Category: champions league

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!!!

Photo

Photo

Photo

Photo

Photo

Photo

A result that restored pride and relevance back into our Champions League campaign as Spurs trounced the Serbian champions Red Star Belgrade, in front of a delirious home crowd. 

But let’s not get carried away, please. As Mauricio Pochettino remarked in his post-match press conference – it’s only one match. What is key now, is for Spurs to build on the feel good vibes around this victory and begin a winning sequence. 

Critics may point to Red Star’s miserable 1st half performance as contributing to the result but that would do a severe injustice to the manner in which Spurs set out to put behind several weeks of under-performance. 

Right from the kick-off it was clear that the boys were eager to carry on from where they had left off in that second half Watford performance and went into half-time with a well-deserved three goal lead. 

Harry Kane’s opening goal within 10 minutes was a rarity, a headed goal from an in-swinging Erik Lamela corner. Then, it became the Son Heung-Min show as the South Korean demonstrated why he is on the Balloon D’or shortlist with two excellent finishes from assists by Lamela (again!) and Tanguy Ndombele, respectively. 

The second half was basically the same and by the 60th minute, Spurs were 5-0 up with goals from the vibrant Lamela and clinical Kane. The way Red Star had capitulated, Spurs could have had seven or eight to be honest but perhaps credit must be given to the strong performances from the likes of Kane, Son, Lamela, Ndombele and Dele Alli, back to his precocious self. 

Worth noting that the side did not include wantaway players like Danny Rose, Toby Alderweireld and Christian Eriksen and whether one is entitled to draw inferences from their exclusion depends on your perspective. Certainly, the Spurs players on the pitch appeared to be highly committed to do their best and played as a cohesive unit. 

The likes of Eric Dier, Juan Foyth and Giovanni Lo Celso made significant cameo appearances that suggest that they may provide viable options for the difficult fixtures ahead, without having to rely on the unreliable. 

It’s a start, for sure, and the real test of any progress comes on Sunday with the difficult challenge of the unbeaten league leaders Liverpool at Anfield. 

COME ON YOU SPURS!!!

Photo

Photo