Tottenham defender Eric Dier has disagreed with Jose Mourinho's claim that he was suffering a crisis of confidence.

Mourinho mentioned Dier as one of his players that feels "more than anyone else, these little moments of confidence, of crisis".

The Portuguese coach made the comments after Spurs' 2-0 win over West Brom earlier this month, a match that Dier sat out as an unused substitute.

The England international has returned to the starting line-up in four of Spurs' five games since and Dier rejects the suggestion his confidence was low.

"Confidence-wise, I don't feel like I've been in a bad place all season," Dier said.

"I've gone through periods where I've had low confidence in the past so I know what it feels like and I haven't felt that this season.

"The most important thing is the reality and people's perception versus reality can be different sometimes.

"We've gone through a difficult moment but it's important to keep things in context.

"I feel like I've been happy with my level for the majority of the season.

"There's been a dip in it, which correlates with the dip with the team in general and our performances in general.

"I don't think my confidence has ever been in a negative place where it's been in previous times."

The 27-year-old admits the North Londoners' form has been below-par, with Spurs slipping to five losses in their past six league games.

That slump has resulted in Mourinho's team falling to ninth in the Premier League table, but Dier insists it is not for the want of trying.

"I'm a big boy, this is a ruthless profession and I focus on trying to do the best that I can every time I get an opportunity," he added.

"I always try to be the best version of myself, every day in training I try to improve constantly.

"I know I can have good games and bad games but I'm always relaxed because I know that I give everything I do have.

"Everything on the outside doesn't affect me so much because I'm confident in myself and I'm confident that I always try to give the best of myself.

"Sometimes it goes well, sometimes it goes badly but my effort never changes."

Jose Mourinho lavished praise on Tottenham youngster Dane Scarlett following an impressive Europa League cameo, likening him to Manchester United star Marcus Rashford.

The 16-year-old made his fourth senior appearance for the club on Wednesday, coming off the bench for the final 10 minutes a 4-0 win over Wolfsberger.

And he made a telling impact almost immediately, hustling a defender out of possession to set up Carlos Vinicius for the hosts' fourth goal.

Mourinho could barely contain his delight at the rapid progress of a player whose quality reminds him of another major talent he once helped develop.

"He is a diamond, a kid with incredible potential," the Portuguese told BT Sport.

"He has worked many times with the first team and that gives him a different personality. He is still 16, 17 soon [in March] and I believe next season he will be a first-team squad player because he has a lot of talent.

"He is going to be a fantastic player and I hope everything around him goes well. He is a striker, a number nine, I have been playing him from the sides similar to Marcus Rashford and he is very clever.”

Mourinho praised Scarlett even further in his post-match media conference, revealing the teenager is already splitting his time between the senior squad and Under-23s.

"Dane has incredible talent. I don't want to speak too much because tomorrow I arrive in the building and the kid's boss is going to kill me," he added.

"I don't want that so I don't want to speak too well about him. I just want to say that he will be 17 next month and I want him to be part of the first-team squad next season.

"So this season he is there and here, goes to training sessions with us and matches with the kids of his age and trains there.

"Next season he has to be a first-team player. Immense talent. Very good physical development.

"He's very good, he's going to be very good. I hope that nothing is going to destroy that potential. He must have feet on the ground and head on his shoulders because he has a fantastic talent."

Jose Mourinho is delighted by Dele Alli's return to form after he lit up Tottenham's Europa League win over Wolfsberger with an outstanding overhead kick.

Boasting a 4-1 lead from the away first leg, Spurs were dominant again in the return fixture, a 4-0 success.

Not since 2011-12, when coach of Real Madrid against APOEL, had Mourinho had a team score eight times over the course of a European knockout tie, and Alli was the star of the show.

Wednesday's game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium saw Alli make only his eighth start of the season - only one of which has come in the Premier League, in the opening-day defeat to Everton - but he made the most of his opportunity.

As well as executing a marvellous acrobatic volley - his first non-penalty goal of the campaign - at the end of a move he started, the England international provided two assists, doubling his seasonal tally.

This was the first time ever in a European match Alli had both a goal and an assist and the first time in any Tottenham fixture since December 2018.

These contributions and an impressive all-round display, including two shots, three key passes and 66 touches, suggest Alli is rediscovering his best form under Mourinho.

Since initially impressing when the Portuguese was appointed in 2019, Alli has fallen badly out of favour and was linked with a loan exit in January.

But Mourinho told BT Sport: "He had a difficult period. He had an injury, and at the same time he had an injury, it was the same period of talk, talk, talk about staying, leaving, leaving, staying.

"The market closed, the injury is gone, he started working with lots of motivation, and it's coming. That's what we need."

In his post-match news conference, the Spurs coach added: "The goal I don't need to speak [about] because everyone watched it and I believe around the world, on all these sports TV [channels], people are going to watch it.

"I don't need to talk about it. For me, the globality of the performance is what matters. He played very well. In every aspect of the game, he played very well.

"Of course he's not fresh, of course we can feel his performance, like in the first leg, from minute 55, 60 is going to go down - which is normal in the circumstances; injured, not training for a long time, come in for a couple of weeks.

"But in this moment where we are going to play every three days, 10 matches in March, to have Dele back at this level is amazing."

Substitute Gareth Bale was the beneficiary of one of Alli's assists, sweeping in a stunning third goal for his second of the tie.

Mourinho insists Tottenham's schedule means he does not need to have a first XI, but he acknowledged it would be hard to continue to leave Alli and Bale out of his league line-up.

"These are the headaches that I love," Mourinho said.

"The headaches I don't like are the headaches of selection [when] lots of people are not performing, lots of doubts, negative reasons. These are wonderful problems."

It was not just a night for Spurs' big names, though, as Dane Scarlett replaced Alli nine minutes from time and immediately teed up the fourth goal for Carlos Vinicius, also the scorer of the second.

Scarlett became the first 16-year-old to record a Europa League assist since Kylian Mbappe against Tottenham in December 2015.

Mourinho described the teenager as "a diamond" to BT Sport and added later: "He has immense talent, very good physical development. He's very good, he's going to be very good.

"I hope that nothing is going to destroy that potential. He must have his feet on the ground and his head on his shoulders because he has fantastic talent."

Jose Mourinho says he is already convinced over Gareth Bale's quality and wants him to play a key part in Tottenham's run-in.

Bale impressed with a goal and assist in a 4-1 victory over Wolfsberger in the first leg of the Europa League last-32 tie last week.

Spurs then suffered a damaging 2-1 Premier League loss at London rivals West Ham on Sunday but Bale came off the bench and produced a lively performance, which included an assist for Lucas Moura

Overall, though, the 31-year-old - who is on loan from Real Madrid - has not made the impact expected of him after he signed to huge fanfare in September.

Under-pressure boss Mourinho insists Bale has nothing to prove, other than his ability to play regular games ahead of another hectic part of the season.

"He doesn't need to convince me of anything," Mourinho said ahead of Wednesday's home second leg against Wolfsberger.

"I am totally convinced about everything. It's not about convincing me, it's about being ready to play the minutes we all would love him to play. 

"It's a process. You feel that in his matches in the last couple of years. We want him of course to be ready to play every minute of every game.

"He is a player with special qualities, you could see against West Ham in the second 45 minutes the positive impact in the quality of the game. 

"He had a cross, he had a couple of assists, he hit the crossbar. He is doing that better and better, but he is not playing 90 minutes, he is not playing every game. 

"We have to manage his evolution. But he has nothing at all to convince me about."

With five losses in their last six league games, ninth-placed Spurs are entering a pivotal period where Mourinho will need Bale at his best.

The manager added: "We play 10 matches - seven plus three - in March. That's seven for us at the club plus three for the national team. 

"Our players are going to be on a 10-match run in March which is something absolutely crazy, and Gareth is a special example of a player we need to take care of. 

"I can tell you that at this moment Gareth is playing all the minutes that he can and that we feel good for his evolution. 

"And what he wants and what we want is in this last part of the season is to play more minutes and more crucial matches than he did."

History suggests a dramatic turnaround in the Wolfsberger tie is unlikely.

No team in Europa League history - ncluding when it was known as the UEFA Cup - has overturned a three-goal deficit in an away second leg during the knockout stages of the competition.

In addition, Spurs have won each of their last four home matches in all European competitions, scoring 16 goals while conceding only twice. 

"We want of course to qualify but when you're in a bad run you need victories," said Mourinho, who also confirmed Toby Alderweireld will play.

"I believe what everyone wants in that dressing room is not only to qualify but also win the match. 

"In football anything can happen but the reality is that a 4-1 victory away from home is good. It's not about losing 3-0 or 2-0 though, so we go there with a strong side.

"We go with a bench to help us turn the direction of a game if we need to and at the same time with three or four young players.

"But our first-team line-up will be very similar to the one that started in Hungary because we want to go strong."

Jose Mourinho is convinced he can turn around a wretched run of Tottenham form and save his job as Spurs manager.

A damaging 2-1 loss at London rivals West Ham on Sunday represented a fifth defeat in six Premier League games.

Mourinho has never endured such a poor six-game sequence during his decorated career and Spurs are now ninth in the table having looked like title contenders earlier in the campaign.

The home Europa League last-32 second leg against Wolfsberger on Wednesday – a tie Spurs lead 4-1 – is likely to offer some brief respite to Mourinho.

But with suggestions the club are eyeing up RB Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann as a replacement if Spurs do not improve rapidly, Mourinho knows the pressure is on.

"I am not happy, but maturity helps, and I am feeling very confident," Mourinho told reporters on Tuesday.

"I believe that we will win through and that I will be in Tottenham's history through good reasons rather than bad.

"Thank God I'm not the manager I was. We all evolve. Sometimes [in the past] I had problems, not in terms of results as I didn't have many bad results, but day-to-day problems.

"I reacted in a much more emotional way. Instead of helping myself, I was creating more conflicts. As an example, I left Chelsea as a champion.

"Maybe your experience as a journalist tells you that people with more experience can deal with negative things better. We are calm."

The West Ham match was Mourinho's 50th Premier League outing in charge of Tottenham, with those games yielding 23 wins, 12 draws and 15 defeats.

Those 81 points overall are 14 fewer than Mourinho has amassed during his first 50 league games with any other club over the course of his career.

Mourinho added: "You say I'm not used to this, which is a positive in the negative, but I want to know which coach has always had blue sky and never cloudy or a bit dark. 

"Perhaps only a coach who is always at a dominant club in a league. It shows how beautiful my career has been. 

"Does it make me depressed? No. It's a challenge. I work for the club, the players and the supporters. I always feel I have to give them so much.

"It hurts me and it's a great challenge for me and I believe I can give it. I give it everywhere I've been and I'm more motivated than ever."

Mourinho was also asked about his relationship with chairman Daniel Levy amid the dreadful run.

He added: "My relationship is the same since day one, which is one of respect and open communication. We respect each other. 

"What I feel to Mr Levy is what I feel in every club I've worked in. I want to give happiness to everyone, the chairman, the players, the fans, everybody connected to the club.

"I feel one of them and I want to give happiness to them. I don't change.

"I never felt lonely in this building. I feel not only respected but supported. Everybody in the same boat. 

"I feel positive. Maybe that is a bit weird for you after losing so many matches but I'm positive. Nobody is happy, nobody is depressed, and everybody feels we are going to do better.

"I'm not happy but I wake up wanting to come here. Everybody is loving training and working hard with so many matches."

After the continental clash, games against Burnley, Crystal Palace and Fulham represent crucial opportunities for Spurs and Mourinho to reverse course.

Manchester City kept up their 18-match winning run with a 1-0 win at Arsenal on Sunday that maintained their 10-point lead at the top of the Premier League.

The Gunners have lost each of their most recent eight league games against City and saw the repeat of a familiar problem at Emirates Stadium.

Mason Mount tapped into an established Chelsea tradition in their 1-1 draw at Southampton – a sixth match unbeaten for Blues boss Thomas Tuchel.

However, David Moyes showed imposing records do not last forever as fourth-place West Ham beat Tottenham 2-1.

Here, we take a look at some of the quirks that revealed themselves over the course of the latest Premier League weekend.

City slickers catch sleepy Gunners napping

The scoring at Emirates Stadium started and finished after 75 seconds when Raheem Sterling headed home Riyad Mahrez's cross after 77 seconds.

It was the first time City had scored inside the opening two minutes of a Premier League game since Kevin De Bruyne did so in December 2019 – also at Arsenal.

Indeed, this has become something of a troublesome habit in these meetings for the north London club. When the sides met at the Etihad Stadium in February 2019, Sergio Aguero was on target after 46 seconds.

Sterling's goal is not even the earliest Arsenal have conceded this month, with Ollie Watkins netting for Aston Villa after 75 seconds at Villa Park. Similarly, that was the only goal of the contest.

Dominic Calvert-Lewis broke through 50 seconds in at Arsenal last season, although the hosts came back to beat Everton 3-2 on that occasion.

The quickest time recorded for a goal against Arsenal in the Premier League came when Peter Crouch gave Stoke City a 19th-second lead in December 2014 and set a 3-2 win in motion.

Mount adds to Chelsea penalty count

Mount cancelled out Takumi Minamino's opener – a goal that ended 572 minutes without conceding during Tuchel's fledgling reign – as the spoils were shared at St Mary's.

The England midfielder became the 25th different player to score a Premier League penalty for Chelsea, which gives them more spot-kick scorers than any other team in the competition's history.

Unsurprisingly, Mount's former boss Frank Lampard leads the way with 41 conversions – a sizable distance ahead of Eden Hazard (17) next up on the list.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (12) and Frank Leboeuf (10) each boast double figures, although Chelsea's regular taker Jorginho is seemingly set to join their number as the Italy midfielder has nine penalty goals in the Premier League to date.

The list of players Mount is now alongside perhaps shows how hard it has been to get a go from 12 yards for the Stamford Bridge outfit.

Diego Costa, Andriy Shevchenko, Fernando Torres, Gianfranco Zola and Gianluca Vialli are among 11 players to have scored one Premier League penalty for Chelsea.

Moyes bests Mourinho at last

West Ham's hard-earned win at London Stadium was Moyes' first success over Jose Mourinho in 16 encounters between the two former Manchester United bosses across all competitions.

Within that was a 13-match winless run in the Premier League, although there have been worse stretches for managers against fellow tacticians they must have come to dread.

The joint-record stands at 17 games thanks to a surprisingly one-sided streak for Martin O'Neill at the hands of Harry Redknapp, with Steve Bruce's failure to beat Alex Ferguson over the same span of matches perhaps more expected.

Ex-Spurs manager Redknapp certainly knows what such a slump feels like, having gone 15 matches apiece without tasting victory over Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.

Ferguson unsurprisingly dominates the list, with Sam Allardyce (15), Alan Curbishley and David O'Leary (14) facing up to grim, fruitless runs when pitted against the all-time great.

Allardyce will hope to emulate Moyes soon enough by getting one over on Mourinho, having chalked up his 13th outing without success against the Portuguese earlier this month. Alan Pardew went the same number of games without beating the now retired Wenger.

Mohamed Salah played like Lionel Messi in training at Chelsea and Jose Mourinho failed to get the best out of the star forward, according to former Blues team-mate Filipe Luis.

Chelsea bought Salah to the Premier League in January 2014 after striking a reported £11million fee with Swiss side Basel.

But it was an unhappy spell for the Egypt international under Mourinho, with Salah starting just 10 games, scoring twice and supplying three assists before being shipped off on loan to Fiorentina a year later.

A spell at Roma followed his time with the Viola and it was his impressive performances in Serie A that convinced Liverpool to give him a second chance in English football.

With the Reds, Salah has become a Premier League and Champions League winner, and Filipe Luis – who similar difficulties forcing his way into Mourinho's plans – said his talent was always evident at Stamford Bridge.

"I won the league with him [Mourinho]. But he didn't get the best out of me, just as he didn't with Salah," the former Brazil international told the Guardian.

"When he went Fiorentina, I said: 'Why are you going, Momo? This is Chelsea.' And he said: 'I need to play.' I thought: 'This kid's good.' He never went for money or to win more; he went to show he could play. In training he was like Messi. Really, like Messi. Ask anyone."

Filipe Luis arrived at Chelsea in July 2014 having just won LaLiga with Atletico Madrid, a club with whom he was also a Copa del Rey and Europa League winner and a Champions League runner-up prior to moving to London.

Despite his reputation as one of the best left-backs in the world at that time, Mourinho afforded him just 26 appearances in all competitions and nine starts in the Premier League.

However, reflecting on that time in his career Filipe Luis insists he harbours no ill will towards Mourinho and accepts the form of Cesar Azpilicueta meant he could have few complaints.

"I haven't told anyone this but the first game I knocked on [Jose] Mourinho's door," he said. "'Can I talk to you?' 'Come in.' 'Why did you bring me here? You took me from a place I was happy, where I played every week. You signed me to play. And the first day against Burnley I'm on the bench. Why not leave me at Atletico? Why bring me here not to play?' 

"He said he didn't think I was playing well and Azpilicueta was, that he didn't feel as secure with me. I had to win my place; I couldn't expect to be first choice on reputation. And looking back, he was right.

"He played so well he never gave me a chance. Mourinho rotated so I did get chances but I didn't start big games because the team was playing perfectly. We had great players. Eden Hazard, [Cesc] Fabregas, Diego Costa."

Hazard, a modern-day Blues great, was a player who Filipe Luis was particularly enthralled by.

"Alongside Neymar, Eden's the best I've played with. He's up there with Messi, winning games alone. 

"He didn't run to defend much, didn't train well, and five minutes before games he'd be playing Mario Kart in the dressing room. He trained and warmed up laces untied. But he'd go out and no one could take the ball. He'd dribble three or four. If opponents got too close, he'd just pull away, so powerful.

"So intelligent: one-two, combine, go alone; assist, score, everything. Maybe he lacks the ambition to say 'I'll be the world's best', because he could be. For talent, the best. 

"Cesc had an extraordinary season too. And Costa. Then the defence was incredible. John Terry's one of the best captains I've had. Even the bench: Oscar, Obi Mikel, Mohamed Salah, [Andre] Schurrle, Kurt Zouma, [Didier] Drogba, Loic Remy. Some team."

Jose Mourinho insisted he and his coaching staff remain the best in the business after his Tottenham tenure took another wrong turn in the 2-1 loss at West Ham.

Mistakes early in each half allowed Michail Antonio and Jesse Lingard to score for David Moyes' side, who are riding high in fourth position.

Lucas Moura pulled one back from a Gareth Bale corner, with Wales star Bale also hitting the crossbar as Spurs failed to claim a share of the spoils.

Tottenham have now lost five of their past six Premier League games, with a 2-0 win against relegation-threatened West Brom the only moment of encouragement during this slump.

Mourinho has never endured such a poor six-game sequence during his decorated career, but he balked at the post-match news conference when it was suggested he might question his own methods.

"No. No, not at all. Not at all. Zero," he replied. "Sometimes the results are a consequence of multiple situations in football.

"Mine and my coaching staff's methods are second to nobody in the world."

Spurs are ninth in the table having been beaten eight times in 24 outings this season. That is the highest number of league defeats Mourinho has suffered since the nine that led to his sacking at Chelsea midway through the 2015-16 campaign.

The West Ham match was his 50th Premier League outing in charge of Tottenham, with those games yielding 23 wins, 12 draws and 15 defeats.

Those 81 points overall are 14 fewer than Mourinho has amassed during his first 50 league games with any other club over the course of his career.

A haul of 95 from 50 at Manchester United is his next worst return, with all of his other posts having yielded in excess of 100 points.

The 15 defeats are more than twice as many as the ex-Porto, Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid boss has suffered during an initial half-century of matches before now.

Gareth Bale would start every game for Tottenham if his fitness allowed, according to Jose Mourinho.

Bale came off the bench at half-time for Spurs at West Ham on Sunday, delivering the corner for Lucas Moura to head home before hitting the crossbar himself.

However, he was not able to avert a 2-1 defeat for Mourinho's men – their fifth loss in six as part of a dismal run in the Premier League.

Real Madrid loanee Bale has been restricted to two top-flight starts since making his Tottenham return last September and Mourinho felt unable to add to that number despite the Wales star's goalscoring contribution against Wolfsberger in the Europa League on Thursday.

"I know his quality. I cannot say everything to you, I shouldn't. I don't want," he told Sky Sports when discussing Bale's performance after the match.

"I believe as a coach I don't have to speak so much about the situation, but with a Gareth Bale completely fit and ready to play 90 minutes of every game, of course he would [play].

"We are trying everything with him to recover him to be at a good level. To play 65 minutes like he did Thursday then today he couldn't start the game today, he wouldn't have 90 minutes to give us.

"But I am happy because we know what he brings, he brings his quality.

"[He was] very unlucky [when he hit the crossbar] because in that situation we had a double shot to score but we didn't."

Spurs are languishing in eighth position, with West Ham now nine points better off in fourth having played a game more.

"Before the game I was not looking to the table, I was looking to the game and the objective was to win," Mourinho said, having seen Tottenham's hopes of Champions League qualification suffer another body blow.

"It is very difficult to think about the top four. The top four, five, six teams are getting points. It will be very, very hard. The Europa League is a great motivation to get a Champions League spot and a trophy at the same time.

"The boys fight and when the team fights you can believe good things can happen."

Goals inside the first five minutes of either half from Michail Antonio and Jesse Lingard scuppered Spurs at London Stadium but Mourinho felt fortune did not smile on his side.

"I feel the result should have been a different one, especially in the second half," he added. "That is my feeling and a little bit of deja vu.

"Their defensive line was brilliant. Their centre-backs gave us a very difficult match. We started the game with a mistake and started the second half with another one.

"The team in the second half was trying absolutely everything. We had the chances, hitting the post, great crosses across the face of goal. We had easy shooting positions to score so we should have scored more goals.

"We were the team that tried to play but the boys were not lucky."

David Moyes finally got the better of Jose Mourinho at the 16th time of asking and the West Ham boss was delighted to beat one of the game's "elite managers".

The Hammers ran out 2-1 winners at the London Stadium on Sunday, with Michail Antonio and Jesse Lingard on target for the hosts.

It moved West Ham up to fourth and it was also significant for being Moyes' first win over Mourinho after 15 failed attempts.

"There is always a first for everything and Jose Mourinho has had great teams wherever," the Scot told Sky Sports.

"He is up there with elite managers but sometimes football can get you results like it did today. A great win for us. A tough opponent."

Lucas Moura's header made it a nervy finish for the hosts, with Spurs twice hitting the woodwork late on.

But Lingard's cool finish ultimately proved decisive, with the midfielder having scored three goals in four league games under Moyes at West Ham, as many as he managed in his 36 matches under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United.

Reflecting on the career trajectory of a man who spent a decade in the first-team fold at Old Trafford, Moyes said: "Jesse has been a very good player, we shouldn't take that away.

"He has had a difficult year. He has given us something else and helped us get better."

Champions League qualification is firmly on West Ham's radar now, but Moyes does not want his side to get carried away, with so much work still ahead of them.

"We have only done half a job," he said. "If we continue this way we will be close. I don't want to be negative in any way.

"We are enjoying it but are also not going to be daft. We will keep calm about it and hopefully keep pushing the teams at the top.

"West Ham have always had bits where they've won some big games but what they want is consistency and I think we have consistency.

"This club badly needs a level where they are not around the bottom. This time last year you were asking me if we can avoid relegation so it is a great feeling that is gone."

Tottenham fell to a fifth defeat in six Premier League games as David Moyes ended his Jose Mourinho hoodoo in West Ham's 2-1 win at the London Stadium.

Moyes enjoyed his first victory over Mourinho at the 16th time of asking, spoiling the under-fire boss' 50th top-flight game at the Spurs helm as the Hammers climbed to fourth.

Michail Antonio gave the hosts the lead after just five minutes and they were even quicker out of the blocks in the second half, the in-form Jesse Lingard on target.

Spurs, who squandered a 3-0 lead with 10 minutes remaining to draw the reverse fixture 3-3 in October, hit back via Lucas Moura's header but Gareth Bale struck the crossbar as a comeback failed to materialise.

Antonio put Moyes' side ahead, prodding home from close range after Hugo Lloris had repelled his initial effort from Jarrod Bowen's cross.

Harry Kane blasted wide at the end of a swift Spurs counter-attack as the visitors sought a quick response.

A sickening clash of heads between Tomas Soucek and Davinson Sanchez saw the former head off after his face was bloodied, leaving West Ham down to 10 men for a spell which they weathered without consequence.

Craig Dawson's bullet header forced Lloris to tip over his bar before half-time, with Lukasz Fabianski smartly denying Erik Lamela at the other end.

Spurs' woes deepened just over a minute into the second half as Lingard raced through to slot confidently past Lloris, leaving Mourinho looking glum on the touchline.

Kane, who had scored 11 goals in 15 league games against the Hammers prior to Sunday's clash, sent a long-range effort narrowly wide of Fabianski's left-hand upright around the hour mark.

Lucas' near-post header from Bale's corner gave Spurs hope and Kane went close to an equaliser with a low strike that flashed just wide.

Bale's spectacular attempt from the edge of the box cracked against the bar, with the woodwork again struck following a stoppage-time deflection off Son Heung-min, as West Ham ultimately stood firm in the face of significant late pressure.


What does it mean? Champions League ambitions fading for Spurs

While West Ham are eyeing a seat at European football's top table, Spurs' own Champions League aspirations are fading fast.

Mourinho's men are now nine points behind the Hammers, albeit with a game in hand, with the Europa League perhaps offering their best route back to the big time.

Mourinho's half century a damp squib

With 50 top-flight games in the Spurs dugout now under his belt, Mourinho's impact can be meaningfully measured, and the results are not great.

The Portuguese has won 23, drawn 12 and lost 15 of those matches, giving him a points-per-game return of 1.62 – the lowest such ratio at the club since Juande Ramos between 2007 and 2008 (1.17).

Lingard's impressive revival

Lingard took his goal, which proved decisive, with the confidence of a man in form.

He has scored three goals in four league games under Moyes at West Ham, as many as he managed in his 36 matches under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United.

What's next?

Tottenham host Wolfsberger in the second leg of their Europa League last-32 tie on Wednesday, boasting a 4-1 advantage, and then welcome Burnley in the league on Sunday. The Hammers head to runaway league leaders Manchester City on Saturday.

Manchester United's opening-day 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace was a chastening reminder of the team's frailties, but there was a somewhat surprising voice behind the subsequent call-to-action for the club's hierarchy.

Luke Shaw provided undoubtedly the most honest assessment of the situation among United players, this from a player who had rarely come across as a natural leader during his time at the club.

"We have a very good group, but personally I think we need more players to strengthen the squad," he told Norway's TV2. "It can give us a boost. When you look around at how other teams are strengthening their teams, then we must also do it to keep up with the others."

Perhaps the fact he wasn't speaking to a British outlet resulted in a more relaxed, open response from Shaw, who then also went on to criticise their pre-season.

But it was a new, authoritative look for a player who has always seemingly preferred to keep away from the media spotlight, and few United fans would have disagreed with him.

What happened next, however, he probably didn't expect – among the four players signed on deadline day in October was a new left-back, a Brazil international with the kind of attack-minded profile many had hoped Shaw would develop at United.

While Shaw definitely showed signs of progress in 2019-20, Alex Telles' arrival was the clearest sign that his position was no longer assured – he needed to respond.

 

A SHAW THING

The fact Telles has made just six Premier League starts in his debut season at Old Trafford is as good a starting point as any when highlighting Shaw's improved standing, and in fairness to the new signing, he's hardly put a foot wrong.

Telles has looked a solid acquisition and certainly fits the bill as a forward-thinking full-back who is also capable defensively, but Shaw has reached a level he has arguably never shown before in his career.

As an attacking outlet, Shaw's output has improved almost across the board, as such he has made himself almost undroppable.

 

His five assists is already a personal high for a Premier League season, having only managed seven in total before 2020-21, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. He is creating 2.3 chances per 90 minutes, which is up from one last term and well clear of his previous best of 1.2 each game for an entire campaign.

Undoubtedly one reason for that is the fact he is taking more set-pieces, yet his average of 1.4 open play chances created per 90 minutes remains a frequency he has never matched before over the course of a season, proving his increased familiarity with dead-ball duties isn't skewing the data.

A quick glance at his average position activity maps shows his involvement in the left-hand channel of the attacking third is up on each of the past two seasons, as well as his final year with Southampton.

 

This shows Shaw is embracing greater attacking responsibility, and where that is reflected most is the number of passes (including crosses) he is playing into the box each game (7.4). His last season with Saints had been his best in this regard (4.4), yet he's way up on that, and his productivity here is more than two-and-a-half times what it was in 2019-20 (2.9).

Shaw's early days with Southampton appeared to promise much. Finally, he appears to be back on track, not that it's been smooth sailing.

 

COPING, OUTLASTING, PROGRESSING

Shaw's relationship with Jose Mourinho became something of a distraction at times during the Portuguese's ill-fated reign.

Granted, Shaw wasn't the only player Mourinho seemed to have a problem with, but his treatment of Shaw in particular did leave a sour taste.

In two-and-a-half years playing for Mourinho, Shaw only made 33 Premier League appearances. While he did have injury and fitness problems, the manager's attitude seemingly did little to endear himself to the player.

Mourinho publicly criticised him after a 2016 defeat to Watford, saying: "For the second goal, [Nordin] Amrabat on the right side, our left-back is 25 metres distance from him, instead of five metres. But even at 25 metres, then you have to jump and go press. But no, we wait."

Mourinho then used Shaw's positive performance against Everton in 2017 against him. He said: "He had a good performance, but it was his body with my brain. He was in front of me and I was making every decision for him."

This isn't to say Shaw has been faultless this season. In fact, his defensive focus has been questionable at times in 2020-21, such as against Tottenham and Manchester City, for example.

But it's fair to say the greater attacking impetus he is showing this term compared to under Mourinho means he is more than making up for the occasional defensive lapse, and it's not like he's being beaten time after time – on average Shaw is dribbled past once every two games, the second lowest frequency for a single season in his entire career.

The difference? Well, according to the man himself, belief and competition.

"I feel really good, obviously big credit to Ole for that for believing in me and pushing me," Shaw said last month. "Alex [Telles] as well, we have a great relationship and he pushes me each day in training. We get on really well. It's nice to have that type of competition, but we push each other to get the best from ourselves. When he plays, I want the best for him, and it's the same the other way round. It's a positive way for both of us to look at it and push each other."

 

THE BEST?

There was a time – not even that long ago – when the very suggestion of Shaw being among the Premier League's best full-backs would have drawn a chuckle of derision in response.

Granted, across the four seasons prior to 2020-21, Shaw's best record of open play chances created per 90 minutes was 0.2, but there can be no doubt he is now at least in the conversation.

 

Liverpool's Andy Robertson is generally seen as the standard-bearer for left-backs in England's top flight, and Shaw compares well from an attacking sense with the Scotland international.

Shaw's 40 chances created this term is one more than Robertson, while the latter is just ahead in terms of key passes in open play (29 to 24) – though the United man has made 20 appearances to his rival's 24.

Robertson is proving a more regular source of service, with his 213 passes into the box and 201 total crosses/corners far more than Shaw's respective numbers (129 and 105), but the United left-back's deliveries are far more reliable.

Shaw's 37 successful crosses/corners is just five fewer than Robertson despite playing almost half the amount of overall deliveries.

But what really highlights Shaw's growth is his xA (expected assists) figures. His xA per 90, so the amount of assists he would ordinarily be expected to get per game, is 0.21 in 2020-21. Not only is that better than his previous best by some distance (0.12), Joao Cancelo (0.24) is the only full-back doing better here this term.

 

Shaw has made himself almost indispensable to United, his influence all the more important given Aaron Wan-Bissaka isn't particularly refined as an attacking outlet and they very rarely play with conventional wingers on either flank.

Therefore, Shaw offers the kind of threat from the wings that arguably no one else in the United squad does – and as his xA record shows, he is proving a consistent danger that marks him out as one of the league's best.

After being plagued by questions relating to his mentality for years, it's fair to say he is responding in the ideal fashion, with Telles' signing seemingly an important catalyst.

While it might be a little early to declare him outright the Premier League's best, his current trajectory at least shows that to be a realistic aim.

Manchester City are reportedly yet to begin talks over a move for Lionel Messi, while Erling Haaland is Barcelona's ideal signing.

Messi's future continues to be a major talking point as the star's contract at Barcelona expires at the end of the season.

City have been one of the clubs most strongly linked with a move for the six-time Ballon d'Or winner, but it seems the Premier League giants are waiting.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY YET TO BEGIN MESSI TALKS

Manchester City are yet to open talks with Lionel Messi, according to ESPN.

The report says City will wait until the Argentina international has decided his Barcelona future before considering negotiations.

It comes after claims the Premier League side had already tabled an offer to Messi.

 

ROUND-UP

- Erling Haaland is wanted by numerous European giants. Mundo Deportivo reports the Borussia Dortmund star would be Barcelona's ideal signing, but the LaLiga side are considering more affordable options.

- Manchester United were seemingly keen to land Barcelona forward Ansu Fati last year. Mundo Deportivo says a £129.7million (€150m) bid from United for the 18-year-old was rejected ahead of 2020-21.

- With Tottenham slipping to ninth in the Premier League, Jose Mourinho has come under fire. ESPN reports Spurs chairman Daniel Levy will wait until the end of the season to make a decision on the head coach.

- Out of contract at the end of the season, Gianluigi Donnarumma is yet to agree to a new deal with Milan. 90min claims the 21-year-old wants to succeed Manchester United shot-stopper David de Gea as the highest paid goalkeeper in the world, although he is prepared to take reduced terms at Milan.

- Thierry Henry could be set to take over at Bournemouth. talkSPORT reports the Championship club have requested permission from CF Montreal, where Henry is currently in charge, to talk to the Arsenal great.

Jose Mourinho has told his Tottenham players to "make me look good" in Sunday's clash with West Ham and insists a top-four finish can still be achieved this season.

The Spurs boss has never lost to a David Moyes team, having won nine and drawn six of his past meetings with the West Ham manager.

Moyes has also never faced a manager so many times and not registered at least one win. Yet with West Ham currently six points ahead of a faltering Tottenham in the Premier League, there may never be a better chance for the former Everton and Manchester United chief to end that long wait.

Tottenham have lost four of their last five Premier League games, as many defeats as they suffered in their previous 28 games in the competition, and head into the weekend sitting ninth in the table.

Questions linger over how long Tottenham will be patient with Mourinho, and another setback at the London Stadium would be a major blow to hopes of playing Champions League football next season.

It will be Mourinho's 50th Premier League match in charge of Tottenham Hotspur and his points-per-game average of 1.65 is the lowest of any Spurs boss since Juande Ramos (1.17).

"The table always gives you what you deserve, and I think it's very premature to think about the definition of the table," said Mourinho.

"We have to fight and we have to wait until the last match to see what happens, because anything can happen.

"We can finish in the top four, we can finish in the top six or we can finish outside the top six. We must make sure the best possible thing is going to happen."

Tottenham won 4-1 in Budapest against Wolfsberger in the Europa League on Thursday evening, a timely boost ahead of a big London derby for Mourinho.

The former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss said: "Special teams win lots of matches. We coaches are as good and as bad as our players make us. We depend a lot on that, especially coaches with lots of experience and long histories.

"We went through every possible experience and go through stages in our career where we feel much more stable and much more humble, and we realise with all the experience we have that the ones who are really responsible for our career are the ones who play for us.

"Hopefully this weekend the guys have a great performance and can make me look good, because they're the ones who make us look good or bad."

Tottenham made Mourinho look good for a long while against West Ham in October, surging into a 3-0 lead inside barely quarter of an hour before West Ham hit back sensationally with three goals in the final 10 minutes to snatch a 3-3 draw.

Such fallibility reflects negatively on the team and the coach, and Mourinho felt that afternoon was to some extent an encapsulation of Tottenham's campaign.

"The first game against West Ham was a little bit a reflection of our season and a reflection of some of our problems," Mourinho said.

"We played really, really well in that match, but we didn't win it. I think the team played so well but made mistakes.

"This team many, many times plays very, very well and should get different results, but for different reasons we don't get it."

Jose Mourinho wants Harry Kane to "play every minute of every game" but says the Tottenham talisman was handed a rest on Thursday to manage his current fitness concerns.

Kane suffered an ankle problem in Spurs' defeat to Liverpool on January 28, and seemed set to miss several weeks, only to be brought back into the fold ahead of schedule to face West Brom on February 7.

It was a move which paid off, Kane scoring in a 2-0 win – Spurs' only league victory from their last five top-flight matches.

After coming on in the FA Cup defeat to Everton and playing against Manchester City last week, Kane did not travel to Budapest for the first leg of Spurs' Europa League round of 32 tie with Austrian side Wolfsberger on Thursday.

Tottenham did the job without their star forward, as Son Heung-min, Gareth Bale, Lucas Moura and Carlos Vinicius secured a 4-1 win and aggregate advantage heading into the reverse fixture.

"He knows I want to play him every minute of every game so it is never a question of a choice," Mourinho told a news conference when asked about Kane.

"I wanted to come here with the best team and the players to give us more opportunities to have a good result but he made the decision based on his feelings which was that to play in this game was a risk with the accumulation of minutes after the injury he had. 

"Myself and the medical department agreed with him, to give him this opportunity to take care of his condition. But I believe Sunday he will be okay and ready."

Kane is Spurs' joint top-scorer in the league this season – alongside Son – with 13 goals, while the England captain has also provided 11 assists.

He has created a total of 32 chances, second only to Son, while 29 of them have come from open play – six more than his South Korean team-mate.

Of the opportunities Kane has crafted for team-mates, 12 of them are big chances, once more a team-high, and his big chance conversion rate is 60 per cent.

Spurs did not miss him against Wolfsberger though, and one player to step up was Bale, who teed up Son's opener before adding a brilliant second.

It was the first time Bale has scored and assisted for Spurs in a match since April 2013, when he did so against Manchester City, and Mourinho – who took the 31-year-old off with just over an hour played – suggested the Real Madrid loanee could be in line for a third Premier League start of the season against West Ham on Sunday.

"One of the reasons why Gareth left the pitch by 64 minutes was to try to have him available for the next match because one of the things that is not easy in relation to his condition is the accumulation of minutes," said Mourinho.

"I believe he has a chance to play the match on Sunday."

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