LONDON, United Kingdom, Nov 30 – Jose Mourinho’s perfect start as Tottenham manager stretched to three games as Spurs saw off Bournemouth 3-2 thanks to Dele Alli’s double on Saturday.
Recovering Alli’s form of old was one of Mourinho’s stated priorities when taking charge last week and it is already paying dividends as the England international has now scored three times in three games under Mourinho.
Moussa Sissoko scored his first goal for over two years in emphatic fashion on the volley from Son Heung-min’s cross to make it 3-0 before two goals from substitute Harry Wilson gave Bournemouth late hope of a dramatic comeback.
“I’m happy with many things in the game and I think we have to improve other aspects, which is normal,” said Mourinho, whose side move up to fifth in the Premier League and within six points of a return to the top four.
“We didn’t start well again, we didn’t finish well, but we played well for a long, long period in the game. I’m pleased with the victory, the points, the flair and the quality of the goals.”
Often criticised for an overly negative approach throughout his managerial career, Mourinho has now overseen 16 goals in his first three games in charge.
That includes conceding twice in all three games, but Mourinho’s risk in exposing his midfield with Alli playing so high just behind Harry Kane has also reaped plenty of reward in his first two weeks in charge.
“For me Dele is not a midfield player, he is a player to play like he is playing, close to Harry. I think this is the best positon for him,” added Mourinho.
“He’s the best thing that can happen to a coach because everybody speaks about him, you (media), the fans speak about him for the right reasons.
“He’s playing really, really, really well and I could not ask any more from him.”
– Spurs click into gear –
Alli and Kane combined to create Spurs’ first chance after an unsettled start as Son scampered clear on goal, but the South Korean dragged his shot just wide.
Son was more accurate with his next involvement as he was picked out perfectly by Toby Alderweireld’s pass in behind the Bournemouth defence and his cushioned touch left Alli with the simple task of tapping home his first goal of the match.
Spurs then clicked into gear as Kane’s fiercely struck near-post shot was parried by Aaron Ramsdale, before Davinson Sanchez fired home only to be penalised for handling the ball as he controlled Sissoko’s shot.
Five minutes into the second half the second goal did arrive for the hosts when another pinpoint long ball from Alderweireld was cushioned by Alli on his chest before he sat Ramsdale down and dinked the ball over the advancing goalkeeper.
That was Alli’s fifth goal in his last nine games after a 21-match streak between January and October without one for club and country.
And he should have had a hat-trick before the hour mark as Serge Aurier’s cross found its way through to him unmarked at the back post, but this time Alli’s curling finish was too high.
Spurs’ third was the pick of the bunch as Son burst down the left and picked out Sissoko in the middle for the Frenchman to smash on the volley back across Ramsdale into the far corner.
A first clean sheet of his reign would have rounded off a perfect day for Mourinho, but the Spurs defence was breached 17 minutes from time when set-piece specialist Wilson curled in a brilliant free-kick.
Wilson struck again deep into stoppage time to set up a grandstand finish and Jan Vertonghen needed to make a last-ditch challenge to deny Callum Wilson an equaliser with the final attack of the game.