Jose Mourinho admitted that Tottenham’s top four prospects were in tatters after West Ham moved up to fourth place with a 2-1 victory on Sunday. Mourinho’s side have fallen to a fifth loss in their last six Premier League games as they paid the price for a botched defense at London Stadium. Michail Antonio put West Ham ahead early in the first period and Jesse Lingard doubled the hosts’ advantage after the break. Lucas Moura reduced the deficit with his first league goal since September, but Spurs were unable to recover a point.
West Ham climbed two points above Chelsea in Champions League places as their unexpected European challenge accelerated with a seventh win in their last nine league appearances.
It was a first triumph for West Ham boss David Moyes in 16 meetings with Mourinho.
And while Moyes sparked a remarkable revival at West Ham, which was in a relegation battle when it arrived last season, Mourinho’s Tottenham are in the midst of a dismal campaign.
They languish in ninth and lag West Ham by nine points, albeit with a game in hand.
“It’s very hard to think about the top four. The top six teams get points. It will be very difficult,” Mourinho said.
“The Europa League is a great motivation to clinch a Champions League place and a trophy at the same time.”
Tottenham have already lost eight league games this season – Mourinho’s second worst career comeback after losing nine to Chelsea in 2015-16.
Mourinho will need to turn things around quickly to save his job after Tottenham’s latest flop.
“I feel sad, obviously. We started the game with a mistake and started the second half with another,” Mourinho said.
“The team in the second half was trying absolutely everything. We were the team that tried to play but the boys were unlucky.”
Of West Ham’s four best dreams, Moyes said, “We’ve only done half a job. If we continue this way, we’ll be close. I don’t mean to be negative in any way.
“We’re taking advantage of that, but we’re not going to be dumb either. We will stay calm and hopefully continue to push the teams to the top.
“This time last year you were asking me if we can avoid relegation so it’s a great feeling that’s gone.”
Tottenham had conceded nine goals in their last three games in all competitions and Antonio exploited a more dismal defense to open the scoring in the fifth minute.
When Son Heung-min’s slow reaction allowed Jarrod Bowen to whip up a left cross, Eric Dier and Japhet Tanganga stood with their feet flat as Antonio stepped between them.
Antonio’s initial effort was saved by Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and the West Ham forward quickly rose to stab at the rebound at close range.
– Toothless Tottenham –
Tomas Soucek was left with blood streaming down his face after a heads-up clash with Tanganga, putting West Ham at 10 men for five minutes while the midfielder left to be stitched up.
Even then, toothless Tottenham couldn’t move forward.
Aided by Tottenham’s sculptural rearguard, Lingard broke free to lead a fine finish to the far corner in the 47th minute.
An offside flag looked like it could spare Spurs, but a VAR review overturned the decision as Lingard belatedly celebrated his third goal since signing on loan from Manchester United.
Tottenham needed an immediate response and Harry Kane was just off target with a ferocious free kick before Lucas recovered one in the 64th minute.
Gareth Bale’s corner arrowed Lucas at the near post and the Brazilian edged his marker to glance with a header past Lukasz Fabianski.
Bale nearly equalized with a lightning effort from the edge of the area that cannonated out of the bar.
Tottenham’s luck was lost again in the stoppage time as the ball bounced off Son but bounced off the post and bounced back to safety.
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