Football

Mourinho makes instant impact

Son Heung-min opened the scoring for Tottenham.

Son Heung-min opened the scoring for Tottenham.   | Photo Credit: Frank Augstein

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Tottenham gets a much-needed victory

Jose Mourinho delivered Tottenham’s first away win in the English Premier League since January in his first game in charge with a 3-2 win at West Ham to catapult Spurs up to sixth.

Son Heung-min, Lucas Moura and Harry Kane got the goals as Mourinho made an instant impact after replacing the sacked Mauricio Pochettino on Wednesday.

A much-needed three points will help to endear Mourinho to a skeptical Spurs support who were sad to see Pochettino’s five-and-a-half year spell in charge of the club end just six months after leading the club to a first ever Champions League final.

There was no love lost between Mourinho’s Chelsea sides and Tottenham in the past, but his arrival had the desired impact for Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, even if a West Ham team devoid of confidence made for perfect opponents.

Mourinho followed Pochettino’s example in leaving out Christan Eriksen with the Dane one of a number of Spurs players into the final months of his contract and showing no signs of agreeing a new deal.

The coach’s decision to field a front four of Dele Alli with Son, Moura and Kane worked.

Barcelona sneaks past Leganes

In the La Liga, Barcelona needed a late winner from Arturo Vidal to beat bottom-club Leganes 2-1 on Saturday and dig out a much-needed victory ahead of what could prove a crucial month in its season.

Vidal poked in a fortuitous goal in the 79th minute at Butarque after Luis Suarez headed home a Lionel Messi free-kick to cancel out a brilliant opener from Leganes forward Youssef En-Nesyri.

A gritty win will also come as a relief to under-pressure coach Ernesto Valverde, whose team now turn their attention to Wednesday’s crunch Champions League group game against Borussia Dortmund at Camp Nou.

A goalless draw against Slavia Prague earlier this month means Barca’s qualification from Group F is no longer guaranteed.

After Dortmund, it plays away at Atletico Madrid in La Liga to start a month that will include trips to Inter Milan in the Champions League and Real Sociedad in La Liga before the season’s first Clasico at home to Real Madrid.

It was important therefore to avoid a slip against Leganes, playing its first game in front of its own fans since appointing Javier Aguirre as coach.

Reus rescues Dortmund

On Friday, Borussia Dortmund captain Marco Reus scored a stoppage-time equaliser as it dragged itself back from 3-0 down to rescue a 3-3 draw against promoted Paderborn, but it still suffered a dent to its Bundesliga title hopes.

The results:

EPL: West Ham 2 (Antonio 73, Ogbonna 90+6) lost to Tottenham 3 (Son 36, Moura 43, Kane 49).

La Liga: Leganes 1 (En-Nesyri 12) lost to Barcelona 2 (Suarez 53, Vidal 79).

On Friday: La Liga: Levante 2 (Roger 52, Rochina 73) bt Mallorca 1 (Rodriguez 65).

Bundesliga: Borussia Dortmund 3 (Sancho 47, Witsel 84, Reus 90+3) drew with Paderborn 3 (Mamba 5, 37, Holtmann 43).

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Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 5:32:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/mourinho-makes-instant-impact/article30063154.ece

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