Jose Mourinho praised his players for standing firm against what he described as "monsters in the air" after Tottenham produced a second-half turnaround to see off Brighton and Hove Albion.

After losing 2-0 last time out to London rivals Chelsea, Spurs appeared in danger of suffering a second successive home defeat when they fell behind on Boxing Day, Adam Webster heading in a free-kick in the 37th minute.

However, Harry Kane - who had earlier seen a goal ruled out for offside - drew the hosts level before Dele Alli struck what turned out to be the winner with a wonderful 72nd-minute finish, much to the delight of the Spurs boss.

Mourinho felt his side had not played that badly before the break, but just needed to change "bits" to launch a comeback against a team who always posed a threat at set-pieces.

"Really happy with the second half. We changed bits. I'm not saying players - it was not about players - it was about bits. Those little things sometimes make a difference," he told Amazon Prime.

"But in the first half it was not a disaster, it was not a bad performance. It was a difficult game against a good team.

"After a defeat is never easy, when you don't start well after a defeat, I always think it affects the self-esteem and confidence. Then we conceded a goal from something in football that is very difficult to control.

"When you are exposed in the situation of lateral free-kicks and corners, it's really hard. They are a very good football team, but they have three or four giants, really, really strong in the air.

"They are not a team that plays direct, they want to play nice, passing football, but you could see in the last 10 minutes that [Dan] Burn was a striker, and he is a two-metre target. Sometimes it is very, very difficult. They have monsters in the air.

"That [the opening goal] effected the team's self-esteem, but I think also the goal disallowed by the VAR, which is by one inch but is offside, also affects [us].

"But, in the second half, the boys managed to put all the negativity aside and were very strong in their performance. It was a fantastic effort by everyone."

Alli has now been involved in eight goals in as many appearances since Mourinho's appointment at Spurs, scoring five himself while providing three assists.

"Another goal and another incredible effort, performance," Mourinho said of the in-form England international. "From the first to last minute, the way he worked was absolutely incredible.

"It was an amazing goal, but I go to the other small, big details. His attitude, his fighting spirit with the team was, for me, outstanding."

Harry Kane and Dele Alli scored second-half goals to earn Tottenham a 2-1 comeback win at home to Brighton and Hove Albion in Thursday's Premier League clash.

Jose Mourinho's men lost 2-0 against Chelsea on Sunday and were again below par as they fell behind to Brighton at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium before fighting back.

Adam Webster profited from some slack defending to give Brighton a first-half lead, 13 minutes after Kane had a strike marginally ruled out for offside.

The England striker equalised early in the second half to continue his fine Boxing Day record, however, and compatriot Alli produced a deft winner 18 minutes from time to revive Tottenham's top-four aspirations.

Kane got on the end of Harry Winks' searching pass and tucked the ball past Mat Ryan, only for VAR to intervene and adjudge the striker was marginally offside.

That looked like being a big moment in the match as Webster - also on target against Arsenal in Brighton's most recent win - climbed highest to head home Pascal Gross' free-kick.

Aaron Connolly - who scored twice in Brighton's 3-0 win over Spurs in October - made a mess of a glorious chance after 49 minutes, the youngster guiding Bernardo's cross wide from close range as Spurs struggled for momentum.

From pretty much out of nowhere, though, Kane found a way past Ryan at the second time of asking to level things up after his first shot was repelled. 

Tottenham pushed for a winner and found one through Alli, who lifted a first-time finish over Ryan after being teed up by Serge Aurier's knock-back in a move started by substitute Christian Eriksen.

 

What does it mean? Tottenham regain momentum

After losing ground on the Champions League spots with last weekend's defeat to fourth-place Chelsea, anything less than victory would have been seen as a huge setback for Tottenham.

Brighton won the reverse fixture comfortably and again for a while seemed to have their opponents' number here, but Mourinho's side managed to show a couple of moments of quality to pick up a win that moves them to within three points of Chelsea, who play Southampton in their game in hand later on Thursday.

Kane steps up again on Boxing Day

Having already had a goal ruled out, Kane stuck with the task and was rewarded with his equaliser early in the second half.

He has now scored eight goals in five Premier League games on Boxing Day - only Robbie Fowler (9) has scored more on December 26.

Static Spurs stunned by Webster

Webster's opener made it 15 goals conceded by Tottenham in nine matches under Mourinho in all competitions - more than any other Premier League team in that period.

The centre-back now has three top-flight goals for the campaign, none easier than this one as he simply climbed higher than Toby Alderweireld to head in.

What's next?

Tottenham are back in Premier League action with a trip to Norwich City on Saturday, the same day that Brighton host Bournemouth.

Tottenham have rested Dele Alli, Harry Kane, Jan Vertonghen and Serge Aurier for their Champions League meeting with Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

Jose Mourinho announced after the 5-0 victory over Burnley on Saturday that star striker Kane would not be making the trip to the Allianz Arena for a dead rubber in Group B.

It was confirmed on Tuesday that Alli, Vertonghen and Aurier will also remain in the United Kingdom ahead of a trip to Wolves on Sunday.

Troy Parrott is reportedly set to lead the line in Munich for Tottenham, who are guaranteed to finish second behind leaders Bayern.

Hugo Lloris, Ben Davies, Erik Lamela, Tanguy Ndombele, Michel Vorm and Harry Winks are still sidelined.

Liverpool maintained their charge for a first Premier League title with a 3-0 win over Bournemouth, keeping just a third top-flight clean sheet of the season in the process.

The Reds remain eight points ahead of Leicester City, who saw off Aston Villa 4-1 to make it eight league victories in a row – their best winning run in their top-flight history.

But defending champions Manchester City are now 14 points adrift of top spot after tasting defeat in their derby showdown with a rejuvenated Manchester United.

Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho made it three league wins out of four as Tottenham thrashed Burnley to close to within six points of fourth-placed Chelsea, who lost 3-1 at Everton.

There were also wins for Newcastle United and Sheffield United, against Southampton and Norwich City respectively, while Watford played out a goalless draw with Crystal Palace and Brighton and Hove Albion took a point off Wolves.

Our Premier League Data Diary sheds some light on the detail behind the big stories of this weekend's games.

DERBY DEFEAT LEAVES GUARDIOLA WITH LOWEST POINTS HAUL

Pep Guardiola admitted City could not cope with the pace of United's attacking trio of Daniel James, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford in Saturday's clash.

City fell two goals behind inside half an hour and, despite Nicolas Otamendi pulling one back late on, they fell to a defeat that surely ends their hopes of retaining the title.

The loss leaves the reigning champions with 32 points - the lowest return of Guardiola's managerial career after 16 matches.

Kyle Walker refused to wave the white flag, but no English top-flight side has ever gone on to win the title after being as many as 14 points behind the top side at the end of a day.

As for United, who beat Tottenham 2-1 on Wednesday, they are now unbeaten in five Premier League games and have won back-to-back matches for the first time since March.

CLEAN SHEET BONUS FOR RUNAWAY REDS

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp had extra reason to celebrate his side's win at Bournemouth, having kept a first clean sheet in 14 games in all competitions.

In fact, toothless Bournemouth - now beaten in five successive games for the first time in their top-flight history - managed zero shots on target at the Vitality Stadium.

Klopp's men have won 24 of their past 25 Premier League matches, including 15 out of 16 this term, and have scored two or more goals in 23 of those past 25 fixtures.

Naby Keita marked his first league start of the season with a goal and an assist, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mohamed Salah were also on target.

Salah's goal took him to 63 in 100 Premier League outings, with Alan Shearer (79), Ruud van Nistelrooy (68) and Sergio Aguero (64) the only players to score more in their first century of games.

SENSATIONAL SON INSPIRES MOURINHO'S FREE-SCORING MEN

Tottenham produced a five-star display in their emphatic triumph against Burnley, who suffered their joint-biggest margin of defeat in the Premier League.

Mourinho saw Tottenham score five goals in his fourth Premier League game in charge, something Manchester United failed to achieve in 93 league matches under the Portuguese.

Harry Kane bagged a brace, Lucas Moura scored a sitter and Moussa Sissoko netted for the second home game running, but it was Son Heung-min who stole the show.

Having earlier set up Kane's opener, Son ran from one box to the other and found the net to make it 15 goal involvements in 15 appearances at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Dele Alli may not have registered in the one-sided contest, though he provided two assists in a Premier League game for the third time and the first since December 2017.

VARDY CLOSING IN ON HIS OWN RECORD

Leicester appear to be the only side standing between Liverpool and a maiden Premier League title success after coming out on top in their Midlands tussle with Aston Villa.

Jamie Vardy helped himself to a couple of goals as the Foxes inflicted a heaviest home league defeat on Villa since they lost 4-0 to Chelsea in April 2016.

The 32-year-old became the first player to score in eight consecutive Premier League matches since Vardy himself did so in November 2015 when netting 11 in a row.

Only one player other than Vardy has scored in eight successive fixtures, in fact - Van Nistelrooy, who did so in 2002 and again in 2003 during his time at Manchester United.

Kelechi Iheanacho and Jonny Evans also registered at Villa Park for Leicester, who have won their past four away Premier League matches by an aggregate score of 17-1.

Liverpool cruised to a 5-2 victory in the Merseyside derby against Everton as they consolidated their lead at the top of the Premier League, despite a much-changed team.

Meanwhile, Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho endured an unhappy return to Old Trafford as his side lost 2-1 to Manchester United - the Portuguese has not won there as a visiting boss in his past five attempts.

Defending champions Manchester City thrashed Burnley 4-1 as Pep Guardiola made it eight wins in his nine games against the Clarets.

A midweek round of Premier League fixtures brought a range of milestones and telling stats, the best of which are below.

KLOPP ECLIPSES SHANKLY, PAISLEY AND DALGLISH 

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will likely need to deliver the Premier League title to secure his place in the pantheon of Anfield greats.

However, the German has put down a few markers suggesting he is ready to join the Kop's hall of fame by becoming the fastest Liverpool manager to 100 league victories. Klopp completed the feat in 159 games – quicker than Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley and Kenny Dalglish.

Liverpool secured the win over Everton thanks to a brace from Divock Origi, and one goal apiece for Sadio Mane, Xherdan Shaqiri and Georginio Wijnaldum.

They are now unbeaten in their past 32 Premier League games which is their longest run without defeat in top-flight history.

Marco Silva's final match at the helm saw him become the first Everton manager to concede five league goals against Liverpool in a single match since Howard Kendall in November 1982.

 

MORE OF THE SAME FOR MOURINHO 

United's 2-1 win over Tottenham, secured courtesy of two goals from Marcus Rashford – taking his tally to nine in 10 games – made Mourinho's return to his old club a miserable one.

Mourinho has won none of his past five away Premier League matches against the Red Devils (D3 L2), failing to beat four different managers in that time – Alex Ferguson, David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and current United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

It was also Tottenham 35th Premier League defeat against United – more than they have suffered against any other team. 

Spurs' defence must also be a concern for Mourinho. They have conceded twice in their four matches in all competitions under the Portuguese – they only had a run of conceding two or more goals in four consecutive games once under Mauricio Pochettino, doing so in February and March 2015.

Midfielder Dele Alli has started to rediscover some of his old form, though, and his equaliser for Spurs was his third goal in as many appearances for the club in all competitions – the first time since March 2017 he has enjoyed such a purple patch.

 

CITY THREE AND EASY UNDER PEP

Gabriel Jesus' brace and one apiece for midfielders Rodri and Riyad Mahrez gave City some much-needed confidence with a 4-1 thrashing of Burnley – although they remain 11 points behind leaders Liverpool.

Jesus is now the third highest-scoring Brazilian player in Premier League history (32 goals), trailing only Philippe Coutinho (41) and Roberto Firmino (52).

It was the 36th time City have won a Premier League game by three or more goals under Guardiola – the most of any team in the competition since the start of the 2016-17 season.

David Silva's creative skills remain key for City and he took his tally to six assists from open play in the league this season – just one fewer than he managed in 33 games last season.

Burnley have now conceded 11 goals in their three home games against 'big six' opposition in the Premier League this season, compared to only two goals in five home games against the rest.

 

LJUNGBERG'S LOSS A DROUGHT-BREAKING BOOST FOR BRIGHTON

Managerless, beaten at home by Brighton and Hove Albion and now nine games without victory in all competitions – Gunners fans have every right to be gloomy.

Arsenal's 2-1 loss to the Seagulls made this their longest winless streak since a run of 10 between February and March of 1977.

Mesut Ozil registered his first assist in the league since February when his corner was met by Alexandre Lacazette, but the French forward's 25th English top-flight goal at Emirates Stadium failed to avert a first defeat for interim boss Freddie Ljungberg.

Adam Webster had opened the scoring before the interval and Brighton were able to celebrate their first Premier League away win over 'big six' opposition following Neal Maupay's 80th-minute header.

Arsenal, booed off at full-time, have faced 52 shots on target in home league games this season, four more than in the entire Invincibles campaign of 2003-04.

Dele Alli put Tottenham's disappointing performance in Wednesday's 2-1 defeat to Manchester United down to arrogance borne out of the winning start they had made to Jose Mourinho's tenure.

Mourinho was appointed as Mauricio Pochettino's successor last month and had overseen three successive victories in his first three matches at the helm.

Wednesday brought Mourinho's first return to Old Trafford as a manager since he was sacked by the club in December 2018, but Spurs failed to continue their recent resurgence.

Marcus Rashford produced a talismanic display for the Red Devils, scoring both of their goals either side of a spectacular strike from Alli, who arguably more than anyone else has been re-energised by Mourinho's hiring.

But Alli's goal aside, Spurs created precious few clear-cut opportunities and were fortunate to be on level terms at half-time, with the former MK Dons talent suggesting Tottenham had begun to believe their own hype following three wins on the bounce.

"We had to match their [United's] energy. We lost the game not by them outplaying us – just attitude," the England international told reporters.

"We weren't hungry enough and we were slow to every second ball, losing 50-50s. Maybe it was a little bit of arrogance and over-confidence. We’ve been playing well.

"We have to learn from this. Games like this bring your feet back down."

Victory moved United up to sixth and provided manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a much-needed boost ahead of Saturday's Manchester derby at bitter rivals and champions Manchester City.

Spurs slipped down to eighth with the defeat.

Jose Mourinho might well have had empathy for his Manchester United successor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had Tottenham raided Old Trafford for maximum spoils.

The Portuguese knows more than most about the scrutiny and pressure that comes with the United manager's job, himself seen off by an awful stretch this time last year that provided neither style nor substance.

For Solskjaer, Mourinho's return will be followed by a trip to Manchester City, and the twin fixtures looked a daunting dual threat to a team and manager who before the Tottenham game were winless in three across all competitions.

At kick-off, Solskjaer was second favourite with the bookmakers to be the next Premier League manager sacked, trailing only Marco Silva, the struggling Everton boss who could not ended his team's Anfield derby hoodoo.

But rather than bury the United great, Spurs - this uncharacteristically unpredictable early Mourinho outfit - granted Solskjaer a reprieve, with his future prospects also belatedly boosted by a determined home display.

Supporters certainly seemed to have Solskjaer's back, still raucously chanting his name throughout, and United had, in Marcus Rashford, the star of the show.

Greater concerns surely belonged to Tottenham fans.

The usual stingy defending of a Mourinho team has not yet replaced the haphazard backline efforts of the final throes of Mauricio Pochettino's reign, while even the encouraging attacking endeavours of matches one, two and three - 3-2, 4-2 and 3-2 wins - did not materialise here.

Dele Alli scored a masterful 39th-minute equaliser, teed up with a touch reminiscent of his breathtaking 2016 goal against Crystal Palace, but the rest of his work was of underwhelming 2018-19 humdrum.

Unable to get his recent star performer into the game, just about everything went against Mourinho besides that leveller.

At the same end of the stadium where little over a year earlier, three weeks before his departure, Mourinho fumed at a Rashford miss against Young Boys and drew the ire of United commentators, the England striker laid early siege to Paulo Gazzaniga's Spurs goal.

Rashford's first strike provided the opener, creeping under Gazzaniga at the goalkeeper's right-hand post. A free-kick from Rashford was then whipped wide, and Gazzaniga touched a magnificent long-range effort against the crossbar before batting away a fourth attempt from United's main threat.

Mourinho, meanwhile, took a blow to the knee as Harry Winks cynically chopped down Daniel James in front of the dugout - an incident that granted the Spurs head coach a greater role in proceedings to that point than Alli, stifled and increasingly frustrated.

The attacking midfielder's stunning strike should have roused Tottenham but half-time intervened, and then so too did Moussa Sissoko, a man who painfully knows a thing or two about conceding penalties early in halves.

The felled Rashford tucked away the spot-kick for his 12th club goal of the campaign and, again, it was difficult not to be reminded of Mourinho's failure to get the best out of such a gifted player. The striker represents one check next to Solskjaer's name.

Much huffing and puffing followed from both teams, with United just about on top, but neither outfit truly convinced that their issues are behind them.

Unlike at times under Mourinho, United were indeed united, battling until the final whistle - led by Fred and the returning Scott McTominay - to protect the advantage secured by Rashford. Three points should ensure Solskjaer sees out the week, while a reality check might serve Tottenham well.

There is work to do for both United and Mourinho, long since separated, but each at least seem happier than at this time 12 months ago.

Marcus Rashford netted a double as Manchester United earned a 2-1 Premier League win at home to Tottenham on Jose Mourinho's return to Old Trafford.

Spurs had won their three matches across all competitions since Mourinho was appointed as Mauricio Pochettino's replacement last month, but they slipped to defeat on Wednesday after a below-par showing.

Rashford put United ahead and, after a superb individual effort from Dele Alli levelled the scores, the striker converted a penalty to end United's three-game winless run.

Victory moves Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men above Spurs and into the top six in the table, denying Mourinho - sacked by United a year ago - the chance to be the first Tottenham manager to win his first three Premier League games in charge.

United took the lead in the sixth minute, Rashford profiting from a series of ricochets to beat Paulo Gazzaniga at his near post, the goalkeeper making a poor effort to keep the shot out.

Gazzaniga improved by blocking a Mason Greenwood strike before tipping Rashford's swerving long-range drive on to the crossbar as United continued to dominate.

Spurs equalised out of nowhere before the break, though, Alli's sensational first touch deceiving both Fred and Ashley Young, with the midfielder then slotting in his fourth goal in three games.

Rashford restored United's advantage early in the second half, tucking away a penalty he won himself by being clumsily brought down by Moussa Sissoko.

Fred made a good block to repel a Son Heung-min shot, but it was United who continued to make the running, Gazzaniga denying Daniel James twice in quick succession.

David de Gea was called into action late on but comfortable saves from Serge Aurier, substitute Tanguy Ndombele and Alli ensured United closed out victory.
 

What does it mean? Mourinho suffers first Spurs loss

Spurs had a perfect record under Mourinho, but in this game they were well off the pace, needing a moment of magic from the resurgent Alli to undeservedly go into the interval all square.

But Sissoko's lack of concentration immediately after the restart allowed Rashford to restore United's lead and thereafter the result was not in doubt.


Reliable Rashford maintains hot streak

Anthony Martial's latest injury meant Rashford played off the left to accommodate teenager Greenwood in a central role, but the England striker continued to be United's main man in attack.

In his past 10 games for club and country, Rashford has scored nine times, drawing only two blanks.


Gazzaniga tries in vain to atone for error

Still deputising for injured captain Hugo Lloris, Gazzaniga made a series of saves that would usually have made for a good individual performance. Unfortunately, his misjudgement of Rashford's early strike left Spurs with it all to do at Old Trafford.


What's next?

Solskjaer's side make a short trip for a derby clash with Manchester City on Saturday. Spurs host Burnley on the same day.

In August 2018, Mauricio Pochettino guided Tottenham to a 3-0 victory over Jose Mourinho's Manchester United at Old Trafford.

In hindsight, it was a defeat that appeared to signal the beginning of the end for Mourinho at United, with the Portuguese coach sacked four months later, replaced – initially on a temporary basis – by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Pochettino was heavily linked with the United hot seat, but Solskjaer's impressive run earned him the job permanently. But while Spurs went on to reach a Champions League final, the Red Devils' form dropped off dramatically.

Now, 16 months on from that clash at Old Trafford, Mourinho returns to his former stomping ground for the first time since his December 2018 sacking, having taken over from Pochettino at Spurs – who dismissed the former Argentina international following a poor start to 2019-20.

Two 3-2 wins on the bounce in the league, either side of a 4-2 comeback victory over Olympiacos in the Champions League, have seen Tottenham climb up to fifth place, two points above United, who could only draw with Aston Villa on Sunday.

Can Mourinho show his old side just what they are missing, or will Solskjaer prove his credentials in a match over which the spectre of Pochettino could loom large.

 

THE 'SPECIAL ONE' RETURNS

Glory in the EFL Cup and Europa League made Mourinho's first year in charge of United a successful one, though those were the only major trophies he won during his stint in Manchester.

After finishing second – well behind neighbours Manchester City – in Mourinho's sophomore year, United's form tailed off at the start of the former Chelsea boss' final campaign in charge.

Their home defeat to Tottenham followed on from a loss at Brighton and Hove Albion, while they also went down to both West Ham and City as they suffered four defeats from their opening 12 matches.

A run of three successive draws against Crystal Palace, Southampton and Arsenal paved the way for a 3-1 reverse at Liverpool to result in Mourinho's departure.

But after almost a year out of management, he was handed a way back into the big time with Spurs, who seem rejuvenated – albeit still with some glaring weaknesses – and Mourinho is now aiming to become just the third manager to win a Premier League away game at Old Trafford with two different clubs.

United, on the other hand, have managed just four league victories this season and head into Wednesday's encounter without a victory in three matches across all competitions.

In fact, since Solskjaer was appointed on a permanent basis on March 28, United have claimed all three points in just six Premier League games.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: MARCUS RASHFORD V HARRY KANE

One shining light for United in recent weeks has been the form of Marcus Rashford, who seems to have taken up the mantle of leading the Red Devils' youthful attack.

Meanwhile, Harry Kane's goals were not enough to save Pochettino's job, but the England captain is still as reliable as ever when presented with a chance.

Both players are on seven league goals for the season, with Rashford's 14 appearances one more than Kane.

Rashford has also played slightly more than Kane in terms of minutes, racking up 1,219 compared to the Tottenham striker's 1,165.

Kane is proving more efficient, with the 26-year-old scoring his seven goals from a total of 36 shots, resulting in a conversion rate of 19.44 per cent, while Rashford's rate stands at 16.67 per cent.

Not much separates the pair in terms of goal frequency – Kane edging this one with a strike every 166 minutes, compared to Rashford's 174.

However, Kane is the clear winner when it comes to expected goals. By this metric, Rashford (8.66) should be on at least eight goals for the campaign, while his opposite number at Spurs has only been expected to score five goals from the chances he has had this term.

FORM GUIDE

Pochettino managed two draws in his final matches in charge of Spurs, meaning Mourinho's side are now unbeaten in four league games.

Should Tottenham win, Mourinho will become their first manager to win his first three top-flight matches in charge. 

Dele Alli seems to have recaptured his best form, scoring twice and providing an assist in the two Premier League matches since Mourinho's arrival – as many as he had in his final 12 appearances under Pochettino.

United's haul of 18 points from their opening 14 Premier League matches this season means the Red Devils have endured their worst start to a domestic season since the 1988-89 campaign, when they also had 18 points and went on to finish 11th.

Both United and Tottenham are equal in one sense, however, with both having dropped 12 points from winning positions in the Premier League this season.

HISTORY SAYS…

United's hopes will not be boosted by the fact they have lost three of their past seven home league meetings against Spurs, after losing only two of their previous 36 at Old Trafford.

However, Tottenham have lost more Premier League games to United than against any other side, though Mourinho can take solace in knowing the away team won in both top-flight meetings last season.

Jose Mourinho made it two wins out of two as Tottenham manager while Chelsea suffered back-to-back Premier League defeats for the first time this season on a weekend of mixed fortunes at the top of the table.

Manchester City's failure to beat Newcastle United left them 11 points behind league leaders Liverpool, who won again, but Leicester City's late winner against Everton kept them within eight points of Jurgen Klopp's title favourites.

With a packed December schedule looming for all Premier League clubs, maintaining the form and fitness of key players is even more vital than ever for those chasing honours.

The absence of one of the division's hottest marksmen hurt Chelsea while the return to form of a top playmaker gave Spurs a boost, as our Premier League Data Diary reveals.
 

BLUES FIRE BLANKS IN ABRAHAM'S ABSENCE

Tammy Abraham has scored 10 goals in 13 Premier League appearances this season, but a hip injury ruled him out of Chelsea's 1-0 defeat at home to West Ham on Saturday.

Frank Lampard's side started the game brightly, treating Stamford Bridge to the kind of spirited attacking football that has won them admirers across the country this season, but their 19 shots yielded nothing for the home crowd to celebrate.

Aaron Cresswell's third goal of the season made this his highest-scoring top-flight campaign to date and earned West Ham their first Premier League away win at Chelsea since September 2002, ending a run of 13 without a league victory at Stamford Bridge.

Lampard saw his side rally in the last 20 minutes following the introduction of N'Golo Kante and Callum Hudson-Odoi, but the Blues are yet to gain a single point from a losing position in the Premier League this season. This game became the fourth they have lost after falling behind.

VAN DIJK AT THE DOUBLE AS REDS SURVIVE LATE SCARE

Virgil van Dijk is up against Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for the 2019 Ballon d'Or, and he tormented Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday as Liverpool won 2-1 at Anfield.

Netherlands international Van Dijk scored twice in six first-half minutes to become the highest scoring Premier League defender since the start of the 2018-19 season, with seven strikes, but the Reds endured a nervy end to the game as Brighton mounted a fightback.

Alisson became the first Liverpool goalkeeper to be sent off in a Premier League match since Doni against Blackburn Rovers in April 2012, and Lewis Dunk scored with 11 minutes left to tee up a frantic finish.

But Brighton failed to muster an equaliser and are now without a win in their past six Premier League away matches (D1 L5), while Liverpool have equalled their longest ever unbeaten top-flight run (W26 D5) by matching the 31 undefeated games achieved between May 1987 and March 1988.

ALLI REVIVAL FUELS BACK-TO-BACK WINS

Dele Alli's loss of form was among the problems Mauricio Pochettino failed to overcome before being sacked by Tottenham, but the England playmaker is bouncing back under Mourinho.

After assisting Son Heung-min's opener in a 3-2 win at West Ham a week earlier, Alli scored a brace as Spurs beat Bournemouth by the same scoreline, meaning he has been involved in three goals in two games under Mourinho - as many as in his last 12 league games for Pochettino.

While Mourinho has made a strong start at Spurs, helping the club register back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time since April, the fact his side have conceded four goals in two league games will have troubled him.

Tottenham conceded 20 shots against Bournemouth, who scored in the 73rd and 96th minutes - the exact timings of West Ham's strikes against Spurs a week prior.

The last time Spurs conceded as many shots against them in a Premier League home game was in September 2015, when Manchester City peppered their goal with 22 attempts.

SHELVEY STRIKE STALLS CITY'S TITLE CHARGE

Kevin De Bruyne's stunner looked to have earned City a victory over Newcastle, but Jonjo Shelvey ultimately had the final say.

Newcastle are now unbeaten in each of their past four home league games against reigning top-flight champions, winning two and drawing two, for the first time since a run of five ending in February 2003.

Of players with at least 15 Premier League goals, only David Ginola (66.7 per cent) and Laurent Robert (65.2 per cent) have scored a higher ratio from outside the box than Shelvey, who has netted 11 of his 17 top-flight goals from that range.

Miguel Almiron assisted Jetro Willems' equaliser after Raheem Sterling had put City ahead at St James' Park – the first assist the Paraguayan has registered from what was his 23rd chance created in the Premier League.

City have found the net in each of their past 22 Premier League games against Newcastle – their joint-longest such run in the competition – yet De Bruyne's sensational strike, his sixth goal involvement in six league appearances against the Magpies, was not enough to clinch victory.

Tottenham star Dele Alli has started the Jose Mourinho era particularly well, and the Portuguese coach does not think he could ask any more of the 23-year-old.

After impressing consistently in his first three years at Spurs, Alli appeared to stagnate last season and began the 2019-20 campaign disappointingly.

It was suggested Mauricio Pochettino's exit and fresh impetus from a new coach could be a good thing for Alli, and Mourinho certainly seems to be getting a reaction from the attacking midfielder.

Alli scored twice in Saturday's 3-2 Premier League win over Bournemouth, while he also netted in the Champions League on Wednesday, beginning the comeback in the 4-2 defeat of Olympiacos.

It is the first time since December last year that he has scored in consecutive appearances, while his overall performances have been encouraging.

For Mourinho, playing Alli further forward with Harry Kane has been crucial in beginning the former MK Dons talent's resurgence.

"It's not [about] a simple style, it's just the position and the principles of play," Mourinho told reporters when asked if playing a simpler, direct style of play gets the best out of Alli.

"Every manager has his own ideas and we're all different. Nobody is right and nobody is wrong but, for me, Dele is not a midfield player.

"For me, Dele is not a player to play positionally in midfield, he is a player to be like he is playing, close to Harry [Kane], following some dynamics that we train, but a little bit of freedom to associate with attacking players. This I think is the best position for him.

"Dele, I don't need to speak about. The best thing that can happen to a coach is when you don't need to speak about a player because everybody speaks, all of you [the media], fans, everybody speaks about him and speaks about him for the right reasons.

"He's playing really, really, really well. I couldn't ask for any more from him. He's playing amazing, scoring goals, assisting, working – fantastic."

Alli's attitude had been called into question under Pochettino, but Mourinho defended his character.

"I didn't know him [before being appointed], I only played against him a few times. [I had] no contact with him," Mourinho added. "I don't know the boy, I don't know much.

"I just know the qualities of the players and that was the direction where I went. A player of such quality, it's not possible that he's not performing at a high level.

"Okay, sometimes players are not in the best performance level, but normally, with a little bit of up and down, you need to perform according to your potential.

"I find him a good guy in the group. He's a group guy, not really this kind of selfish person who thinks and speaks only about himself. Not at all.

"He's a Spurs boy, a group boy. The group is a good family. They have very good empathy between them. I just feel that now it's self-esteem coming up and lots of confidence to play."

There was a time when Dele Alli appeared destined for greatness.

Jumping up from League One to the Premier League shouldn't be easy for any player, let alone a teenager, but 19-year-old Alli played with an effectiveness and confidence of someone far more experienced than he in 2015-16.

In his first top-flight season, Alli was a massive part of why Spurs were able to mount a title challenge, even if they fell short in the end, as Leicester City did the unthinkable.

But if there was an overriding sense of disappointment around Spurs for failing to capitalise on their greatest opportunity to win a first Premier League title, fans were also witnessing the early establishment of what looked to be a potential great in Alli, whose adaptation was seamless and, quite frankly, remarkable.

With 10 goals and nine assists, Alli's goal involvements haul was up there with the best of them and he would only become even deadlier.

Alli went on to score another 27 and assist 17 over the course of the following two seasons, making rumoured interest from Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester City predictable, but understandable.

The speculation became strong enough for Daniel Levy to reportedly put a pricetag of £150million on him, a figure that would've been a world record at the time.

He went into the World Cup an indisputable star, but since Russia, Alli has often appeared a shadow of his former self. Fast forward 17 months and he's missed out on successive England squads, an outcome that would've been inconceivable not so long ago.

Such was his stagnation that some even suggested Spurs' recent change at the helm represented a vital crossroads for Alli – that he'd been allowed to coast under Mauricio Pochettino, something Jose Mourinho simply wouldn't tolerate.

"I asked him if he was Dele or Dele's brother? He told me he was Dele. I said, 'okay, play like Dele'," is how an early conversation with Alli went, according to Mourinho. The fresh impetus and influence of the new boss seems to have done the trick.

For all the criticism of Mourinho in recent times, let's not forget that, whatever his drawbacks, getting the best out of attacking midfielders is something he has a track record of. Deco, Frank Lampard and Mesut Ozil all thrived under the "Special One".

By Alli's own admission, he was "awful" early on against Olympiacos in Wednesday's 4-2 win, but he improved immeasurably as the game progressed and scored the goal that got Spurs back into the contest having gone 2-0 down.

He took an even greater step on Saturday, scoring in successive matches for the first time since last December. But more than that, he looked like the Alli we became so accustomed to seeing punishing opponents at will.

Opening the scoring, Son Heung-min latched on to a direct pass from the back and laid the ball off – purposely or by accident, you decide – and Alli turned in having matched the South Korean stride for stride.

His influence in the first half was undeniable, with only Davinson Sanchez (50) having more touches of the ball than Alli (42), who was proving effective as a link-up player – his delightful flick to Son opening Bournemouth up during a 45th-minute counter.

There was rather more of an individual element to Alli's fine second, controlling another lofted pass on his chest while on the run, holding off his marker and delicately chipping the approaching goalkeeper. It was the kind of effort one would expect of Harry Kane.

Spurs were cruising and Alli was unlucky not to claim a deserved first hat-trick for the club, but while Mourinho's impact with him is plain to see already, there's no doubt where his work is still cut out.

Defensively they capitulated and almost threw three points away again, conceding two for the third successive match and they almost allowed Bournemouth to steal a late equaliser.

While Alli appears to have taken the right route at his apparent career crossroads, Spurs' defensive vehicle is in chaos akin to driving the wrong direction down a one-way street.

Liverpool remain on course for a first ever Premier League title after a nervy 2-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion, while Manchester City could only manage a 2-2 draw at Newcastle United.

Jurgen Klopp's side endured a tense finish at Anfield after goalkeeper Alisson was dismissed with 14 minutes remaining, but they held on for a 13th win in 14 games this season.

City, meanwhile, were far from their fluid best at St James' Park and were denied a vital win by Jonjo Shelvey's superb late strike.

Jose Mourinho racked up a second consecutive Premier League win since taking over at Tottenham, Dele Alli proving to be the star man in a 3-2 win over Bournemouth, while West Ham pulled off a surprise 1-0 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

REDS SURVIVE ALISSON RED CARD

Runaway leaders Liverpool survived a nervy finale to equal their longest unbeaten run in the top flight and capitalise on City's slip-up.

A Trent Alexander-Arnold free-kick set up the opener for Van Dijk in the 18th minute and the same combination soon provided a second goal as Brighton were found wanting at a corner.

Brighton were given an unexpected lifeline when Alisson was sent off for handling outside his box – meaning he will miss Wednesday's derby clash with Everton – and Lewis Dunk caught out replacement goalkeeper Adrian with a quick free-kick.

The Seagulls could not find a late equaliser, though, and while Leicester City can cut Liverpool's advantage at the summit to eight points by beating Everton on Sunday, there looks to be no stopping a team who have now gone 31 league games unbeaten, matching their record streak from May 1987 to March 1988.

CITY'S TITLE HOPES SLIP AWAY

City's hopes of claiming a third consecutive Premier League title suffered a fresh blow, with Shelvey's late intervention leaving them 11 points behind leaders Liverpool.

Pep Guardiola's side looked set to cruise to all three points when Raheem Sterling scored his eighth Premier League goal of the campaign midway through the first half, but they were pegged back by Jetro Willems' fierce drive three minutes later.

Kevin De Bruyne restored City's lead with a sumptuous half-volley in the 82nd minute, the Belgium international using his chest to control a headed clearance before unleashing a stunning effort that crashed in off the underside of the crossbar.

Newcastle bounced back in style to ensure a share of the spoils two minutes from time, though, when Shelvey whipped home from 25 yards after Christian Atsu had picked him out with a short free-kick.

MOURINHO'S PERFECT START CONTINUES

Tottenham beat West Ham and Olympiacos in Mourinho's first two matches and were good value for their latest triumph at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, despite another late collapse.

The hosts made a slow start but took the lead midway through the opening period through Alli, who slotted the ball underneath Aaron Ramsdale after being teed up by Son Heung-min's first-time pass.

The England international scored a second early in the second half before Moussa Sissoko added a third with his first league goal in his past 69 appearances.

Harry Wilson pulled two goals back for Bournemouth in the closing stages - one of which was a superb free-kick - but Tottenham held on for back-to-back league wins for the first time since April to climb to fifth, six points off a Champions League place.

PRESSURE EASES ON PELLEGRINI AFTER FINE WIN

Aaron Cresswell scored the only goal of the game as West Ham eased the pressure on Manuel Pellegrini and ended their seven-game Premier League winless streak at Chelsea.

The Hammers became only the second side to win at Chelsea in the league this season and Frank Lampard's side, who lost at Manchester City a week prior, could have few complaints about the result.

Cresswell scored the winner early in the second half and West Ham could have extended their lead before surviving a late rally from the hosts to secure their first victory since they beat Manchester United on September 22.

Crystal Palace, meanwhile, beat Burnley 2-0 at Turf Moor courtesy of goals from Wilfried Zaha and Jeffrey Schlupp.

Dele Alli scored twice as Tottenham claimed a 3-2 Premier League victory over Bournemouth to maintain their winning start under new head coach Jose Mourinho.

Tottenham beat West Ham and Olympiacos in Mourinho's first two matches and were good value for their latest triumph at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday, despite another late collapse.

Alli scored in either half to give the hosts a two-goal advantage, which Moussa Sissoko added to with his first league goal in his past 69 appearances.

Harry Wilson pulled two goals back for Bournemouth - a concerning repeat of the tense finale against West Ham for Mourinho - but Tottenham held on for back-to-back league wins for the first time since April to climb to fifth, six points off a Champions League place.

Tottenham made a slow start but took the lead after 21 minutes through Alli, who slotted the ball underneath Aaron Ramsdale after being teed up by Son Heung-min's first-time pass.

The hosts thought they had a second goal five minutes later when Davinson Sanchez fired home a loose ball, but he was adjudged by the VAR to have handled as he inadvertently blocked Sissoko's shot before finishing.

Spurs were frustrated by the officials again before half-time, with no penalty awarded when Steve Cook appeared to handle as he slid to block Alli's cutback.

But they did double their lead early in the second half thanks to Alli's calm finish after chesting down Toby Alderweireld's long pass, shrugging off Jack Stacey and slotting past Ramsdale.

Alli had a glorious chance to round off his hat-trick before the hour, only to blast over the crossbar as Sissoko's scuffed shot fell into his path.

Sissoko then volleyed in Son's cross to round off a fine Spurs move, but Wilson pulled one back with an impressive 25-yard free-kick to maintain his burgeoning set-piece reputation.

Wilson netted again in the sixth minute of added time, firing in from 10 yards to set up a nervy finish, but it was not enough to deny Mourinho a winning home league start.
 

What does it mean? Spurs on the up under Mourinho

Three games for Mourinho, three wins for Mourinho. Tottenham are now firmly in the top-four chase again thanks to back-to-back victories.

Also assured of a place in the last 16 of the Champions League with a game to spare, positivity has returned to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium - even if defensive problems persist.

Alli back to his best

Mourinho told Alli to "play like Dele" after an underwhelming spell under predecessor Mauricio Pochettino, and the midfielder has responded in style over the past week.

He scored twice in a Premier League game for the first time since April 2018, with Alderweireld playing a big part in both goals, executing defence-splitting passes over the top.

Stacey shrugged off too easily

Bournemouth defender Stacey should have done far more to prevent Alli scoring a second goal, having also dropped off to play Son onside in the build-up to the hosts' opener.

What's next?

Tottenham travel to Mourinho's former side Manchester United on Wednesday, while Bournemouth head to Crystal Palace on Tuesday.

Jose Mourinho has been impressed by Dele Alli in his first two matches as Tottenham head coach but wants to see the midfielder find "a certain base" of consistency.

Alli had struggled under Mauricio Pochettino this season, yet he has starred in wins against West Ham and Olympiacos since Mourinho replaced the sacked Argentine.

Mourinho says he has not made any drastic changes to bring the best out of the 23-year-old and wants the England international to maintain the standards he has set.

"I think you have to speak with [Alli] because it was him not me [who changed the performances]," Mourinho said at a news conference. "I don't play, I don't fight, I don't run.

"He is doing everything by himself. We just try to give him the right conditions to feel well to do that. I have to say, two fantastic performances.

"He will not be the man of the match every game. He will have some matches where he will not play as well as he did in these two.

"He has to keep a certain base, a certain platform of performance where he is never going below that, so let's keep that base as the objective.

"He is a fantastic player, young, with all the conditions to develop, so I think he has a bright future and we just want to help him to reach his levels and maintain these levels."

Spurs were dealt a blow this week as it was confirmed left-back Ben Davies suffered ankle ligament damage against West Ham.

But Mourinho insists Davies' absence will not force him to backtrack on earlier comments suggesting he would not rush into the transfer market in January.

"No, we have a good squad," he said. "We have options - Danny Rose is the natural left-back, Jan Vertonghen can do it, he did it already for the club and for the national team.

"In extra emergency, I think even [Serge] Aurier could give us a hand playing there, and we have options at right back. So with one or two injuries, the squad is fine.

"[Davies] will be back and we will survive without him. I trust the other people that can play in the same position, like Danny did in the last match.

"On top of that, I couldn't be at the game but I watched on video our youth team playing in the Champions League, and we also have [Dennis] Cirkin.

"Okay, he's 17, but he's a kid with a lot of quality, and I look forward to bringing him to train with us and to help his development."

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