English Premiership

Mourinho takes cheeky swipe at Man City over European ban

Jose Mourinho (Getty Images)
Jose Mourinho (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Jose Mourinho insisted he was only focused on Tottenham after Sunday's 3-2 win at Aston Villa - but still parted a dig at Manchester City following their European ban.

Spurs moved up to fifth place in the Premier League standings after Son Heung-min's stoppage-time strike secured a dramatic victory for the visitors at Villa Park.

The fifth spot could now offer a Champions League place following City's two-year UEFA ban for breaching Financial Fair Play rules, although it is yet to officially be confirmed and the champions are appealing.

Mourinho finished second with Manchester United two years ago, 19 points behind City, and joked about whether his former club could be retrospectively handed the title.

"I didn't lose one single minute analysing UEFA - they have to analyse," the Portuguese said when asked about City's situation.

"If I go into that, I have to ask if the team which finished second in 2018 are going to be champions, yes or no?

"Joking apart, I just think about doing the best we can. At the end of the season, we'll see where we are. If we are sixth or seventh, then it doesn't matter if fifth goes to the Champions League.

"Wolves, Sheffield United, Manchester United, Arsenal, Everton - everyone looks to the table and says, 'We can do it'. It's going to be very hard.

"It's not about huge decisions or small decisions, it's about the rules, the law, 'it is, or it isn't'. UEFA punished them but they have the chance to appeal.

"Until the appeal has finished, Manchester City have the benefit of the doubt. At the end of the process, we will see if they are punished or not."

Spurs defender Toby Alderweireld, whose partner gave birth to a boy on Friday, poked Anwar El Ghazi's cross into his own net after nine minutes but made it 1-1 when he lashed in from a corner on 27 minutes.

Son put Spurs ahead at the end of the first half when he converted the rebound after Pepe Reina had saved his penalty, awarded after Bjorn Engels had brought down Steven Bergwijn and VAR awarded a spot-kick, only for Engels to again get Villa back on level terms on 53 minutes.

Reina made several good stops from Son and Dele Alli but was beaten in stoppage time when Engels continued his action-packed afternoon by missing a routine clearance to allow Son to race clear and score.

"I'm very pleased with the victory but I'd be complaining if the result was 2-2 after we missed so many chances," Mourinho said.

The defeat kept Villa 17th, a point above the relegation zone, and they have now conceded a league-high 50 goals in the top flight.

Boss Dean Smith hit out at the VAR call which gave Spurs their penalty.

He said: "It was a farcical VAR decision. I don't get it. There's 42 000 people in the stadium, he gives a goal-kick, and everyone believes it's a goal-kick.

"The criteria is clear and obvious, it's not clear and obvious. Martin Atkinson stood up, but his authority has been taken away.

"I said to Martin at half-time I didn't blame him but if he was brave enough to walk over to that monitor it takes 30 seconds, you go, 'No, I'm happy with my decision' and we play on.

"Instead we go into an environment where there's no feel for the game or what's happened, and we make a decision.

"It was a sore result for us, it's a tough one to take. There was a lot of personality in our performance."

- TeamTalk Media