Manchester City 3-0 Tottenham Hotspur
I guess only Jose Mourinho will know for sure whether he has run out of ideas or simply come across a conundrum to tough even for him, but the truth of the matter is that pressure, if only from the Tottenham Hotspur support, is mounting and according to several bookmakers, the proverbial managerial clock is ticking.
Tottenham’s latest setback, their fourth in five Premier League outings, might not have been too much of a surprise. After all, hosts Manchester City look all but set for their fifth top-flight title in the last decade. But once again, it was the manner of the defeat which was again a cause for concern.
Rodri fired City ahead from the penalty spot after Gundogan had been upended by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
Hugo Lloris had got a hand to the spot-kick, but he perhaps should have done better in dealing with Ilkay Gundogan’s effort five minutes after the restart. Then, the same man added icing to the cake with third, underlining the gulf between the two sides at this stage of the campaign.
Mourinho spoke of potential fatigue, which is a reasonable argument: “First of all I believe that this week was a very special week where we played Wednesday and Saturday,” he explained.
“I honestly don’t know why because if I’m not wrong Man City doesn’t play Tuesday or Wednesday in the Champions League. I think their Champions League match is next week – our game in the Europa League is on Thursday. Why did we play this game Saturday when we could play Sunday? But that’s a different question. There is no point in going in that direction.
Mourinho continued: “It is a special week also in that we played one hundred and twenty minutes, which was really difficult to play today again. I don’t think this is a situation that is going to happen many times during the season.
“Tomorrow is a day off for the players, a first day off for quite a long time and then we have three days until the Europa League match, which I believe is going to bring the players to normal level in terms of their physicality to play the next match.”
But an increasing number of fans will argue they have heard this all before and another season offering so much promise could end up as another pile of burnt ashes.
Tottenham Hotspur now turns their attention to the UEFA Europa League Round of Sixteen, where they will take on Austrian outfit, Wolfsberger in at the Puskás Aréna, Budapest, Hungary on Thursday, February 18 (5:55pm) in a first-leg tie.
Manchester City: Ederson, Cancelo, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko, Bernardo, Rodrigo, Gundogan (Torres 69’), Sterling (Capt), Jesus (Mahrez 79’), Foden Subs not used: Steffen, Walker, Dias, Aguero, Mendy, Garcia, Doyle.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris (Capt), Tanganga, Sanchez, Dier, Davies, Hojbjerg, Ndombele (Dele 64’), Lamela (Bale 72’), Lucas (Sissoko 46’), Son, Kane Subs not used: Hart, Doherty, Alderweireld, Winks, Bergwijn, Vinicius.
Referee: Paul Tierney
Assistants: Lee Betts and Ian Hussin
Fourth Official: Craig Pawson
VAR: Peter Bankes
Assistant VAR: Neil Davies.