heung-Min Son scored nine minutes later. It was a win that is good for the whole family.

From Football.London:

“It was fantastic what happened after the 1-1, which happens in a difficult moment for us where I look to the bench and I don’t have attacking players to change the game the team is a little bit fatigued, especially Lucas, Son and of course Lamela. I took him off because he was in trouble and he is a player who is coming from very important and long injury, so very difficult.

“How can we change the game? With the family spirit, the family character and desire.”

Mourinho also praised Giovani Lo Celso‘s work on the wing for attack-short Spurs as “a good experience for the family,” and Paulo Gazzaniga‘s support for returned goalkeeper Hugo Lloris as “a good member of the family and he is such a special friend of Hugo.”

I mean, I’m getting the warm and fuzzies.

Clearly, Mourinho is stressing unity and there’s a bit of bunker mentality involved, as the manager mentioned some dicey calls not going their way against Watford, Liverpool, and now Norwich.

FA Cup: Spurs do just enough to beat Boro, reach 4th round (video)

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Nine days after struggling to a 1-1 draw away from home, Tottenham Hotspur once again had a fair bit of trouble in keeping EFL Championship side Middlesbrough at arm’s length when the two sides met for an FA Cup third-round replay at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Inter Milan still chasing January deal for Christian Eriksen ]

Tottenham settled in quickly and got off to a flying start when Giovani Lo Celso put the home side 1-0 up after just 115 seconds. Boro goalkeeper Tomas Mejias will take all the blame for this one, as it was his reckless ball out of the back that found Lo Celso to set the Argentine up for a routine finish.

It was 2-0 not even 15 minutes later, thanks to a dazzling outside-of-the-foot finish from another crafty Argentine, Erik Lamela. It was Lamela who won the ball 35 yards from goal before turning upfield, beating three defenders and cutting the ball past Mejias and tucking it inside the far post from the penalty spot.

[ MORE: Liverpool readying for imminent return of injured players ]

As quick and easy as the two-goal advantage came to them, Jose Mourinho’s side simply couldn’t maintain control of the game to see it out comfortably, let alone put the game away despite a number of open-net chances which required only the simplest of finishing touches.

That point was hammered home in the 83rd minute, when Boro pulled a goal back through George Saville‘s slow roller past Paulo Gazzaniga. That set up a thoroughly nervy final 10 minutes for Spurs, who by that point were unable to string together three passes to players in white shirt.

In the end, though, Spurs survived the late Boro flurry to reach the fourth round, where they’ll visit fellow Premier League side Southampton on Jan. 25.

Five-star Spurs thump Red Star Belgrade

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Erik Lamela set up two early goals and later scored as Tottenham Hotspur broke out of its funk to record a 5-0 win over Red Star Belgrade in UEFA Champions League play on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

Heung-Min Son scored twice and Harry Kane also scored as Spurs earned their first win of the group stage. Tanguy Ndombele joined Lamela with two assists.

Red Star is now 1W-12L ahead of the return fixture in Serbia.


Three things

1. Sweet release for Harry Kane: Tottenham’s talisman was ready from the first minute, and delivered a perfect header off a ninth minute corner kick for 1-0. There wasn’t much to worry about the rest of the way as Kane scored twice while taking six shots against a team which won’t be pleased to have to do it again come two weeks time in Serbia.

2. Well, actually, for almost everyone: Considering Spurs were an absolute shambles against Bayern Munich and have not impressed in domestic play, the win could be a welcome and positive kick in the pants for many Tottenham men. Serge Aurier‘s day against Bayern was possibly the worst performance of any Spurs player this year, and the Frenchman had an assist and was better versus Red Star (the right opponent at the right time, we might add). Dele Alli had one of his better games in a while, and Tanguy Ndombele hasn’t been poor but his two-assist night is a welcome sign.

3. Lamela helps pulls the strings: The Argentine was simply sensational early (and pretty good late, as he scored in the second half). Kane will get the love for the corner kick goal. but the second assist was all about Lamela.

Look…

at this…

ball.

 

Man of the Match: Lamela

 


The basics provided Tottenham’s opener, with Kane running off the near post to meet a corner kick and turning a header across goal and inside the far post. Pretty stuff, and good timing. Nerves settled after nine minutes.

Son made it 2-0 seven minutes later, getting on the end of a bouncing Erik Lamela cross to volley home.

Spurs’ third first-half goal was Son again, as the South Korean raced 60 yards to become a back post option after Tanguy Ndombele caused a turnover at midfield.

If anyone deserved Spurs next marker, it was Lamela. The Argentine made it so after Harry Kane’s classy long pass to Serge Aurier was turned onto his path in the 57th.

Spurs blow 2-goal lead in draw at Olympiacos

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Tottenham Hotspur wasted a 2-0 lead on the road in Athens as another Premier League club came up short in its Champions League opener, drawing 2-2 with Olympiacos.

Harry Kane bagged a 26th minute penalty and Lucas Moura doubled the lead on the half-hour mark, but Daniel Podence and Mathieu Valbuena – by far the Greeks’ two most incisive players throughout the match – were on hand to erase the lead and rescue a point for the hosts.

Kane’s opening goal made him the third-fastest player to reach 15 Champions League goals, needing just 20 matches to reach the mark. He profited with a penalty blasted straight down the middle, sending a helpless Jose Sa the wrong way. Moura, last season’s Champions League hero, again came up big in European play with a right-footed rocket from just outside the top of the penalty area.

Unfortunately, it all broke down from there. Podence, who was an absolute menace down the right for Olympiacos, clawed one back just before halftime on a brilliant counter. Valbuena delivered a wonderful through-ball for a full-speed Podence and Portuguese winger’s exceptional first touch got him away from chasing defenders for a far-post finish.

Valbuena was also excellent on the ball, overloading the right flank often. He was on hand to deliver an equalizing penalty in the 54th minute after a foul by Jan Vertonghen. It is Valbuena’s first goal in Champions League play since he stunned Borussia Dortmund with an 87th minute winner that sent Lyon through to the knockout round. Questions will be asked of Olympiacos manager Pedro Martins who withdrew Valbuena with 20 minutes to go, which baffled many and left the hosts with little attacking mentality down the stretch.

Dele Alli had a chance to give Spurs the lead again past the hour mark, but his low shot from distance was fabulously saved by Sa who got big and stuck out his right boot to clip the effort wide. As Spurs poured on the pressure late, Erik Lamela forced another save by Sa with a tight-angled shot to the near post. After Chelsea and Liverpool both fell on the road in Champions League play on Tuesday, the draw felt like a defeat for the Londoners.

Rashford penalty enough for Manchester United v. Leicester City

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Injury-battered Manchester United used an early Marcus Rashford penalty to get back in the win column with a 1-0 victory over Leicester City at Old Trafford on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The win boosts United into fourth at this point in the weekend, on eight points, while Leicester drops fifth on the same point total.


Three things we learned

  1. Penalty problems at bay — Rashford gave the Red Devils some relief after they had missed two of three from the spot to start the season.
  2. Defense holds firm — United won’t like how often it was on the back foot at home to Leicester City, but Harry Maguire and Co. were up to the task of dealing with the Foxes’ dangerous attack. Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Maguire were the key pieces, though Paul Pogba was surprisingly a key piece to the defense on the day.
  3. Foxes are gonna be a handful — Brendan Rodgers men reacted well to going down a goal, and the danger provided by James Maddison, Youri Tielemans, and company is going to sustain Leicester City deep into what should be table and cup charges.

Man of the Match: Aaron Wan-Bissaka — The right back was against instrumental in just about every facet of the game plan.


[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Marcus Rashford won and converted a penalty to calm the nerves at Old Trafford, with Caglar Soyuncu the defender at fault.

Soyuncu came close to getting a dangerous shot on goal, and David De Gea made a nice save on Hamza Choudhury in stoppage time.

Daniel James dribbled to the center of the pitch and tried his luck from 25 yards to start the second half, just missing the bar.

Maddison smashed a dangerous free kick wide of the far post in the 56th, while ex-Leicester star Harry Maguire headed into Kasper Schmeichel‘s hands at the other end.