Having replaced Mauricio Pochettino on Wednesday as head coach of Tottenham Hotspur, Mourinho had an immediate impact as goals from Heung-Min Son, Lucas Moura and Harry Kane secured a 3-2 win for Spurs in a London derby against West Ham United in the Portuguese’s first game in charge.
Michail Antonio’s second-half strike and a stoppage-time goal from Angelo Ogbonna reduced the deficit for West Ham, but Spurs’ first away win since January moved them up to sixth in the Premier League table, though the London team dropped to ninth after Saturday’s later games.
“I was very happy for an hour,” Mourinho told BT Sport. “Playing well, we were bringing things to the game we had trained on a little bit but we spoke a lot about it.
“I think we are lucky that I have so many years of Premier League experience that I told the players at half-time: ‘Even if the score is 3-0, on the 85th minute, the game will be open.’
“But for the last 20 minutes, fatigue came in. Coming from their national teams. All the emotions, losing their manager, another one comes, start working with me.
“The most important thing was to win. Doesn’t matter how, the three points were fundamental for us.”
A changed man
All the charisma and charm that was usually associated with Mourinho seemed to have ebbed away during his time at Old Trafford.
But following a break away from the game — during which he spent time as a Sky Sports pundit — the 56-year-old seems revitalized.
That iconic twinkle in his eye was back in his introductory media conference on Thursday — during which he called himself the “Humble One.”
His new found energy looked to have rubbed off on his Tottenham players, who had arguably looked lethargic in Pochettino’s final few games at the helm.
Son’s opening goal in the 36th minute after good work by Dele Alli had Spurs purring and the lead was doubled before half-time as Moura prodded home.
Talismanic striker Kane made it three just after the break, wrapping up the three points for Mourinho.
Saturday’s victory means Mourinho’s Spurs have won as many points in this game as Pochettino mustered in his final 12 away Premier League games with Tottenham.
“It’s been a tough week for us emotionally, but we knew we had a job to do,” Tottenham midfielder Alli told BT Sport.
“We had to perform for the club and our fans, and we had to make sure we got the three points.”
Elsewhere, Liverpool maintained its eight-point lead at the top of the table with a 2-1 victory at Crystal Palace.
The London team thought it had taken the lead in the 43rd minute but James Tomkins’ close-range finish was ruled out in another controversial VAR decision.
Sadio Mane’s instinctive shot put the league leaders ahead in the second half, though Wilfried Zaha’s first goal of the season looked to have secured Palace a point.
However, Liverpool’s campaign has marked by late goals and this time it was Roberto Firmino who popped up to grab an 85th-minute winner following a goalmouth scramble.