For 44 minutes, it seemed that the Mourinho bubble was going to burst in spectacular fashion as his Spurs team trailed Greek champions Olympiacos 0-2 in a key Champions League home fixture.
Spurs’ first half performance was in stark contrast to that in the West Ham game over the weekend. No energy, no ideas and nervous defending led to the visitors taking a deserved two goal lead within 20 minutes!
Mourinho – surprisingly made only one change – Rose replacing the injured Davies – from the West Ham starting line-up. But after 30 minutes, Mourinho make a drastic & decisive alteration to the game plan, taking off defensive midfielder Dier and putting creative attacking midfield (the out of form) Eriksen.
Definitely, this tactical switch resulted in more offensive play from the home team and they were ‘rewarded’ when Dele Alli profited from a defensive error to half the deficit on the stroke of half-time.
That good fortune – and Mourinho’s half-time team talk – galvanised the team and Spurs turned the match on its head scoring three more goals to take maximum points and qualify for the knockout stages.
The confidence evident in the second half brought about two clinical Kane finishes sandwiching a sweet strike from Aurier (!) to provide Mourinho with two successive victories in his short Spurs tenure.
Dele Alli deserves special mention for his improved second half, displaying once more the vim and verve which has characterise his best performances. Certainly, Alli will be a lynchpin in Mourinho’s future plans.
With Ndombele, Lo Celso and Sessegnon hardly figuring so far in Mourinho’s tenure thus far, it is perhaps exciting to note that there is more that can be expected from this squad as Mourinho continues to mould them in his own image.
While the manner of the win demonstrated character, Mourinho must be very concerned about Spurs’ brittle defence, conceding 4 goals in 2 games against less than stellar teams. Sure, the sublime forward play – resulting in 7 goals – provide joy but bittersweet is the knowledge that greater challenges are ahead.
One feels that there is definitely more to come from Spurs and Mourinho in the days to come.
COME ON YOU SPURS!!!