November 23, 2019 / 2:49 PM / 20 days ago

Spurs sparkle on Mourinho's happy return

LONDON (Reuters) - Jose Mourinho got off to the best possible start as Tottenham Hotspur manager as his new side beat West Ham United 3-2 at London Stadium on Saturday — their first Premier League away win in 10 months.

Soccer Football - Premier League - West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur - London Stadium, London, Britain - November 23, 2019 Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho speaks with Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane and Harry Winks after the match Action Images via Reuters/Tony O'Brien

First-half goals from Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura and another after the break from Harry Kane — his 175th for the club — inflicted West Ham’s fifth league defeat in seven games and piled more pressure on manager Manuel Pellegrini whose side sit close to the drop zone.

Mourinho, however, will not be happy with the way Spurs conceded two late goals as substitute Michail Antonio and Angelo Ogbonna capitalised on familiar errors in a defence that has kept just one league clean sheet all season.

After Kane had an early effort ruled out for offside, Son put the visitors ahead on 36 minutes, sweeping by Papa Diop and firing past West Ham’s unconvincing keeper Roberto for his sixth goal in as many games.

Mourinho, returning to English football after 11 months, punched the air in celebration and his mood improved further before the break when an outrageous scooped pass from Dele Alli freed Son on the left.

The South Korean’s inviting cross was forced home at the back post by Moura, who was one of three changes on Mourinho’s first teamsheet.

Kane was completely unmarked to head home Tottenham’s third on 49 minutes and move third on Spurs’ list of all-time scorers, behind Jimmy Greaves (266) and Bobby Smith (208).

Substitute Antonio conjured an excellent individual effort to lift the home side on 74 minutes, with Ogbonna netting their second deep into stoppage-time after VAR had disallowed a Declan Rice effort.

But the final scoreline flattered West Ham, who looked second best for much of a game in which they made too many basic errors.

Alli admitted the Spurs players had found Mauricio Pochettino’s sudden departure last week difficult to deal with.

“It’s been a very tough week for us emotionally,” he said. “We’ve spent a long time with Pochettino and we were very sad but we had a job to do. We had to go out for the fans and try and stay as positive as we can.”

Alli justified Mourinho’s faith with a fine performance and was hugged warmly by his manager as he left the field.

“I think I have been performing well so far this season but I need to get better than my old form and get to my best,” said Alli.

“We have to carry on momentum and keep winning, we need to start that from now. There is still a lot to work on and we need to improve from now on.”

Pellegrini was pleased by his team’s fightback.

“My players never give up. They keep fighting all the way to the end of the game. The moment we get a win under our belts things will change,” he said.

Reporting by Neil Robinson, editing by Ed Osmond

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