Jose Mourinho Lavishes Praise on 'Animals' Son Heung-min & Harry Kane

Tom Gott
Tottenham came out on top in the north London derby
Tottenham came out on top in the north London derby / PAUL CHILDS/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur returned to the top of the Premier League on Sunday thanks to a hard fought 2-0 victory over north London rivals Arsenal.

Spurs, as we've often seen this season, sat deep and gifted Arsenal plenty of possession, hitting them swiftly on the counter while remaining safe in the knowledge that the Gunners wouldn't be able to find a way through at the other end.

First-half goals from Son Heung-min and Harry Kane were enough to get the job done for Spurs, but there were a number of standout performers on the day - including midfield general Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

Here's what Jose Mourinho had to say after the game.

On the Level of Performance

Spurs rarely looked under threat
Spurs rarely looked under threat / Visionhaus/Getty Images

"For me the performance was very, very good against a team that is probably going to be criticised because their points and their position in the table are not good, but I have to say, very good team," he said (via

"It was a very complex game for us. In the first half of course we put ourselves in a position of good advantage. In the second half, we accept what they did to us. When they dropped Xhaka to build with a third man we could press, but to go and press with one more man we would open spaces in other areas. Why should we do that?

"So have the ball, try to hurt us but it's going to be difficult for you because we defended very well. Great performances individually and great mentality, great effort and so happy with the players."

On Son & Kane's Outstanding Form

"You know they are world class. It's as simple as that, but when we play against City, after the game I was speaking to the Portuguese boy, [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. 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."

Mourinho added (via The Times): “They are working like animals, with all due respect to animals, I love animals. 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 — Kane clearing balls in the box.”

On the Importance of Hojbjerg

Hojbjerg has impressed since joining Spurs
Hojbjerg has impressed since joining Spurs / Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

"Pierre is very intelligent, he reads the game very well, he understands the game very well. He is going to be a coach one day, for sure. He is a pain, always asking questions why we do this and that.

"On the pitch he reads the situation very, very well and the people that surround him they are really compact and they read the game. Physically he is very strong and technically he is much better than people think.

"Sometimes people think the guy that is good technically is the guy who does the back heel, the guy who does something wonderful, but these are not my words, they are words of some coaches from 30 or 40 years ago: Simplicity is genius. And the guy is so simple in everything he does with the ball and I think he is a phenomenal player. Congratulations Mr Levy."

On Remaining Top of the League

"We have played City, Chelsea, Arsenal - if you do three points, four points from those games it is not the end of the world, it is normal," he told BBC Sport. "We have taken seven points. The problem with the Premier League is that next it is Crystal Palace and there is no guarantee we win.

"I believe the public and the fans at home are enjoying the moment, for one more week we are top of the league. It is good fun."

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