Spurs boost Champions League bid, Arsenal end winless run

February 17, 2020
Tottenham’s manager Jose Mourinho (centre) gestures in front of Aston Villa’s head coach Dean Smith, right, during the English Premier League match between Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur at Villa Park in Birmingham, England, yesterday.
Tottenham’s manager Jose Mourinho (centre) gestures in front of Aston Villa’s head coach Dean Smith, right, during the English Premier League match between Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur at Villa Park in Birmingham, England, yesterday.

(AP):

Jose Mourinho couldn't resist a little swipe at Manchester City following their European ban.

Mourinho's current priority is securing Tottenham's own qualification for the Champions League, but he also remembers missing out on the Premier League title to City while Manchester United manager.

Tottenham moved up to fifth place in the Premier League standings after Son Heung-min's stoppage-time strike secured a 3-2 victory at Aston Villa yesterday.

Fifth place is now likely to offer a Champions League spot following Manchester City's two-year European ban, although it is yet to officially be confirmed and City are appealing against the UEFA punishment for breaching financial rules.

"I didn't lose one single minute analysing UEFA - they have to analyse," Mourinho said. "If I go into that, I have to ask if the team which finished second in 2018 are going to be champions, yes or no?"

Mourinho finished runner-up with United two years ago, 19 points behind City.

"Joking apart, I just think about doing the best we can," Mourinho said on his current mission. "At the end of the season we'll see where we are. If we are sixth or seventh ,then it doesn't matter if fifth goes to the Champions League.

"Wolves, Sheffield United, Manchester United, Arsenal, Everton. Everyone looks to the table and says, 'We can do it'. It's going to be very hard. It's not about huge decisions or small decisions, it's about the rules, the law, 'it is or it isn't'. UEFA punished them, but they have the chance to appeal."

Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld, whose partner gave birth to a boy on Friday, poked Anwar El Ghazi's cross into his own net after nine minutes but made it 1-1 when he lashed in from a corner in the 27th minute.

Son put Spurs ahead at the end of the first half when he converted the rebound after Pepe Reina had saved his penalty, awarded after Bjorn Engels had brought down Steven Bergwijn. But Engels got Villa back on level terms again eight minutes into the second half.

Reina made several good stops from Son and Dele Alli but was beaten in stoppage time when Engels continued his action-packed afternoon by missing a routine clearance to allow Son to race clear and score.

"I'm very pleased with the victory, but I'd be complaining if the result was 2-2 after we missed so many chances," Mourinho said.

Defeat kept Villa 17th, a point above the relegation zone, and the team has now conceded a league-high 50 goals in the top flight.

ARSENAL WINS AGAIN

For the first time since New Year's Day, Arsenal won in the league.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette all netted in an impressive second half to clinch a 4-0 victory over Newcastle.

Mikel Arteta's side rose to 10th place.

Other Sports Stories