*Sheffield United sweep Mourinho’s Spurs
Manchester City, smarting from losing their title, unleashed their frustration on the side who took it from them and they must wonder how Jürgen Klopp’s side had arrived 23 points ahead of them.
Pep Guardiola’s stance is that his side must prove itself each time it takes the field and his players walked the manager’s talk on a night when the still reigning European champions were given a schooling, reports The Guardian.
Raheem Sterling was his team’s star turn scoring in each half while also creating the opener in what augurs nicely for City’s upcoming Champions League campaign.
A smattering of City fans had “greeted‚ Liverpool’s coach with some choice invective ahead of a guard of honour from the team dethroned as champions by their visitors.
Guardiola’s XI was strong – Ilkay Gündogan preferred over David or Bernardo Silva to partner Kevin De Bruyne in midfield. Klopp’s side was the same as trounced Crystal Palace 4-0 last time out, as Liverpool bid to claim the next three points in the quest to beat City’s 100-point record, set in the title triumph of two years ago.
The contest had a sharpness. Sterling and Gabriel Jesus burst in behind Liverpool, while Sadio Mané was released by a crossfield Trent Alexander-Arnold ball. De Bruyne next fed Phil Foden, saw the latter foiled by Andrew Robertson, and when the ball came to the Belgian his shot crashed off the left-back.
Meanwhile, José Mourinho rightly condemned the damage being done to “the beautiful game” by VAR but he has more to fear than the killjoys of Stockley Park on the evidence of Tottenham’s defeat at Sheffield United.
Mentally, defensively and creatively, Spurs were second best and are in danger of finishing outside the top six for the first time since 2009.
Mourinho attacked the VAR decision that disallowed an equaliser for Harry Kane at Bramall Lane, naturally, but he did not camouflage its impact on his brittle players.
Spurs lost their composure and fight after Michael Oliver’s decision and were sliced apart by Chris Wilder’s wing‑backs as United leap-frogged the visitors in the pursuit of European qualification.
All three of United’s goals came from the flanks and on all three occasions the Spurs defence was found wanting badly. Oli McBurnie, who sealed victory, embodied the heart and commitment that his opponents lacked.
“We have to be mentally stronger to cope with what happened during the game,” Mourinho said. “We cannot mentally die after Michael Oliver gives a decision. I know it is very difficult to take but we have to be stronger. I know more about the profile of my players now and at half-time I feared we wouldn’t be strong enough to cope in the second half.”
United had toiled since the season restart, scoring only once in four games without a win, but this was a solid return to pre-lockdown form. There was urgency and aggression to the hosts’ attacking play from the first whistle, allied to a disciplined defensive shape and fierce work ethic that also underpinned the improvement. Were these not once the hallmarks of a Mourinho team?
Mourinho said: “I never complain to the man with the whistle because he is not the referee any more. I used to complain but now the man on the pitch is the assistant referee and today the man and lady with the flags are the assistant of the assistant referees. The referee is in the office. And when the referee is not good on the pitch you can’t expect them to be good in the office. We are going in a really bad direction for the beautiful game everyone fell in love with.”
Man City 5 – 0 Liverpool
Sheffield Utd 3 – 0 Spurs