Jose Mourinho hails Heung-Min Son and Harry Kane after star pair see off Arsenal
- Credit: PA
Jose Mourinho branded Harry Kane and Son Heung-min “world class” after their lethal partnership fired Tottenham back to the top of the Premier League with a 2-0 north London derby win over Arsenal.
Son and Kane set up each other’s first-half strikes, meaning they have now combined for 12 goals this season, as Spurs extended their unbeaten run to 10 games, going back to the first game of the campaign.
In front of 2,000 fans at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the South Korean opened the scoring in the 13th minute with a wonder strike, curling in from 25 yards, before Kane became the highest scorer in the history of north London derbies when he netted his 11th goal against the Gunners on the stroke of half-time.
Kane has laid on eight of Son’s goals this term, with Son returning the favour four times and Mourinho knows he is lucky to have such a high-quality duo.
“You know they are world class,” he said. “It’s as simple as that, but when we play against (Manchester) City, after the game I was speaking to the Portuguese boy, (City defender Ruben) Dias.
“I was telling him, ‘You are not going to play one single match in the Premier League where the strikers are not good’. This is the Premier League.
“But I have to admit that Harry and Sonny are world-class players and on the top of what they do they have a very good sense of the team.
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“They have a very good sense of the balance that they need and they also do incredible tactical work for the team when the team doesn’t have the ball. So top players, amazing.”
The first-half goals killed the game and allowed Spurs to soak up the pressure after the break as they went past the 300-minute mark since they last conceded in the league.
After a win over City on November 21 and a draw at Chelsea last week, this victory reinforces belief that Spurs are strong title contenders this season, even if Mourinho has been keen to downplay it.
The Portuguese did at least concede his side are in a good position.
“We can lose everywhere in the Premier League, we can go to any team and lose, any team can come here and beat us,” he said. “Of course people could expect this last three matches, three or four points or six and lose one.
“We did seven (points), we didn’t concede one goal against phenomenal teams, of course we are in a good moment and the team is in a good place mentally, but nothing changes.”
While Spurs are enjoying their best start to a Premier League season in recent memory, it is the polar opposite for Arsenal, who have now won just one of their last seven matches.
They were not outplayed by their hosts and enjoyed the majority of the ball, but rarely looked like getting back into the game.
Mikel Arteta, who is coming under increasing pressure on the back of a worst league start since 1981-82, is clear about how the Gunners will get their season back on track.
“By scoring goals,” he said after seeing his side shut out again. “Very simple. We need to score goals. It is not sustainable.
“It doesn’t matter what we do in other departments if we don’t score, we need to put the ball into the net urgently. At the moment it looks like we need a lot to score a goal.
“In terms of the performance, they did everything that I asked them to do. We played the way we had to play this game. All the stats are in our favour, at the end of the day it is about putting the ball in the back of the net.”
There was a further blow to Arteta as midfielder Thomas Partey suffered a recurrence of a thigh injury and was replaced at half-time.
Partey pulled up lame as Spurs broke at pace, allowing a four-on-two advantage.
Arteta said he needed to speak to the Ghana international to find out what happened.
“He is injured and in the same area, unfortunately we don’t know how bad it is,” Arteta said.
“It was too quick, it was a four-against-three situation, I haven’t spoken to him, I don’t know exactly how it happened or if he felt something extremely serious. I will look at it and talk with him.”