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‘SIMPLICITYIS GENIUS’ MOURINHO’S LAUDS HOJBJERG

The Danish international was praised by his coach for a commanding performance against the Gunners

Jose Mourinho labelled Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg a “phenomenal player” after Tottenham’s derby win over Arsenal on Sunday.

Son Heung-min and Harry Kane combined twice as Spurs recorded a 2-0 win in the north London derby to remain top of the Premier League.

Hojbjerg, an August arrival from Southampton for a reported £15 million plus add-ons , played a key role.

The midfielder had more touches (61), passes (44), successful passes (35), passes in the opposition half (15) and interceptions (three) than any other Spurs player.

Hojbjerg’s performance earned praise from Spurs boss Mourinho, with the 25-year-old also having Tottenham’s only other shot on target.

“Pierre is, first of all, very intelligent. He reads the game very well. He’s going to be a coach one day, for sure,” Mourinho told a news conference.

“He’s a pain, asking questions about why we do this and why we do that. On the pitch, he reads the situation very, very well and the people that surround him are really compact, they read the game.

“Physically he’s very, very strong and technically he’s much better than people think. Because sometimes people think the guy that is good technically is the guy that does the backheel. The guy that is good technically is the guy that does something wonderful. But these are not my words. These are words from coaches of 30, 40 years ago. Simplicity is genius.

“And the guy is so simple in everything he does with the ball. And I think he’s a phenomenal player. Congratulations, Mr. [Daniel] Levy [Spurs chairman].”

Of midfielders, only Manchester City’s Rodri has made more successful passes than Hojbjerg in the Premier League this season, with 746 against 706.

Hojbjerg also ranks fourth for successful passes in the opposition half with 341 and while his five chances created are also below the likes of Rodri with 11, he has created two big chances to the Spaniard’s zero.

He helped Spurs come through games against City, Chelsea and Arsenal with seven points, and with their title chances seemingly boosted.

Tottenham have also kept four consecutive clean sheets in the Premier League and Mourinho called for his side to continue their run of form.

“We can lose everywhere. In the Premier League, we can lose everywhere. We can go to any place and lose. Any team can come here and beat us,” he said.

“Of course, people could expect these last three matches. Now, three points, four points, or six with one loss. Now we did seven.

“We didn’t concede one against phenomenal teams. Of course, we are in a good moment and the team is strong also, mentally, but you know, nothing changes.”

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