'Play like Dele': Alli heeds Jose Mourinho's advice to inspire Tottenham win at West Ham

Mourinho's first match in charge marked by a superb performance from Alli and goals from Son, Moura and Kane

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West Ham United 2 (Antonio 73', Ogbonna 90+5')

Tottenham Hotspur 3 (Son 36', Moura 42', Kane 49')

If Jose Mourinho's appointment as Mauricio Pochettino's replacement was hardly met with street parties in Tottenham, a 3-2 win against a West Ham who love nothing more than playing party-poopers will do much to endear the Portuguese to his new club.

Goals from Son Heung-min, Lucas Moura and Harry Kane had Spurs in cruise control before Michail Antonio's strike and an Angelo Ogbonna goal in the fifth minute of injury time gave the final score an air of respectability.

If Mourinho taking on the task of breathing life into a dying club is seen also through the prism of a rebirth of a reputation ruined by his final days in charge at Manchester United, it had the knock-on effect of firing up a player who had lost his way under Pochettino.

Dele Alli had gone from pivot to problematic under the Argentine. While Christian Eriksen and others have suffered dips in form, none were more alarming than that suffered by Alli since helping Spurs reach the Champions League final less than six months ago.

The 23-year-old was asked to confirm his identity by Mourinho during training this week, with the Portuguese urging the midfielder to "play like Dele, not his brother" to paraphrase, rather than the impostor masquerading as one of the country's most gifted young players of more recent times.

Alli seemed to get the message. "I’m happy with him," Mourinho told BT Sport. "He’s too good to not be one of the best players in the world and not playing with the national team."

Alli said: "I think I have been performing well so far this season but I need to get better than my old form and get to my best."

It was Alli's ball that released Kane to finish with a crisp finish past Roberto Jimenez on three minutes before the goal was ruled out for offside. The pair combined again minutes later, with Kane again jumping the gun to prompt the referee's assistant to raise his flag. Alli's neat back-heel almost released Son, but Aaron Cresswell was around on the cover to clear the danger.

West Ham failed to heed any of those warnings. Alli was given an age to turn and release Son to open the scoring on 36 minutes. The South Korean forward fired a low shot across Jimenez's goal that beat the West Ham goalkeeper far too easily.

The lead was doubled six minutes later and owed much to the skill of Alli. After falling over trying to control the ball on the touchline, he somehow untwisted his legs in time before it cross the line to release Son down the left. Son's low cross was met by Moura arriving at breakneck speed at the far post to ensure Mourinho's first half-time team talk would be a positive one.

Tottenham should have increased their lead after the restart. Moura dragged his shot wide with only Jimenez to beat so it was left to Kane to add to West Ham's misery as the Spurs captain headed home a Serge Aurier cross. It was Kane's 175th goal for his club, taking him to outright third in the club's list of all-time goalscorers behind Bobby Smith and Jimmy Greaves.

Antonio's introduction at half time gave West Ham some attacking impetus and the winger's strike on 72 minutes at least gave the illusion that West Ham were trying to make a fist of things. Declan Rice had a goal correctly ruled out by VAR for the home side before Ogbonna scored from a corner. "I was really happy before we conceded the two goals," Mourinho said. "We are lucky I have so many years in the Premier League so I told the players at half time 'even if we are 3-0 in the 85th minute the game will still be open'."

He added: "The most important thing was to win, not matter how. The boys are happy and that’s what I really wanted."

Those goals were the only blip on an otherwise memorable day for Mourinho. While the Portuguese celebrated, his opposite number, Manuel Pellegrini lamented. "My players never give up. They keep fighting all the way to the end of the game. The moment we get a win under our belts things will change," said the West Ham manager.

The fact remains West Ham are without a win in their last eight under the Chilean and never looked like altering that statistic against superior opponents. Despite the fighting talk, Pellegrini displays the look of a man who knows his own time may be coming to an end.


West Ham United 2 (Antonio 73', Ogbonna 90+5')

Tottenham Hotspur 3 (Son 36', Moura 42', Kane 49')