In the first-half we saw why Jose Mourinho got the Tottenham job; in the second, why he wanted it.
Sloppy, sluggish and complacent, became vibrant, skilful and energised; two goals down became 4-2 up. What Mourinho knows he must achieve from here is greater consistency.
It cannot be that two Tottenhams turn up in the same campaign, or on the same night. On one hand, Harry Kane is the quickest player to 20 goals in the Champions League, reaching that milestone in 24 matches, two fewer than Alessandro Del Piero, the Juventus legend.
Equally, Tottenham are the only English team in history to concede nine goals at home in the tournament’s group stage. Mourinho has been brought in to level out these rollercoaster highs and lows. Whisper it, but Tottenham could do with becoming a tad more predictable.
Still, the new manager hadn’t even taken his first training session this time last week. Now he’s won two games, scored seven goals, secured a berth in the last-16 of the Champions League and negated a tricky final group stage fixture away to Bayern Munich. He’d have settled for that, no doubt – as would Mauricio Pochettino.
Significantly, he’s getting a tune out of some very important players here, too. Dele Alli has been revitalised while Serge Aurier was arguably Tottenham’s man of the match – and it’s not often one can say that. A special mention, too, for the anonymous ball boy whose quick thinking chimed perfectly with Mourinho’s mind set and helped Tottenham draw level after 50 minutes.
If the goal scored just before half-time laid the ground for the second-half comeback, it was scoring so quickly after half-time they made Tottenham almost certain winners. Once level, their class, their supremacy was evident.
So all hail one whip smart young man. When the ball went out, it was he who spotted Olympiacos in a state of organisational disarry, chucking the ball swiftly for Aurier to recycle it. His throw then put Lucas Moura away, cutting the ball back for the prolific Kane to show why Mourinho rates him among Europe’s greatest goalscorers.
Having looked lost after 20 minutes, now there was only going to be one winner. Mourinho gave the ball boy a big hug of appreciation and, bless him, he blushed.
Yet the manager was right, for here was the game-changer. In the 73rd minute some delightful skill from Alli ended with a cross flicked on by Son Heung-min. Olympiacos were slow to react but Aurier wasn’t – his first time shot flew across goalkeeper Jose Sa and into the net, the reward his performance deserved and his first goal for the club since playing Tranmere in the FA Cup last January. (MAIL)
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