Tottenham suffered their fourth defeat in the last five Premier League games as Manchester City took all three points at the Etihad on Saturday.
Despite going close from a Harry Kane free-kick that hit the post when the game was goalless, City took control and led at half-time through a Rodrigo penalty before Ilkay Gundogan netted twice after the break on a difficult evening in the northwest.
It was City’s 16th successive win in all competitions and they now haven’t conceded a goal in seven straight home games.
Tottenham were unlucky not to take the lead when Kane stepped up to take a 14th-minute free-kick from 20 yards out, curling right-footed over the wall but his effort crashed against the post and City eventually cleared.
Instead, it was the hosts who broke the deadlock from the penalty spot in the 23rd minute, after Gundogan had been clipped by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg close to the byline.
Referee Paul Tierney pointed to the spot, VAR confirmed his decision and Rodrigo took the penalty, firing to Hugo Lloris’ right and although the goalkeeper got a good hand to it, the ball crept into the bottom corner.
Although they dominated possession, that was City’s only shot on target in the first half, but they added to the scoreline five minutes into the second half when Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling combined, with the latter finding Gundogan inside the area and his left foot shot from 10 yards went past Lloris, who again got a hand to the ball but couldn’t keep it out.
It wasn’t until just before the hour mark that Tottenham had their first shot on target, Tanguy Ndombele’s deflected effort looping up into Ederson’s hands, with the goalkeeper then playing a key role in City’s third in the 66th minute.
Spotting the run from deep of Gundogan, Ederson hit a 60-yard ball through the middle into his path, the midfielder holding off the challenge of Davinson Sanchez before sliding beyond Lloris.
Substitute Gareth Bale almost netted a late goal after showing superb footwork to weave his way past Bernardo Silva, Aymeric Laporte and John Stones on the edge of the area, but Ederson made a fine save to deny the Welsh forward and that was our last chance of the contest.
However, Jose Mourinho pointed to fatigue and the concession of a “modern penalty” as contributing factors in Tottenham’s loss to Manchester City.
Speaking to Spurs TV after the game, Jose said: “Going in a football direction, I believe that in the first half, we were good, we started the game very positively, we didn’t fear them, didn’t have problems, didn’t have any defensive problems, even playing in an offensive way like we tried to do. Once more, unlucky, the Harry Kane ball, I don’t know how it’s not a goal, and unlucky with another penalty of modern days. But I liked the team in the first half, very positive.
“In the second half, when you concede a goal after five minutes, it’s very hard, because then it’s the fatigue plus the emotional side. The guys fought until the end, and I feel the result is too heavy, too heavy. It gives me another feeling… of if we get into that (Carabao Cup) final in the same physical condition as them, let’s go.”
However, Mourinho was asked for his interpretation of a “modern penalty”.
He said: “A modern penalty is one even if you touch with a nail inside the box it can be a penalty.
“For some you touch with a nail and it is a penalty and you go to the VAR and you cannot deny there was a touch.”