LONDON (AP) – A season that provided the flickers of a title challenge is now turning into the worst of Jose Mourinho’s managerial career. Of all the managers to inflict Tottenham’s 10th loss of the Premier League season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer replaced Mourinho at Manchester United. Maybe that explains why Mourinho was so irritated with Solskjaer after a 3-1 home loss saw Tottenham fall six points from a fourth place, which is occupied by West Ham again after the east London club beat Leicester 3-2 on Sunday.
The post-match focus at Tottenham was less on Edinson Cavani’s diving header that put second-place United 2-1 in front and more on the circumstances that denied the forward the game’s opening goal.
Cavani had slotted through Hugo Lloris’ legs after the ball was rolled into his path by Paul Pogba. But then the goal was ruled out after a lengthy VAR review penalized Scott McTominay for a push on Son Heung-min, who went tumbling to the ground. “The game has gone … if that’s a clear and obvious error,” Solskjaer said. “We shouldn’t be conned, but I have to say if my son stays down like this for three minutes … and he needs his 10 mates to help him up, he won’t get any food.”
Mourinho bristled at Solskjaer’s criticism of Son, who did go on to break the deadlock in the 40th minute.
“Sonny is fortunate that his father is a better person than Ole because I think a father you always have to feed their kids, it doesn’t matter what they do,” Mourinho said. “If you steal to feed your kids, you steal. I am very, very disappointed. Like we say in Portuguese, ‘Bread is bread, cheese is cheese.’ I told Ole what I think about his comments.” After discovering what Solskjaer had said in a TV interview and quickly challenging him, Mourinho was disappointed not to be asked for his reaction in the news conference.
“Unfortunately, you don’t ask me about it,” Mourinho said. “It’s unfortunate you don’t have the moral honesty to treat me the way you treat others.”
While David Moyes – another former United manager – could be leading West Ham into the Champions League for the first time, Mourinho is set to miss out at a second attempt at qualification with the 2019 beaten finalists.
United’s comeback began in the 57th when Fred teed up Cavani for a shot parried by Hugo Lloris, and the Brazilian followed up with his first Premier League goal since 2018.
Having denied Bruno Fernandes, Lloris had beaten again in the 79th when the Portugal midfielder’s nutmeg helped set up Mason Greenwood for a cross that Cavani got on the end of with a header.
And Greenwood put further gloss on the win in the sixth minute of stoppage time by scoring after Pogba and Cavani combined to set up the English forward for a shot that Lloris got a touch to but couldn’t keep out.