Gazzaniga – 6
His weakest performance in his current run. Should have done better for the first goal and seemed vulnerable in a crowded box. Enjoying his long ball. You see, for one thing, the long ball buys space for the short ball should you ever want to use it. Short balls every time just brings the attack right on top of you.
This was a great game. Yes, because there was another exciting period of football. Yes, because there was a glut of goals and qualification for the knock out stages of the Champions League. But also because, if he didn’t know it already, Mourinho saw the stark evidence of the job in hand.
They’ve been undone this way before, coming out and expecting the game to just fall their way and competing without application or energy. Then, when they’ve been hit by sucker punch goals, confidence whiffles out of them like air from a whoopee cushion.
At no stage am I ever going to run Poch down but Mourinho brought something to this game. He didn’t seek to change a winning side (Davies was injured). He made a decisive intervention taking Dier off to change the dynamics of the game and again, when they needed changing again, he brought Sissoko on.
Did he deliberately engineer a walking / standing ovation for Dele? He certainly did everything bar taking the throw on for the second goal. I used to like Pochettino’s demeanour, letting the players take control once they crossed the white line, but I have to say I am enjoying Mourinho’s passion and his adjusting instructions throughout the action.
The scoring here is a bit of pin the tail on the donkey (no reference to any player past or present). I should probably average a first half three, add a second half seven, and divide by two, such was the gulf in performance between the two halves. But, hey, they’ve offered José Mourinho a place on his favourite stage. Bring it on!
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