Key men emerge, ace in from the cold: 5 things learnt from Mourinho’s first Spurs game – opinion

This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…

Jose Mourinho took charge of Tottenham Hotspur for the first time since his appointment following the sacking of Mauricio Pochettino earlier this week on Saturday.

Spurs ran out 3-2 winners over West Ham United at the London Stadium and actually took a 3-0 lead against their London rivals.

Goals from Son Heung-Min, Lucas Moura and Harry Kane, though, gave the north London club their first away league win since January, when they defeated Fulham, who were eventually relegated from the Premier League.

Here are five things we learned from the ex-Manchester United and Real Madrid manager’s first game in charge…

Dier a key figure

Eric Dier started in midfield alongside Harry Winks and one has to imagine that such selection choices will continue throughout Mourinho’s reign.

He tried to sign the former Sporting Lisbon midfielder during his time at Manchester United and it is easy to see why.

Per WhoScored, he won nine aerial duels throughout the 90 minutes, won one tackle and also made three clearances along with one interception.

It was a strong performance from a man who could benefit immensely from Mourinho’s appointment; before this, he had played just three times in the league under Pochettino.

Dele Alli is back

An excellent clip shared online showed Mourinho shouting “that is you Dele, that is you” after Dele Alli’s excellent involvement in Spurs’ second goal.

The England international looked to have lost possession on the flank but he somehow kept it on with a sublime flick that led to the cross from which Lucas Moura scored his side’s second goal.

Throughout the game, he had two shots on goal, won four tackles and registered two key passes, per WhoScored.

He scored just five goals last season under Pochettino in a season that pointed to a potential drifting of his potential; under Mourinho the signs are good that he could be inching back to his very best.

Spurs still need to learn to see leads out

Spurs were 3-0 up at the London Stadium and looked on course for a genuinely comfortable victory.

Indeed, when Lucas sprinted clear of the Hammers defence and was left one-on-one with Roberto, a 4-0 lead seemed nailed-on.

Instead, he scuffed the effort, leaving Mourinho with a wry smile, and the visitors went on to concede twice; Michail Antonio and Angelo Ogbonna both scored, with the latter coming in the sixth minute of added time.

The second goal was particularly egregious; the Italian was left unmarked in the area from a corner and powered a header past Paulo Gazzaniga.

Mourinho did not look particularly happy at the end of the 90 minutes but perhaps that could be a good thing; he knows that this team has plenty of things to work on.

Lucas could be key

Lucas Moura appeared to have a complicated relationship with previous manager Pochettino.

Of course, he scored that hat-trick against Ajax in the Champions League semi-final second leg last season but he swiftly found himself dropped for the final and he had made just four league starts under the Argentine this term.

However, having been restored to the XI by Mourinho, Lucas enjoyed an excellent performance.

Per WhoScored, he scored Spurs’ second goal, completed three dribbles, registered one key pass, and made three tackles in a performance that will have filled his new manager with the hope that he could become a key member of this team.

Of course, it must be said that he missed an absolute sitter when one-on-one with Roberto but he was in the position and that is a promising sign by itself.

Sissoko must stay benched

Moussa Sissoko had started every league game under Pochettino but Mourinho opted to bench him on Saturday and, after his disastrous cameo display it is easy to see why.

He was introduced with eight minutes of normal time remaining for Lucas but was a genuine liability in the centre.

As soon as he came on, he lost the ball and he did not manage to complete a single pass, per WhoScored.

He was also dribbled past once, did not complete a dribble of his own and had just seven touches in total.

Admittedly, judging a player on less than 10 minutes of action may seem harsh, but he did nothing to change Mourinho’s mind regarding his selection in future matches.

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