Jose Mourinho’s position as Tottenham manager is under further scrutiny after a damaging 2-1 defeat at West Ham on Sunday.
Spurs have now lost five of their last six league games to fall nine points off the pace in the battle for a top-four finish. They are now ninth in the table but Mourinho still believes his coaching methods are the best in the world.
“The results are the consequences of multiple situations in football. Mine and my coaching staff methods are second to nobody in the world,” said a defiant Mourinho.
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“Our potential is higher than where we are so there is frustration.”
Mourinho’s men were undone by a slow start to each half at the London Stadium.
Michail Antonio opened the scoring after just five minutes before the rejuvenated Jesse Lingard smashed home the third goal of his loan spell from Manchester United two minutes into the second half.
Tottenham rallied after Lucas Moura’s powerful header pulled a goal back. Gareth Bale impressed in his appearance as a second-half substitute as he thundered a long-range strike against the bar.
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“He’s some player. He’s been absolutely brilliant in this second half – so direct and full of quality,” former West Ham striker Dean Ashton said, per talkSPORT.
“He whipped that ball with a brilliant technique to get a lovely top spin on the ball.
“He’s made such a difference. What the introduction has done is suddenly West Ham have a big issue. They’re got a threat down the left and right now.”
Mourinho though branded it too much of a risk, saying post-game: “To start today would be too much for him and a risk. He is more confident. He is starting to be more intense. He was good in the second half.”
Son Heung-min also struck the post in the dying stages after the ball rebounded off the South Korean, but West Ham held on to move into fourth.
“We are enjoying it but are also not going to be daft,” said Hammers boss David Moyes, who enjoyed his first win over Mourinho in 16 attempts. “We will keep calm and hopefully keep pushing the teams at the top.”
RUTHLESS CITY HOLD OUT ARSENAL
Manchester City moved a step closer to the Premier League title as Raheem Sterling’s early goal gave the runaway leaders a 1-0 win against Arsenal on Sunday.
Pep Guardiola’s side made it 18 successive victories in all competitions thanks to Sterling’s second-minute header at the Emirates Stadium.
With 13 games left, City are 10 points clear of second-placed Leicester, who had closed the gap to seven with a 2-1 win at Aston Villa earlier on Sunday.
City have equalled the club record of 11 successive away victories in all competitions, set from May to November 2017.
They are the first top-flight team to win their opening 11 league matches in a calendar year.
Storming towards a third title in four seasons, City have won 13 consecutive league matches and are unbeaten in 25 games in all competitions since a defeat at Tottenham in November.
With the victory, City have now picked up more Premier League points in 2021 (33) than Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal combined.
Incredibly, that was the last time they trailed in any league fixture. Guardiola’s men weren’t even at their best on their return to north London, but they still had enough in the locker to hand Arsenal a third defeat in their last four league games.
Borussia Monchengladbach have the next chance to stop City’s incredible winning streak in the Champions League last-16 first leg on Wednesday.
If anyone would have the secret to stopping City’s march to the title, it might have been Gunners boss Mikel Arteta.
The Spaniard served as Guardiola’s City assistant before taking charge of Arsenal last season.
But Arteta had to make changes as several of his players were fatigued after their midweek Europa League draw in Benfica.
VILLA SUFFER WITHOUT GREALISH
Leicester are determined not to make the same mistakes of last season when they let a huge lead over Manchester United and Chelsea slip away and missed out on Champions League football on the final day of the campaign.
The Foxes now enjoy a six-point cushion over Chelsea in fifth thanks to a flying start against a Villa side who badly missed injured captain Jack Grealish.
James Maddison could be the beneficiary if Grealish’s leg injury forces him to miss England’s World Cup qualifiers next month and he continued his fine scoring form with a low drive that clipped the inside of the post.
Leicester were 2-0 up inside 23 minutes as Harvey Barnes then pounced after Emiliano Martinez saved from Jamie Vardy.
Villa were handed a lifeline three minutes into the second half when Bertrand Traore swept home Matt Targett’s cross, but lacked the creative spark for which they rely on Grealish to find an equaliser.
Victory for Brendan Rodgers’s men cuts Manchester City’s lead at the top to seven points ahead of their visit to Arsenal later on Sunday.
Manchester United can also reclaim second on goal difference when they host Newcastle.
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