Tottenham beat Manchester City 2-0 on Saturday to take the lead in the English Premier League with a trademark performance, first in defense, from Jose Mourinho against former rivals Pep Guardiola.
Mourinho has scored a year since replacing Mauricio Pochettino as Tottenham manager with a victory built on compact defense and cleverly timed counterattacks, as Guardiola tasted defeat in his first game since the signing of a two-year contract extension at City.
“We know how good Pep’s teams are and how good the players are,” Mourinho told Sky Sports. “We found a way to play and it was wonderful to see them play the way they did.
Tottenham took the lead in the fifth minute when City’s two center-backs followed Harry Kane. This opened up a lot of room for Son Heung-min to grab a tanguy Ndombele loft pass and score. Kane put the ball into the net shortly thereafter but was offside.
City had an overwhelming share of possession but didn’t accomplish much with him except for an unauthorized goal for Aymeric Laporte after Gabriel Jesus controlled the ball with his arm in the buildup.
Giovani Lo Celso stretched Tottenham’s lead less than 30 seconds after coming off the bench when Kane played him to score on a 65th-minute counterattack. Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris reacted quickly to push Ruben Dias back late.
Leicester, third, can pass over Tottenham if they beat Liverpool’s fourth place on Sunday.
Man City are eight points behind Tottenham.
“We’re a long way from where we want to be, we have to start winning. We want to be there until the end, ”Guardiola told Sky Sports. “It’s a strange season, for a lot of reasons, and we have to start raising the players.”
Mourinho has said Tottenham could be without defender Toby Alderweireld for some time after being substituted in the 81st minute in what the Portuguese coach called a “significant injury”.
Both clubs paid tribute to former England goalkeeper Ray Clemence ahead of kick-off with a minute-long applause. Tottenham players wore black armbands for their former goalkeeper, who won trophies with Tottenham and Liverpool. Clémence’s death was announced last weekend at age 72.