Mourinho was a bundle of energy in his technical area
Credit: GETTY IMAGES
Jose Mourinho watched Tottenham produce one of his trademark performances to secure victory over Manchester City and send out a message in the title race as they moved back to the top of the table for at least 24 hours.
Counter-attacking goals in each half from Son Heung-min and substitute Giovani Lo Celso handed Spurs a statement win despite Pep Guardiola’s men dominating possession in the capital. Telegraph Sport takes a look at where the game was won and lost.
Jose Mourinho sprang a surprise with the way Tottenham lined up. Although the teamsheet suggested a regular 4-2-3-1 shape, with Harry Kane ahead of a three-man attacking midfield, once the whistle blew, Spurs looked more like 4-4-2, with Tanguy Ndombele pushed up alongside Kane.
It allowed widemen Son Heung-Min and Steven Bergwijn to play deeper and support their full-backs against City’s wide threat, with Pep Guardiola’s own full-backs always looking to bomb forward. At times Kane was more withdrawn, too, leaving Ndombele the farthest man forward, a remarkable switch for a player who spent his early months at the club playing as a central defensive midfielder.
Mourinho said afterwards he would 'sleep like an angel' on Saturday night
Knowing they were playing on the backfoot and unlikely to have many opportunities to break forward, Spurs made the most of their counter-attacks, which appeared to be choreographed beautifully. Son’s opening goal came from a swift move, with the ball shuttled about at speed as Ndombele spun and played it forward for the Korean to run on to.
Tottenham should have made it 2-0 soon afterwards with another swift counter, only for Kane to stray offside when he put the ball away. There were two or three similar moves of swift precision in the first-half, and Spurs always looked dangerous on the counter, never more so than when Kane led another break in the 65th minute before setting up Giovani Lo Celso to score Tottenham’s second goal.
The contrast between the two sides was most marked in defence, with Tottenham tigerish in protecting Hugo Lloris while City left Ederson exposed too often to go unpunished. City’s defensive lapses are often down to their full-backs pushing high up the pitch, leaving them short when opponents counter-attack swiftly.
But there was no excuse for Cancelo when Son scored the opening goal following a free-kick in midfield. The left-back simply switched off and allowed Son to run past him on the blindside and in on goal. Tottenham’s defenders were always alert, not least Toby Alderweireld who looked determined not to let anything past him.
Mourinho Masterclass… 🤝
Less than a minute after coming on, super sub Giovani Lo Celso fires Spurs two goals ahead! pic.twitter.com/Lnt9n28XFl
— Sky Sports (@SkySports) November 21, 2020
Son was clinical when he put away the opening goal, in a way City’s forwards were not for most of the game. There was little doubt the Korean would score when Ndombele put him in on goal in the fifth minute, such is his form this season and his record against City.
But Gabriel Jesus looked hesitant in front of goal, Kevin De Bruyne shot uncharacteristically off target when he had a sight of goal more than once, and Rodri put a free header straight at Lloris in the early stages. Lo Celso, in contrast, was deadly once Kane set him free moments after replacing Ndombele to make it 2-0.