High-fiving ball-boys, humiliating Eric Dier, despairing at soft goals and then overseeing a full-blooded comeback. One evening that felt like it encompassed the three years of a typical Jose Mourinho club-cycle, and there is still so much more of this to come.
This was Mourinho back in the Champions League, experiencing the kind of drama for which his new club have developed a taste in this competition, with their often-bewildered defence and an attacking force that gets them out of trouble time and again. Spurs have qualified for the knockout round in February with a spring in their step and seven goals in two games under a new manager who actually seems like he might be enjoying himself.
Mourinho knows how football works, but he also knows how television works which was why he went over to the ball-boy whose quick recycling of the spare ball led to the second Spurs goal and embraced the teenager as the camera followed him. Later, when asked what he had said to his players at half-time, trailing 2-1 having been two goals behind, Mourinho advised the room to “wait a few months for the Amazon movie”, and you could hear the till ringing up dollar bills.
Of course, if the release of the Amazon documentary on Spurs’ season coincides with a downturn in results the footage of late November Mourinho is likely to contrast very sharply with paranoid, gloomy Mourinho but for now things could not have started better. Even his ritual substitute sacrifice of Eric Dier 28 minutes in did not spoil the day, with Mourinho offering an earnest apology to the player after the match and suggesting it was just him undoing an honest tactical mistake.
When his number was illuminated, the England international charged manfully towards the touchline, as if to signal his acquiescence in this personal misfortune. Mourinho sent on Christian Eriksen to add a greater degree of creativity to his midfield. This turned into a fine performance for the Danish midfielder whose passing gave Spurs a new dimension and finished the game by floating a free-kick onto the head of Harry Kane for his second goal of the night.
That made it 23 goals in 23 games for club and country for the Spurs centre-forward this season, and he is not the only one who seems to be responding to the new regime. Dele Alli scored the first goal and was the recipient of half a lap of honour when he came off late in the game and took the long route home to rapturous applause. He had also created the third for Serge Aurier, and looked as sharp in the second half as he had been against West Ham.
Mourinho has been eager to make as many excuses as possible for his team in the last five days, blaming their fluctuating performances on everything from the schedule of games after an international week to the emotional impact of Mauricio Pochettino’s departure. On Saturday it had been the last 30 minutes at the London Stadium which were the problem, while on this evening it had been the first half when things had gone wrong.
A Mourinho team fell two goals behind in the Champions League for the first time since February 2002, and his second appearance in the competition as a new Porto manager against the mighty Real Madrid. In the other technical area was the Portuguese coach Pedro Martins, once of Rio Ave where Mourinho’s father Jose Felix also managed and his young son had himself learned the art of being a quick-thinking ball-boy.
Olympiacos seized on two great opportunities, the first when Youssef El Arabi, the Morocco international, dropped a shoulder and went past Harry Winks before sweeping a low left-foot shot past Paulo Gazzaniga’s right hand. Then again when a low corner eluded four Spurs defenders and the tall Portuguese centre-half Ruben Semedo stroked it in from close range.
Off came Dier before the half-hour with Mourinho later consoling him that it helped that such a fate had to befall an “intelligent boy” who could understand why this was being inflicted upon him. On came Eriksen into what Mourinho referred to as “the open triangle” of his midfield. Spurs were gifted a goal in time added on at the end of the first half when the Tunisian defender Yassine Meriah missed completely a simple clearance and Dele was given a simple chance to score.
The equaliser came when Lucas Moura’s tackle on the right wing, and then the ball-boy’s quick thinking in recycling the spare in the multi-ball system, gave Aurier the chance to take the throw-in immediately. The Brazilian was off down the right wing and, looking up, saw Kane delaying his run and pointing to where he wanted the ball delivered. Kane dispatched the cut-back first time.
Mourinho praised this ball-boy, whom he had unsuccessfully tried to track down to ask him to join the team in the changing room afterwards, by remembering his own teenage days as a ball-boy recycling the ball for quick throw-ins in the Portuguese second tier.
“He understands the game,” Mourinho reflected on the unnamed ball-boy, “he reads the game, he’s not there just to look at the stands, the lights or the stars.” “I was,” he added, in case there was any doubt on the matter, “between 10 years old and 15-16, a very good ball-boy”.
Dele’s cross on 73 minutes was crisply struck from the right by Aurier for the third. Eriksen’s free-kick was headed in by Kane for the fourth and on the touchline, Mourinho leapt into the embrace of his new assistants as if none of this had ever been in doubt. Later he said that he could see the “self-esteem” of the team was not as it should be and that he hoped the two victories in four days would rid some of the “ghosts” haunting his new players, with himself the chief exorcist.
Gazzaniga 6; Aurier 7, Sanchez 6, Alderweireld 6, Rose 6; Dier 5, Winks 6; Moura 7, Dele 7, Son 6; Kane 7.
Subs Austin (g), Vertonghen, Lo Celso, Sessegnon. Eriksen/Dier 28 Ndombele/Dele 82 Sissoko/Moura 61
Sa 6; Elabdellaoui 5, R Semedo 6, Meriah 4, Tsimikas 5; Camara 6, Guilherme 6, Bouchalakis 5; Podence 6, El Arabi 6, Masouras 5.
Subs Allain (g), Benzia, Papadopoulos. Torosidis. Valbuena/Bouchalakis 74 Randjelovic/Podence 78 Guerrero/El Arabi 85
Jose Mourinho: I was a brilliant ball boy
The first thing I want to say is to do what I did publicly in the dressing room is to apologise to Eric Dier. It's not easy for a player, it's not easy for a coach, I did it for the team. Not because Eric was playing badly but I needed different solutions, they were closing really well and I needed a second man to play in the pockets between the wide players and the centre-backs and it was between Dier and Winks. Hard decision for me but I did it for the team. Eric understands but the reality is it's never easy. To make it clear it's about the team not individuals. Before that I thought to bring him to centre-back and take out one of the centre-backs. I feel sorry for that but the most important thing is we are through to the next round.
They are a very good team, very well organised and they needed to win. They attacked our self esteem and our self confidence. I didn't expect our boys to feel this pressure at home and at half time more than the change, more than the tactical talk was about keep calm, keep confidence, believe in ourselves. We gave some tips tactically but the most important was to keep calm.
The goal at half time was important. But honestly when you are losing 2-0 if you are in control of the other results and you know a draw is enough, and you have to just to go for the draw you go just for that.
I always say this, I love intelligent ball boys like I was. I was a brilliant ball boy as a kid and this kid was brilliant. He understands the game and made an assist. And he'll never forget it.
Confidence, we need to defend better, but I mean to press better. The strategy was to push them higher but we didn't do that well. For me some of the boys look a bit tired. The pressure around my first match never easy, we had the data and the levels of intensity and all the values were really high against West Ham, today I decided to play with the same team. Maybe I was wrong and should have gone for a couple of changes for a little more energy. We have so many difficult matches ahead of us, we can look at the Bayern Munich match with different eyes.
That Spurs interview in full
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 26, 2019
Spurs players react
Disappointing start, didn't come out with energy at all really, they got the goal then the second and it was uphill goal from there. Del did well to get that goal before half time. It feels good to be qualified.
On what was said at half time.
More calm, we needed to be calm. Calmer on the ball, didn't have to rush, there was still 45 minutes left, we knew it couldn't get any worse, play with freedom and enjoy it a bit more.
We couldn't perform worse than we did in the first half.
On the manager's decision to take off Eric Dier.
I suppose we were losing and it was the manager's decision to bring on a more forward thinking midfielder but it could have been anyone to be honest. I thought I was awful in the first half.
Hoddle impressed by Mourinho
"He must have had a go at half time. In the first half there was no rotation, they played in straight lines!
"Although Moura was playing well at a certain time, he got Sissoko on to sit there. On another day I've seen Spurs give leads away but he said no, you get used to this. And they went direct, not once did Gazzaniga play out from the back."
What a comeback! Great game to watch. And I'm sure I heard someone say Jose Mourinho was in charge of Spurs...
90 mins - Spurs 4 Olympiakos 2
Winks falls into a trap while trying to keep the ball and play out from the back but Spurs get away with it this time. Sissoko has made a difference since coming on. Helps make the right wing a bit safer, especially with Aurier playing there.
88 mins - Spurs 4 Olympiakos 2
A corner is hooked in towards Semedo at the back post but he heads over the bar.
The changes Mourinho has made have completely flipped this match. I think the guy might know what he's doing. Kens his tatties.
85 mins - Spurs 4 Olympiakos 2
That ovation round the stadium will make Alli feel like he's 20 feet tall. Get him in your Fantasy Football team right now!
Actually don't. I want the points. Also I'm terrible at FF.
83 mins - Spurs 4 Olympiakos 2
Mourinho wisely decides to give Alli a bit of rest and puts Ndombele on for the last 10 minutes of the match. Alli has to walk around the whole stadium as a result and gets a standing ovation everywhere he goes.
80 mins - Spurs 4 Olympiakos 2
Spurs completely in control now. Olympiakos could fall apart like Jenga if they're not careful.
KANE SCORES HIS SECOND!
Spurs 4 Olympiakos 2
He is now the player fastest to score 20 goals in the Champions League - IN HISTORY! His 24th game.
A free-kick is curled to the back post and Kane nods it past the goalkeeper. Brilliant.
76 mins - Spurs 3 Olympiakos 2
Alli goes running up the wing and shows his pace, to get away from Podence - who is quick, remember - but is eventually dragged to the ground. He also gets stood on by Podence while falling to ground and seems to be in a bit of pain., Hopefully he's OK but he keeps holding his arm.
OOOOHHHH WHAT A HIT AURIER! WHAT A STRIKE!
Spurs 3 Olympiakos 2
This is brilliant. What a goal. Alli does some sexy skill in the box, wins space and crosses into the area, Son flicks it on and the ball sits perfectly for Aurier on the corner of the box to slice his foot across it. It's like Pavard's goal at the World Cup last year, technique wise. Superb.
Swazz Aurier ����
The reverse angle though �� pic.twitter.com/ZIvrrIS4PF
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 26, 2019
72 mins - Spurs 2 Olympiakos 2
Eriksen absolutely batters one towards goal but it slices away from goal and flies wide of the post. Hopefully that didn't hit anyone in the crowd because it was travelling.
69 mins - Spurs 2 Olympiakos 2
Sanchez and Alderweireld are on different frequencies tonight. I can only assume on the pitch the other players are saying things like "talk to each other!" and "listen to the call!". All the hits.
Alli is running through on goal! Semedo makes a mistake, Alli goes at goal and Bouchalakis slides in to stop him from behind, taking him out and earning a booking. Free-kick on the line. You'd think Kane will just pump this one towards the net.
66 mins - Spurs 2 Olympiakos 2
Jose Mourinho makes sure the ball boy gets the respect he deserves for the assist ������
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 26, 2019
Classy touch. Spurs are having joy down the left wing just now, Son is causing Elabdellaoui all sorts of problems. And yes, that is the last time I'm going to try and spell his name.
65 mins - Spurs 2 Olympiakos 2
I think Spurs might be attacking as more of a 4-1-4-1 now with Alli and Eriksen ahead of Winks. That becomes a a 4-1-3-2 as Alli joins Kane further up front.
Spurs are starting to get frustrated with the referee. Eriksen has just controlled a blasted ball with one unbelievably difficult first touch. How on earth has he managed that. I'd say it's luck if he didn't do it so often.
62 mins - Spurs 2 Olympiakos 2
Moura off, Sissoko on. Mourinho, hire me! It does make sense though.
Alderweireld has been booked for sort of catching El Arabi on the cheek. He's at it. This whole team loves the drama.
60 mins - Spurs 2 Olympiakos 2
Spurs' defensive shape is really narrow and it's leaving space for switched passes and wingers.
I would believe it if Moura came off for Sissoko. The latter is better defensively and more likely to cover the runs that Olympiakos down the channels.
57 mins - Spurs 2 Olympiakos 2
It's very end to end now. Both teams getting numbers forward and rushing to cover back in their own half.
55 mins - Spurs 2 Olympiakos 2
Olympiakos have responded well and are getting bodies forward. Spurs are so much better this half though, finding each other with forward passes and playing with energy. Aurier is getting up the pitch and that's making a big difference.
53 mins - Spurs 2 Olympiakos 2
Mourinho gave the ball boy a hug after that one. If he hadn't thrown the ball to the players as quickly that goal wouldn't have happened.
Semedo loves the drama. He goes for a bouncing ball with Alli and Alli maybe touches his boot with his own... but that sends the guy flying.
Spurs 2 Olympiakos 2
Spurs defend a free-kick, Gazzaniga launches the ball up the pitch and Moura chases it, wins a throw and gets it back in play quickly, running up the wing and squaring it to Kane on the penalty spot. He finishes to draw the scores level.
50 mins - Spurs 1 Olympiakos 2
Eriksen lines this one up, the wall has left the near post open... but Eriksen crosses in and Sanchez attacks it from six yards! This must be a goal! It's over the bar. Off Sanchez's shoulder.
48 mins - Spurs 1 Olympiakos 2
Spurs have started brighter and Eriksen has already put a ball into the box for Kane to attack. The goalkeeper takes it out the air.
This is so much better from Spurs. They're fired up and finally going at it, pressing intensely. Moura wins a free-kick near the area.
KICK OFF 2
Olympiakos have completely done Mourinho tactically here. Spurs' performance has been awful but it's not just about the players being off. Olympiakos are a 433, 4231 and 523 depending on where the ball is. The shape changes constantly and they have men over everywhere.
First line of engagement is a 433 but front three are stacked to one side, midfield three to the other. This shifts over as Spurs move the ball about, blocking the safe pass through the lines - Spurs want to play direct now, Olympiakos aren't letting them. All about blocking space.
In defensive phase it's a back five. The four shift towards the ball and a forward/winger drops in the other side to form a five. So the left winger becomes left wing back here.
Spurs attacked with a front four (plus Aurier) vs West Ham, so Olympiakos made sure they have 5 v 4 in defence to stop that.
It's not all man to man, more about getting two v ones and numbers over wherever they can. Kane is isolated, Moura stays wide since Aurier can't go because of the winger - Olympiakos are making every single pass risky.
The only real option for the front four then is to try and run with the ball but because there are also at least two or three players around them, they run into an alley and then don't have a pass on.
It's really interesting.
The worst I have ever seen Spurs play under Jose Mourinho. Fascinated by Olympiakos' shape here, it changes in each part of the pitch.
SPURS ARE GIVEN A GIFT!
Spurs 1 Olympiakos 2
Aurier curls a cross in, it's rubbish, and Meriah swings to clear it but misses the ball! It runs through to Alli who just has to tap into an empty net.
45 mins - Spurs 0 Olympiakos 2
Son bends one over the bar but at least he's trying. That chance has only come about because the goalkeeper passed the ball directly to Spurs when throwing it out, like it's Pro Evo and you were thinking about something else at the time. They always score. And you know you'll do it again.
43 mins - Spurs 0 Olympiakos 2
Mourinho keeps telling his players to calm. Calm down. Calm down guys. Hey guys! CALM THE F*** DOWN
41 mins - Spurs 0 Olympiakos 2
Kane's taking it. Not Eriksen. Mourinho wants his players to hurry up.
Kane steps up.... and hits the roof of the net. Lots of power, plenty of curl and dip, just held down square a little bit too long.
39 mins - Spurs 0 Olympiakos 2
Semedo makes a heavy looking challenge on Son about 25 yards out and the referee gives it as a foul. He clearly takes the ball and now Eriksen has a chance to ping one into the top corner.
37 mins - Spurs 0 Olympiakos 2
Spurs still have no ideas. Mourinho has been completely tactically outfoxed, which I think is the first time I've ever seen it. That added to a limp performance and you have the recipe for a defeat soup.
34 mins - Spurs 0 Olympiakos 2
Meriah strides forward and decides to have a punt, drilling the ball wide of the post with a 35 yard effort. Spurs players are falling out with each other on the pitch.
Olympiakos' defensive shape is killing Spurs here. Mouriho's team is set up as four forwards and six behind, with Aurier supposed to go forwards, but Olympiakos are dropping into a back five to outnumber the four and Spurs midfield is too far away to make use of the space created. A forward three is keeping Aurier and Rose from getting forward - they're overloading Spurs at both ends of the pitch.
Also, Spurs can't pass a ball tonight.
32 mins - Spurs 0 Olympiakos 2
No change in shape, Eriksen has just gone alongside Winks and will provide more of an attacking creative threat. Or he will if he keeps the ball, rather than give it away like he just has.
Olympiakos are making the pitch really big as they play out from the back and Spurs aren't able to get close to them to make a tackle.
30 mins - Spurs 0 Olympiakos 2
Dier is substituted on 29 minutes, Mourinho tries to give him a little hug but he must be raging. "He looks heavy, sluggish" says Jenas. To be fair, he's managed to hide it well.
28 mins - Spurs 0 Olympiakos 2
Mourinho is now having a long chat with Christian Eriksen, who is about to come on. Mourinho laying down the law! Spurs are all over the place. They look scared. Silly mistakes, players not showing for the ball, others not doing their defensive duties.
26 mins - Spurs 0 Olympiakos 2
Just as Spurs were trying to counter-attack the referee stopped play due to an injury to Semedo, who is really milking the impact he took off Gazzaniga. A rogue knee into his shine looks to be the problem and Semedo is acting as though he is lucky to survive it. What a brave soldier you are, Ruben Semedo.
24 mins - Spurs 0 Olympiakos 2
Moura tracks Tsimikas all the way back to his own corner and fouls him. And when I say fouls, I mean tackles, and the boy goes down to win the free-kick. Oldest trick in the European football game.
Gazzaniga has made a total mess of a clearance from the free-kick, punching without conviction and only just getting away with it.
22 mins - Spurs 0 Olympiakos 2
Ndombele has been sent out to warm up. I think Mourinho would be within his rights to haul off Eric Dier and change this up. Thing is, he can't go nuts at this group yet especially while trying to cultivate a culture less demanding or authoritarian than the players expected.
And Kane has just missed a one v one from inside the box. Luckily he's offside.
Spurs 0 Olympiakos 2
Oh me oh my. Spurs haven't turned up yet! It's a pathetic performance so far, like what they did to West Ham. A corner is put in the box, Kane, Rose and Alderweireld all let it run past them and Semedo stabs in from six yards! Ridiculous defending.
19 mins - Spurs 0 Olympiakos 1
It feels like Mourinho has tries to relax his players and calm them down but rather than inspiring a measured, confident performance has got this team playing like they already think they've won it.
18 mins - Spurs 0 Olympiakos 1
Sanchez has just rescued Spurs from a certain goal. Podence, who is rapid, sprints away behind the defensive line in a two v one, Sanchez the one. The Spurs man races to keep up, reaches and then slides to block a shot at the near post, showing the forward away from goal. Great defending.
17 mins - Spurs 0 Olympiakos 1
Winks has a couple of hits into the box in a row, the goalkeeper drops one of them but Son can't take advantage. Olympiakos now passing it around, Spurs press and force a long ball. Spurs then move slowly up the pitch.
14 mins - Spurs 0 Olympiakos 1
Son goes on a hero run into the area, dribbling past a couple of defenders but overrunning it just as he got near the goalkeeper.
Free-kick now wide right. Winks curls the ball to the near post, Son is there AND IT'S GOING IN! The goalkeeper reacts with a superb save!
12 mins - Spurs 0 Olympiakos 1
Moura dribbles towards the box but goes down too easily and doesn't get the foul, Spurs slow things down again and go backwards. Winks shifts the ball forward, Aurier joins wide right and hits an early cross into the box, Dier goes backwards. Olympiakos might actually be defending as a back five out of possession by their own box.
9 mins - Spurs 0 Olympiakos 1
Olympiakos are playing a 4-3-3, blocking high up the pitch and having the middle three block the other side of the pitch.
Spurs are passing really patiently but don't look to be as revved up as they probably need to be. Mourinho's assistant looks really wound up on the bench.
OOOHHHHHH WHAT A HIT! OLYMPIAKOS TAKE THE LEAD!
Tottenham 0 Olympiakos 1
"It's been coming!" says Jermaine Jenas and he's dead right. Spurs have started so flat, no aggression or commitment to winning the ball. El-Arabi has time and space to shift the ball onto his left foot about 25 yards out and launches a left-footed effort into the side of the net, Gazzaniga completely beaten. Great strike.
5 mins - Spurs 0 Olympiakos 0
A shot at goal from Olympiakos! They've started well, Spurs seem a little tentative. Alli is already playing so far forward he's a second striker but Spurs' narrow shape is leaving space in the channels.
3 mins - Spurs 0 Olympiakos 0
Slow start but then Podence goes on a little run and accelerates away from defenders. He keeps going, Spurs get really narrow and eventually block the move.
And they're off!
Here come the players
The Champions League ball is really cool. I have one and can confirm it is also lovely to play with.
Look at it. The colours are brilliant. A pint of lager for whoever designed that, please.
Peter Crouch's voice has gone
The third BT Sport pundit has just had to stop talking halfway through a point because his voice has gone. I've never seen that before and he's laughing about how he thought he'd retired from being substituted. Poor guy. If it's any consolation, I once played a gig when I had glandular fever and I sounded like a ghost doing an impression of Sean Dyche. Is that relevant? I'm not sure. But it's on the internet now so I'm looking forward to adverts about glandular fever remedies.
Mourinho says West Ham was easy
Rose is a different player than Davies, he's positive, understands the role and hopefully we can keep a good dynamic and get the points.
I think they still have a mathematical chance, and if not to finish second they will try to finish third. It will be amazing if Pedro thinks about the match they have against PAOK but I doubt he will. We have to play well, West Ham was easy.
Players out for the warmup
If you're looking for a little pre-match reading, might I recommend this on Why Dele Alli will prosper under Jose Mourinho's direct style of play.
Jose Mourinho interview
I arrived at the club and realised it's not just the amazing physical structure, it's everything. The staff, the departments. It's a great feeling. When our friend upstairs gives us a gift we cannot waste it. Dele the past months were not good enough for the potential he has, I don't accept that boy won't be a top player. When I criticise I'm not criticising, I'm coaching. Sometimes they don't like to listen but a talent like Dele has to be a top, top, top player. For me he is a player who has to play as a second striker.
When you arrive in the last 16 you have finished first or second, to finish second diminishes the chances of doing it. It's not knockout yet but we have to face this as it is. If we win we qualify.
Not in the style, the dynamics, the players, we need to go in the direction of stability. I had two training sessions before West Ham, I had two training sessions before [tonight].
Inside the space station
Rio Ferdinand and Glenn Hoddle on Jose Mourinho
When I first saw him he was at a rival club but I loved watching him. There was a spark about him. All of a sudden he changed to downbeat, grumpy, players feed off a manager's charisma and I thought he was very negative the way his body language was at the end.
I was surprised Pochettino went and let's be clear, Mourinho wouldn't be looking at Tottenham if it wasn't for what Pochettino did. He's a serial trophy winner, isn't he? I think he's the right person at the right time. I think Levy's looked at it gone Arsenal's coming up, United might be coming up, Bayern Munich need a manager. There are a few managers out there who need a change, he's done it swiftly.
Jose Mourinho back in the big time
Hello there, kalispera, and welcome to our live blog for Spurs vs Olympiakos, England vs Greece, Harry Kane vs whoever on earth they've managed to get upfront.
The actual name of that man is Youssef El-Arabi, a 32 year old French striker who has four goals in 10 league games this season. Will he put fear into the Spurs defence? We should look at the teams first to find out:
Spurs should win this. And can they win the Champions League? Jose Mourinho answered that question in the pre-match press conference:
“It’s something that everybody dreams about, to win it and not everyone has the privilege to be a Champions League winner which I was happy enough to do twice. Do I want to win it a third time? Of course, I would love it but I know the difficulties of it.
“And, at this moment, it is not the moment to speak about it. It is the moment to qualify. I think it is my 148th game and I think one of the reasons why my teams were never out in the group phase, was exactly because we always thought about the group phase and we never thought about what could happen after that.”
“There are some teams with a different culture of victory. There are clubs and teams with a different potential, experience and know-how. But with these boys, I will never be afraid of any Champions League match.
“I repeat, we need to qualify, that is the focus. I always say that. Not even in the last 16 did I used to think about winning the trophy. Only in the quarter-finals.
“At the moment, I think we are still far from it. But give me time to work, give me time to float my ideas with these boys and I will have no problem at all going to any stadium at all to face any big opponent in Europe or in England. We are not going to be afraid of anybody.”
Kick off is 8pm, you can stay with us here for all the buildup and action.