Precisely the tonic we needed after the tepid defeat at Old Trafford.
Right from the kick-off, Spurs looked like a team with an overwhelming desire to win. Poor Burnley had no answer to the potent attacking play of Kane, Moura, Dele and Son.
And Son provided the highlight of the match with a world class individual effort, picking the ball just outside his own penalty box and then racing down the length of the field, evading Burnley defenders’ desperate tackles before calmly slotting home.
Kane opened the scoring with an early goal, putting a rocket past the helpless Pope, an indication of the day the Burnley goalkeeper was going to have. This was quickly followed up by a dynamic team move with ended up with Moura prodding home from close range.
In the second half, Spurs took their foot off the pedal somewhat but still managed engineer a brace of goals – from Kane and Sissoko (!) to complete an excellent day out.
Jose Mourinho would have been especially pleased with the clean sheet though to be honest, Aurier did nothing to enhance his reputation as a defender as he allowed Burnley winger McNeill too much time and space to deliver decent crosses throughout the game. Luckily for Spurs, nothing worked for the visiting strikers but certainly a problem to take note.
Still work to be done BUT Spurs still heading in the right direction under Mourinho.
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.
The humble one began his tenure as Spurs’ head coach with an away win at West Ham – Spurs first Premier League win on their travels for almost a year.
Jose Mourinho kept to his new image with these words post-match : "It’s not about me; it’s about the players and club. I will hate if somebody says ‘Jose made an impact.’ I made no impact. Nothing. I just helped them a little bit to win this match.“
Truth be told. Mourinho selected a team that echoed the best days of Pochettino’s Spurs. A 4-2-3-1 formation that crucially played Dele Alli behind Harry Kane in a number ten role. For 70s minutes at least, Spurs played the Hammers off the park, with a deserved commanding three goal lead.
By all accounts, Mourinho’s humble words rang true, the new coach did nothing radical. However, the difference in the players’ confidence and attitude was marked and in contrast to recent league form.
Noticeably, there was a whole lot of vim and zest about Dele Alli’s performance as he linked play brilliantly in Spurs’ offence. And while it is true that West Ham’s defending was shambolic, the home team had no answer for the cut and thrust of Spurs’ play.
Son Heung-Min, Lucas Moura and Harry Kane all profited from Alli’s Man of the Match performance with a three goal lead established early in the 2nd half. However, the fact that Spurs faded badly in the last 10 minutes will be a cause of concern (not to mention the concession of two goals) for Mourinho but there is time for him to fix that.
There is no doubt that this much-needed win bore the thumbprint of the best of Pochettino’s management, there is no doubt that despite his protestations to the contrary Jose Mourinho did indeed make an impact.
Lost for words. At half-time, three goals down in the tie, Spurs were down and out. But somehow the players dug deep and produced a miracle to claw back that deficit and win in the dying seconds.
The first goal in the 2nd half would be crucial for either side. If Ajax were to get that goal then it would really be game over. Instead the mercurial Lucas Moura scored twice in 4 minutes and suddenly Spurs just needed one more goal to win the tie, and with 30 minutes left.
Spurs certainly tried their best in that time remaining, riding their luck at times, as Ajax spurned good chances to put the tie to bed. Then a long hopeful ball from Moussa Sissoko was deflected by Fernando Llorente into the path of Dele Alli who slipped the ball to Moura and his finishing was clinical.
Silence in the Johan Cryuff Arena as the Ajax players collapsed onto the pitch, the Spurs players celebrated wildly and manager Mauricio Pochettino was visibly moved to tears.
How? A combination of good luck, Ajax’s naive arrogance and Spurs’ belief in themselves to force turn this impossible task their way. That is what wins games – the belief to keep going, never giving up and striking when the chance appears.
Seriously, did you expect Spurs to be contesting a Champions League semi-final, in the first place? Definitely not. So, for me everything after the miraculous Citeh victory is a bonus.
Not only that but Spurs started this game without Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son, Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko (he came on as a substitute). Thus, the problem areas were upfront and in central midfield.
Sadly, that was painfully obviously throughout the match, especially in an attacking sense as both Fernando Llorente and Lucas Moura did not have the necessary quality whatsoever to trouble the Ajax defence.
And to be honest, Pochettino got his tactics wrong yet again – going with a back three when Ajax played without a centre-forward. Our midfield was over-run and that cost us a goal. This has been a recurring problem – why does Pochettino’s team always start slowly? A real head scratcher.
Once again, the fault lies with Keiron Trippier’s utter lack of defensive nous allowing Neres the freedom of the pitch to begin a move which ended up with Van De Beek scoring an easy goal in the 15th minute. Spurs really need to buy a world-class right back in the summer – that is crucial.
At that point in time, it looked like Spurs were in for a hiding but to their credit, they at least managed to keep the scoreline down and not concede any more away goals. As the game wore on, despite improvements, it was clear – like against West Ham over the weekend – that the Spurs players had no clue in the final third.
The Spurs’ revival – such as it was – coincided with Sissoko coming on for the badly concussed Jan Vertonghen (what the fuck is going on with the injuries this season!), which forced Pochettino to change to a back four and the French midfielder gave Spurs that much needed control in the middle of the park.
Dele Alli has been the target for much criticism but it’s worth nothing that he is carrying an injury – a fractured hand and that might be playing on his mind as he has not been his free-wheeling self at all. Christian Eriksen tried his best but did not have much to work with, considering how poor Llorente and Moura were.
About Moura, surely he is not good enough in the long term. Yes, he has shown flashes of brilliance now and then but not consistently enough. I know Spurs fans rate him but to me Moura is only a slight upgrade from the usual clueless wingers we regularly get from the French league (Again, WHY?!!). Needs to be replaced as well.
If nothing else, the second half proved that with better quality upfront (and Son will be available), Spurs can get goals in Amsterdam to turn the tie. It is not over BUT we must get key players back to do so.
It was frustrating to watch, mainly because Spurs were basically like a blindfolded boxer with one arm tied behind his back. Imagine what could have been achieved with a full-strength team! Sigh, the story of this season…
If you had told me that Spurs would lose 1-2 at Anfield, I would not have been too surprised or too disappointed but once again, it was the manner of defeat that was hard to swallow.
In the first half, Spurs were second best and deservedly a goal down but the 2nd half saw Spurs take the game to title challenging Liverpool. When Spurs got their equaliser through Lucas Moura, nobody could argue that it was deserved on the balance of play.
In fact, Spurs could have – some might say should have – won the game when Spurs were 2 to 1 in a quick breakaway. Unfortunately, Moussa Sissoko was not even able to hit the target, never mind score.
And then disaster in the 90th, a hopeful Liverpool ball found Mo Salah in the penalty box and as he headed back across the goal, Hugo Lloris failed to gather the ball, it dropped onto Toby Alderweireld who inadvertently knocked the ball into his own net.
It is mystifying how Spurs – who had beaten Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund with such professionalism in the Champions League – were once again undone by late individual errors from international players. It beggars belief.
As painful as that loss was, Spurs are still in a good position to finish in the top four, especially with five of the last seven games remaining, being played at the new stadium. It’s all in our own hands.