Mourinho remains calm over top-four talk

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Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Manchester City – Reaction

JOSE MOURINHO refused to be drawn in on talk of a top-four finish despite overseeing Spurs’ dramatic 2-0 Premier League victory over Champions Manchester City at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Second-half goals from new boy Steven Bergwijn and Heung-Min Son swiftly followed the dismissal of City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko. However, the drama had unfolded much earlier with the VAR-assisted award of a penalty to the visitors, some four minutes after referee, Mike Dean, had dismissed the incident involving Sergio Aguero and Serge Aurier.
Hugo Lloris saved the subsequent spot-kick from Ilkay Gündogan. However, City immediately wanted another penalty after Raheem Sterling clash with Lloris while following up.

The whole incident left the crowd of more than 61,000 clearly bemused and despite Mourinho playing down the whole pantomime, he did suggest that Sterling shouldn’t have been involved come that time following a late challenge on Dele Alli in the opening moments.

“Look if the ball doesn’t go out it doesn’t go out – If the ball doesn’t go out for three minutes or ten minutes, you have to play,” the Spurs chief explained.

“Then when it’s out, the decision is to be made, but the right decision – not the wrong decision. The more time the ball is in play, the more time the VAR has to watch replays, replays and replays.

“One more reason to give the right decision, but the game started immediately with the wrong decision. It’s a red card, it’s a direct red card to Sterling.”

The result lifted Tottenham into fifth place, four points behind Chelsea on a significant weekend where several rivals missed opportunities.

“It’s four points from Chelsea but it’s maybe one point to Sheffield – two points to United – two points to Wolves – we look up and we also look down,” the Portuguese added.

“I look to my team, I look to my squad with the problems we had with injuries. It’s going to be hard. If we lose Dele Alli I cannot imagine, I don’t know.

“I know that the players were fantastic – I know they are ready to give everything like they did, but I really don’t know. Let’s go. Match after match. We’ve got a difficult one now, the FA Cup in two days – let’s see, but I’m so, so pleased for the boys and the fans too.”

Steven Bergwijn marked his debut with a stunning goal and Mourinho was quick to praise the input from the Dutch winger: “It was a debut goal that was the icing on the cake of a very good performance. Independent of the goal, I would say his performance was very good, very solid, very mature.

“We worked hard during the week. He came to us on Tuesday so he had a complete week to work and to try as fast as possible to understand what we wanted from him.

“Such a very solid performance against such a difficult opponent like Kyle Walker, but then he was clever enough to appear in other zones and try to create some problems for City.

“So a very good performance – also defensively very aware of his position, defending zonal, covering spaces. Very good and then, of course, the goal is a great goal. It’s so important for us.”

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Brian Jeeves

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