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JOSE MOURINHO made a triumphant return to football management on Saturday, watching his Tottenham side comprehensively defeat a struggling West Ham outfit.
The “special one” was clearly glad to be back, recalling going to football games during the last 11 months he has been out of the game, wondering “what am I doing here?”
“I am now back in my natural habitat,” said a beaming Mourinho, who felt his team were “brilliant” for the first hour.
Mourinho was also glad to see Dele Alli back to something like his best.
“It was like the old Dele Alli of a couple of years ago. He did exactly what I wanted him to do offensively and defensively,” said Mourinho.
Alli had a hand in making the first two Spurs goals. He played Heung Son Min in down the left, with the striker then cutting in and firing his shot across the hapless Roberto.
Then an exquisite back heel from down the line from Alli sent Son away. His cross was met by the incoming Lucas Moura, who drove the ball home.
West Ham were playing like a team devoid of all confidence, continually needlessly giving the ball away, thereby increasing the pressure on themselves.
The home team’s fortunes improved in the second half, with the introduction of Michail Antonio, whose searing pace caused Spurs some problems.
The half, though, was only a few minutes old when Serge Aurier crossed from deep on the right for Harry Kane to get in front of the defender and head home.
West Ham only really seemed to wake up in the final 20 minutes. Antonio was rewarded for his hard work, when the ball fell to him in the penalty area. A quick feint wrong-footed the defender, allowing Antonio to drive home.
West Ham scored another goal in the 89th minute when Declan Rice knocked the ball home from an Angelo Ogbonna header. But the goal was ruled out for offside, following a VAR re-examination.
The second West Ham goal did arrive in the sixth minute of injury time, when Ogbonna drove home a Robert Snodgrass corner.
West Ham Manager Manuel Pellegrini admitted his team are struggling but did not seem unduly fazed by the recent bad run of results. “When you don’t have the result you want, you must trust more than ever. Our players never gave up, they continued to fight until the last minute. The moment we have the first winning result the pressure will be gone,” said Pellegrini.
The West Ham manager must be beginning to feel the pressure himself though, especially with former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino now looking for a new club.
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