Manchester United 2 Spurs 1: Jose Handed First Defeat
There is just something about playing Manchester United at Old Trafford. Even when they are at their worst, the Red Devils somehow manage to get over the line and so it’s proved once again. On Wednesday night, Jose Mourinho suffered his first defeat as Tottenham manager as his side went down 2-1 to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s struggling unit.
After a positive spell following Mourinho’s appointment, the reverse leaves us nine points away from fourth placed Chelsea in the race for Champions League qualification.
It started badly for Spurs and never really picked up after Marcus Rashford opened the scoring on six minutes. We did draw level before half time thanks to a piece of brilliance from Dele Alli but Rashford regained the lead with an early second half penalty.
Ultimately, the scoreline was a close one and a draw may have been a fairer result but Tottenham rarely threatened the home side on a night to forget. The word attached to Harry Kane in most reports this morning is ‘anonymous’ and that rather sums up the 90 minutes.
Speaking after the game, Jose Mourinho gave his assessment:
I think in the second half we were dominant, we moved the ball well, we arrived in the last third, we didn’t have great chances but we had very dangerous positions in the box.
Then again, United played the game that they wanted to play, defending, compact, trying to create on the counter-attack, but we were punished initially by a lack of intensity, a lack of aggression and then, of course, the second goal is a difficult one to take.
Spurs have little time to regroup and refresh ahead of Saturday’s home game with Burnley. This is a 3pm kick off and we tend to fare better when the live cameras are absent so let’s hope that trend continues. Meanwhile, we have dropped from fifth down to eighth following that one loss and we could slip even further following Thursday night’s schedule of fixtures.
Jose’s honeymoon period may not be over but the hard work truly begins now. Unlike Mauricio Pochettino, the new manager has made few changes to his starting XI so clearly he has a preference but in such a busy period for the club, is it time for a spot of rotation? Summer signings Giovani Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon are very much on the fringes but will the pair have a greater role to play in the lead up to the festive fixtures?
We’ll know the answers to those questions shortly and doubtless there will be more to come. Next month, Mourinho will get an early opportunity to add his own players to the squad when the transfer window opens and speculation is already starting to build as the countdown continues.
For now, this is a frustrating reality check. United have lost to far weaker teams this season and were there for the taking. The task now is to bounce back right away when hosting Sean Dyche’s Burnley this weekend.