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Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Manchester City
It was a Mourinho masterclass. Minimal possession, out-shot more than five to one, but ultimately, only one stat matters to Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese boss and the three points gleaned from this victory over Manchester City marked a significant acid test passed with flying colours.
Heung-Min Son cooly dispatched Tanguy Ndombele’s pass within five minutes, while second-half substitute, Giovani lo Celso fizzed beyond Ederson to double the Lilywhites advantage just over half a minute after joining the action.
It was another timely reminder that Spurs have evolved, learned to win a different way and for the time being, it took them back to the top of the Premier League.
Whether Spurs can sustain the challenge will always be open to debate as well as scoffed at in N7 and SW6. But Mourinho shows no signs of a man particularly worried.
“I prefer to be top of the league then second, third or fourth, but it’s not an obsession,” the Lilywhites chief explained.
“It’s not a problem for me if tomorrow Leicester wins and goes top of the league. It’s not a problem at all.
“I just want to win my game which is what we keep saying since the beginning of the season. We want to win the next match. I don’t care about the table, I don’t care about the opponents, about the competition.
“I want to win the next match and go to every game with the players believing and organised in a way that we can beat that opponent.”
Mourinho was clearly happy with direction and momentum constructed during his first year in charge but insisted his side are still a work in process, adding: “We are a process. This team is a process in place – good signs of evolution at every level.
“We are very happy with that of course but I don’t care too much about the table.
“It’s just a good feeling to go home tonight and obviously be top of the league is a good feeling.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris (Capt), Aurier, Alderweireld (Rodon 81’), Dier, Reguilon, Hojbjerg, Sissoko, Son, Ndombele (Lo Celso 65’), Bergwijn (Lucas 73’), Kane Subs not used: Hart, Davies, Bale, Vinicius.
Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo, De Bruyne (Capt), Rodrigo, Bernardo Silva (Foden 72’), Mahrez (Sterling 72’), Jesus, Torres Subs not used: Steffen, Stones, Gundogan, Aguero, Garcia.
Referee: Mike Dean
Assistants: Darren Cann and Dan Robathan
Fourth Official: Andy Madley
VAR: Kevin Friend
Assistant VAR: Adrian Holmes