Jose Mourinho got a real taste of the size of the job he faces at Tottenham, and fans a taste of their new manager’s incredible influence, as his side came from 2-0 down to beat Olympiacos 4-2 in north London and reach the last 16 of the Champions League.
Liverpool's final performance never hit the heights of earlier in the competition, but few Reds fans will care after an early Mo Salah penalty and late Divock Origi strike saw Tottenham beaten 2-0 in Saturday evening’s far from classico Champions League final at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid.
Tottenham’s final season at White Hart Lane brought them 18 wins from 19 games, and their first time back on the same site, albeit refurbished to the tune of more than a billion euros, brought another victory, their first in six league games, and a return to third place in the Premier League.
The 24th change in top place in the Premier League did not come without the predictable healthy dose of nerve-shredding drama as Mohamed Salah’s 90th minute header forced Toby Alderweireld to turn the ball into his own goal, gifting Liverpool a sorely-needed victory.
The debate surrounding a succession of contentious decisions will prolong the fallout from the latest North London derby yet while Arsenal left Wembley Stadium convinced they would have been worthy recipients of all three points, it was Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur side who gained most from the stalemate.
As if Tottenham’s task in trying to qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League is not hard enough, Mauricio Pochettino has to contend with an injury situation that means rookie right-back Kyle Walker-Peters will be thrown in against Lionel Messi and his Barcelona team-mates in the Nou Camp tonight.
Three goals from across that spectrum between ‘sublime’ and ‘ridiculous’ gave Tottenham their first away victory over Chelsea in almost 30 years, and allayed any fears that the Premier League champions might catch their London rivals in the race for continental qualification.
Harry Kane headed a late winner and Dele Alli found himself at the centre of another diving controversy. There was a distinct sense it was business as usual for Tottenham Hotspur at Selhurst Park as Mauricio Pochettino’s side moved into the top four.
The elation felt by Manchester United fans following the double drama of Jose Mourinho’s new contract and Alexis Sanchez’s arrival in transfer deadline week is already over after Tottenham ruthlessly exposed their defensive problems in a deserved victory at Wembley.
There was a feeling in the thickening Manchester air that Tottenham might give City a difficult time, that here was a team of talent and character that might just stand toe-to-toe and offer us all some more ideas about just how good City are.
When one thinks of managerial spats in the Premier League, it is usually Jose Mourinho, Arsene Wenger, or Pep Guardiola, but now we have a new contest on the cards: in the blue corner, Big Sam Allardyce, the heavyweight from Dudley, against Marco Silva, the Portuguese middleweight.
One hopes the TV lip-reader was right: “When you’ve won the Premier League, let me know.” That, allegedly, is what Ashley Young said to Spurs’ Alli during a set-to on Saturday. In the “show-us-yer-medals” culture that is English football, there is no effective rejoinder to that.