Mourinho was able to shove his old Clasico rival when Spurs defeat Manchester City 2-0 on November 21 but there wasn’t a sniff of an upset here with City now unbeaten in their 15 Premier League games since, with 16 wins in a row in all competitions and no goals conceded in six at home.
Rodri broke City’s barrier from the penalty spot midway through the first half and man-of-the-moment Ilkay Gundogan added a brace after the interval to earn it 11 goals in 12, his perfect day only soiled when he limped off later on.
Gundogan’s second goal, City’s third, came from a remarkable 80-yard pass by goalkeeper Ederson who was mobbed by team-mates in celebration. At the moment, Pep can even do long balls better than Jose.
While City is seven points clear at the top of the table and striding towards a third title in four seasons, Spurs look miles away from their early-season stake.
They will point to Harry Kane striking the upright early on with the game goalless but that would be gripping at straws.
This was their fourth defeat in five games and it was strange given their restricted creativity that Mourinho only sent on Gareth Bale after 72 minutes with the scoreline already 3-0. Dele Alli was just eight minutes longer from the bench.
City seems to break records every time they step out on the pitch. They have started 2021 with nine league wins out of nine – matching the top-flight previously set by Bolton (1906) and Manchester United (2009).
Mourinho, often livid after bad defeats for his team, was almost passive in his response, pointing to the struggles of Wednesday’s 5-4 FA Cup defeat at Everton after extra-time.
‘It was a fresh team against a very worn team,’ he said. ‘We started the game very well and hit the post. 1-0 could have given us the fuel when we were especially tired.’
City are outstanding frontrunners and in Gundogan they’ve got a player who has stepped up to fill the boots of the injured Kevin De Bruyne, there can be no higher gratitude.
Pep Guardiola was able to rest Ruben Dias and welcome back Sergio Aguero to the bench after missing 11 games after Covid.
The only bump to a perfect day was Gundogan limping off after it appeared he tweak his groin. Bale made a belated appearance for Spurs at 3-0 down though with Mourinho saying he ‘wasn’t ready for much more than that’ because of injury problems hindering training.
Bale did mastermind some space in the penalty area after 81 minutes but Ederson evoked a flying save to his left to keep the ball out. At the other end, Lloris kept the score down by saving from Sterling.
‘We have a special way to play and we will continue. You have to be patient, patient. Calm,’ said Guardiola.
The only bad news left for Spurs now is they have to meet City again in the Carabao Cup Final on April 25.