Time for Jose to Mou-ve on?


It seems like a recurring period for Jose Mourinho, with the Portuguese tactician failing yet again in his third season. Yes, we’re only three games in and who are we to judge so soon? But recent history suggests that the ‘Special One’ usually goes off the boil by this time of his managerial career at one club. In his third season in his first spell at Chelsea, Mourinho had a fall-out with Blues owner, Roman Abramovich. In his third year at Real Madrid, Mourinho’s relationship with the Spanish media also deteriorated, resulting in a bitter ending for the Portuguese which saw his time run up in Spain. Chelsea then came calling again, only to sack Mourinho before Christmas in his third season at the helm, now, with Mourinho having a fall-out with the English media, playing in front of so many empty seats, and publicly calling Ed Woodward out for his lack of transfer activity in the window, you get the feeling that Mourinho’s time bomb is running out of seconds as frustration begins to settle in.

Take nothing away from Tottenham on Monday night, they were brilliant. Perhaps the scoreline should have been a bit more respectable for Manchester United after their performance but claiming a 3-0 win at Old Trafford for Tottenham is a feat that can do so much to build momentum and belief for Mauricio Pochettino and Tottenham to stand up and say that this could be their year. Opportunity certainly taken for Pochettino against a United team facing so much uncertainty, and in fact, Monday’s display showed just why the United bosses looked at the Spurs manager as a potential successor.



Full Report

Manchester United almost made a dream start when Fred latched onto Jesse Lingard's flick-on and got a lucky rebound inside the box before poking the ball wide of the near post in the opening minute.

The hosts looked lively and should have broken the deadlock in the 16th minute after a poor back pass from Danny Rose let in Romelu Lukaku, but the Belgian ace squeezed the ball wide of an open goal from a tight angle having gone around Hugo Lloris on the right.

Luke Shaw had an impressive first half and he pulled the ball back for Lukaku on 19 minutes after being played into space on the left. However, the burly striker drew a routine save out of Lloris with his first-time shot.

Antonio Valencia sliced an effort well wide of the near post from 22 yards out moments later, while Lukaku glanced a header just beyond the far post from Fred's cross on the left in the 27th minute.

United continued to control proceedings and Fred curled a left-footer just wide of the far post from inside the area on the half-hour mark after being released down the right flank by Valencia.

They went close again four minutes later as Paul Pogba forced Lloris to parry away his first-time strike from 20 yards out, and Nemanja Matic saw his side-footed effort deflected wide from Valencia's cutback seconds later.

David de Gea was called into action for the first time on 40 minutes to keep out Christian Eriksen's low shot from 18 yards out. But the Red Devils were quickly threatening at the start of the second half as Pogba curled a shot inches wide of the left post from 21 yards out.

However, the visitors opened the scoring against the run of play in the 50th minute when Kane got away from his marker to head a corner into the right corner of the goal, after Dele Alli's half-volley had been deflected behind.

United nearly found a swift response as Lukaku forced Lloris into a good save with a right-footed shot from an angle on the left in the 51st minute, but they conceded again within seconds.

Eriksen was played into acres of space on the right and cut the ball back for Lucas, who fired into the bottom-left corner of the net from 13 yards out.

Victor Lindelof could only hit the side-netting at the back post from Fred's free-kick on the right in the 65th minute, and the Swedish defender was fortunate to be bailed out by his keeper soon afterwards having given the ball straight to Alli just outside his own box. Kane then failed to hit the target at the far post from the resulting corner.

Alexis Sanchez dragged a shot wide of the near post from inside the box on the left after cutting inside in the 69th minute, while Lingard's strike was deflected onto the roof of the goal from Lukaku's cutback on the right 10 minutes later.

Spurs killed the game off six minutes from time as Lucas collected a loose ball and skipped past a sliding Chris Smalling to pick out the bottom-left corner of the net with a clinical finish.
Report via TeamTalk media

The ‘Disrespected’ One?


Mourinho's side were by far the better team in the first half and created numerous chances without success, but dwelling on missed chances is nothing to be excited about. Does this mean that United were at their best, but were still not good enough?

Perhaps we are we just being over critical over Mourinho because we are so used to the Portuguese mentor enduring some success by now at his new club. There is uncertainty all round for Manchester United, not only with the playing personnel, but some fans have also turned their back on Mourinho and questioned whether he really is still special?

Some of the players that he has at his disposal are simply not good enough to don the Manchester United jersey, and to some extent, you have to feel for Mourinho. At the same time, stop running your mouth to the press, Jose!

Mourinho angrily defended his team, his performance and his record during a heated press conference after the game. Talking to reporters, Mourinho accused the press of trying to twist their facts about the game and turn a good performance into a bad one.

"When I win matches, I come here many times and you are not happy that I won matches and you say the most important thing is the way of playing.

"I need to know from you [reporter] what is the most important thing if it is to play well or win matches? If it is to play offensively or for a certain result. Today we were aggressive, we press high, Tottenham couldn't make two passes coming from the back, they made lots of mistakes because of our pressure high. We project the full-backs, we had [Antonio] Valencia and Luke Shaw arriving in dangerous positions, we miss goals with an open goal, we miss chances, we were unlucky in rebounds in both goals.

"We lost the game because we concede a goal in the first corner of the match in the 50-something minute. In the first-half, zero corners, zero lateral free-kicks, they had one corner, they score a goal. And you want to transform the story of your game,” Mourinho said.

Asked about the thousands of empty seats at the final whistle, Mourinho replied: "I would do the same (leave early) losing 3-0, taking two hours from here to the centre of Manchester, because is where I live and after matches it takes two hours, so keep trying, keep trying, keep trying.”

He tried something new and different when he attacked Spurs, and some fans took delight in that, acknowledging Mourinho’s efforts by applauding him at the end of the match, despite the shocking and embarrassing scoreline.

"But don't lose your time. Because today I had the proof the best judge in football are the supporters, they are the best judge.

"We lost last season here against Sevilla (in the Champions League Round Of 16) and were booed because we deserved, because we were not good, because we were not dangerous enough, because Sevilla deserved to win the match, we were booed and deservedly. And today the players left the pitch after losing at home and were applauded because they deserved it. So, keep trying and trying and trying and keep trying, keep trying."

Mourinho was clearly losing his patience with the press and proceeded to go on an angry rant about his management record as he got up and stormed out the room.

Holding up three fingers he asked: "Do you know what was the result? 3-0. Do you know what this means? 3-0 but also means three Premierships and I won more Premierships alone than the other 19 managers together. Three for me and two for them two. So respect man, respect, respect, respect."

Yes, Mourinho may have won more trophies and league titles than most managers in the league, but get over it, the last time he did it was when he still had the likes of Didier Drogba at his disposal. He is slowly losing his magic and now with some top talented managers available, perhaps it may be time to get the boot.

He’s losing some of the fans, a few of the players are not giving their all and with results not going in his favour as well, Mourinho is clearly not living up to expectation. Before the start of the season, the expectation from many fans was to remain in the top four. The biggest club in England challenging to just stay in the top four? It seems like a joke.

The Red Devils have already lost ground on most of their rivals, and with tougher tests ahead of him, especially with the media constantly in his face, I cannot see Mourinho enjoying some success this season.

Manchester United player ratings


David De Gea (4/10) – De Gea has been criticised ever since the World Cup, and rightfully so. He hasn’t been badly off form, although he hasn’t been quite like the De Gea that we all know him to be. He could have demanded his box better in the game, and on some days, he could have easily stopped Lucas’ second goal.

Antonio Valencia (5/10) – Valencia has been one of the most reliable defenders for United, and although he wasn’t exposed down the right flank, he didn’t offer United anything going forward.

Chris Smalling (3/10) – A game of two halves for Manchester United, and a performance of two halves for Smalling. In the opening 45 minutes, he looked top class, then, like his team on the day, crumbled to pieces in the second half. He defended poorly and left space open for Tottenham to create chances. Arguably United’s worst performer on the day.

Phil Jones (5/10) – Pulled up lame in the second half and the floodgates opened for Spurs to create chances once he left the field. He dealt with Alli and Kane quite comfortable at times and couldn’t do too much to defend the first goal.

Luke Shaw (8/10) – One of his best performances in a United shirt, if you ask me. Shaw caused plenty of problems down the left flank and was defensively solid as well. I thought he was United’s best player, and so did Mourinho, I’m sure, with the Red Devils boss showing great signs of encouragement towards Shaw after the final whistle.

Ander Herrera (6/10) – In the first 55 minutes, before he was taken off, I felt Ander Herrera played quite well. His positioning may have played Eriksen onside for the first goal, but I don’t cast too much blame towards the Spaniard. In fact, in the first half, he showed us the perfect example of what the ‘Herrera role’ actually is.

Nemanja Matic (3/10) – Signs of being rusty came into play as Matic failed to cut it in his first appearance back for United after the World Cup. He was way too casual on the ball and didn’t stop the opposition from creating chances in the final third.

Fred (6/10) – Had a stellar performance in the first half but slowly dropped as time went on. Fred, for me, was one of United’s better players, but its all about making an impact. It’s still early stages, but there’s no doubting that he can one day be a top player in the league.

Jesse Lingard (5/10) – Lingard was full of tireless running and his pressing game really helped United at times. He’s a hard worker, one of, if not the hardest worker for United, but he just lacks the quality required at a club like Manchester United.

Paul Pogba (3/10) – For Pogba, it was another case of not showing up when his team needed him most. This is not an average footballer and we expect to see more from a player like Pogba. On his day, he could walk into the teams of Real Madrid and Barcelona. Now, I feel like there isn’t much to defend him on. He really needs a lift, and he needs it quickly.

Romelu Lukaku (5/10) – Apart from that first half miss which could have changed the game, Lukaku had a pretty decent game. His energy and work off the ball, for a striker, was phenomenal. He was the only player that really tested Lloris, and on another day, the Belgian beast could have had a couple of goals to his name.

Substitutes

Alexis Sanchez (5/10) – You have to feel for Sanchez sometimes. Unfortunately, he has to work with what’s around him, and for most parts of the game, the players around him don’t see what he sees or spot the run that only he would make. He tried hard for his team off the bench, and if a goal were to come from United, it looked like it was going to come from the Chilean.

Victor Lindelof (1/10) – Not worthy of wearing the United jersey. Simple as that. He’s not the worst player out there, but his performances have really let him down since his arrival to Manchester United. At some point, I even questioned whether it was Pochettino who brought him on, because his entry onto the pitch only strengthened Tottenham.

Marouane Fellaini (5/10) – Despite the scoreline, it wasn’t the worst performance from United, so it would be unfair to slate every single player. I felt Fellaini did well when he was introduced. He has saved United off the bench a countless amount of times, so when he came on, there was a sense of belief from the United faithful.

Tottenham have come of age now


Criticised for not spending money, criticised for not winning any silverware, but criticize them no more. This Tottenham have come of age now and surely, they feel that they have a chance of success this season.

For Tottenham, “success” has been getting a place into the Champions League, but now, the club should set their standards higher. Over the past couple of years, they’ve actually been the most consistent team in England, and despite not winning the league, Spurs have always been up there.

They didn’t sign not one player in the previous transfer window, but Eric Dier made a statement a couple of weeks ago that made perfect sense. He clearly stated that Spurs did not sign for the sake of it, suggesting that their rivals only spend big bucks to please fans and not strengthen the team.

There isn’t much areas that you could strengthen at Spurs. Pochettino has a built a team without weakness and has got his Tottenham team playing a brand of football that is adored across world football.

They took their chances against a title-chasing Manchester United and completely embarrassed them in their own backyard.

With three games in so far, for me, Tottenham are the team to beat. Kane is not only scoring in August, but he is doing it at Old Trafford. A one-season wonder has become a one-decade wonder. Lukaku worked harder than Kane in the game, but the Englishman’s class rewarded him with the opening goal, and since that moment, the game went heavily in Tottenham’s favour.

"Whenever you're playing in these games away from home the first goal is so important," Kane told Sky Sports.

"We got it and then we punished them.

"We didn't play great in the first half. We've done well to come in at 0-0 and we said we had to step up the tempo."

The victory put Spurs up to second position in the league standings with three consecutive wins. They trail Liverpool only by goal difference.

"Three wins out of three – it's been a fantastic start," said the England international.

"That's the only way we're going to win the league. We haven't started well in previous years, we've dropped points here and there and then we've had to play catch-up for the rest of the season.

"The top six is so strong now you have to stay up there, you have to stay at the top all the way through. The only way to do that is to come to places like this and get the three points.

"This will give us huge belief. We're not getting carried away of course," Kane continued.

This team is special, and for Tottenham to do that just earmarked how far they have come. To do that away to the biggest club in England, it all comes down to one man – Pochettino.

Tottenham player ratings


Hugo Lloris (7/10) – A clean sheet at the toughest ground to go to in the league will always earn some brownie points. Lloris done well to keep out Lukaku’s attempts, as well as Pogba’s long range efforts. With the full-backs not at their best on the day, the French captain played his part in keeping things tight at the back.

Kieran Trippier (2/10) – With United not playing a traditional left winger at the start of the game, perhaps Trippier was lost, while he also failed to cope with Shaw’s overlapping runs. He also gave Tottenham nothing going forward, and it summed it up when Pochettino pulled him off for Serge Aurier.

Toby Alderweireld (6/10) – Having to convert to a back four and then a back three will always be tough for Spurs defenders to deal with, but the way they played on the day, as a unit, deserves some credit. Alderweireld ran onto the line for Lukaku’s miss, rushing his countryman to take the shot first time which resulted in a shocking miss.

Jan Vertonghen (6/10) – Vertonghen showed why he is regarded as one of the best defenders in the league as he once again didn’t put a foot wrong in defence. He defended set-pieces brilliantly, especially once Fellaini came on and was one of Spurs’ brightest players on the pitch. 

Danny Rose (2/10) – To think that Rose was once wanted by Manchester United is becoming increasingly shocking. On his day, he can be a top, top player, but right now, Rose has been nothing like the left full-back we know him to be. He was shaky in defence and was to blame for many of United’s chances.

Mousa Dembele (5/10) – I don’t think it would be fair to say that Dembele and co won the midfield battle, although they really did put in a great shift. His hard work on and off the ball is what earns Dembele a decent five out of 10.

Eric Dier (3/10) – For most parts of the game, Dier’s positioning became very confusing and caused a bit of uncertainty within the team. He was given the task to play in midfield, but often found himself next to the likes of Alderweireld and Vertonghen.

Dele Alli (4/10) – At first, I understood, but now, I really don’t get the hype over Alli. He is just an ordinary player and had he converted the chances he was gifted with, perhaps he could have changed my mind. A huge win for Spurs, but not much positives for Alli.

Christian Eriksen (7/10) – Eriksen took full advantage once United switched off and played a vital role in giving his team the two-goal lead that they deserved. Eriksen’s movement off the ball and positioning is what showed that he is a world class player and that Spurs are lucky to have him.

Lucas Moura (9/10) – Undoubtedly the Man of the Match. Lucas Moura terrorised Manchester United with his blistering pace and scored two crucial goals to stamp his authority in the league and prove his doubters wrong that he can make it in the world’s toughest division.

Harry Kane (8/10) – A second successive goal in August for Kane broke the deadlock which gave Spurs full control of the game ever since. It was a towering header from Kane to score the opening goal, while the English captain also assisted Lucas’ second of the night.

Substitutes

Serge Aurier (4/10) – Aurier replaced Trippier in the right back position but didn’t do enough to make his claim to start the next match. Opportunity not taken.

Ben Davies (5/10) – Before the game, it was strange to see Ben Davies dropped from the team. Luckily, it didn’t come back to hurt Pochettino, with Davies giving a professional performance off the bench.

Harry Winks (5/10) – Bringing Harry Winks in was more of a tactical change and had nothing to do with the players on the pitch underperforming. He did hold on to possession quite well and his time-wasting antics proved crucial for Spurs.

Verdict
It showed worrying signs that Manchester United could play so well and still lose 3-0. Then again, Tottenham showed that they’re up for the fight this season as well. If Mourinho were to be sacked in the coming months, Pochettino should be first on their shortlist as a likely successor. He hasn’t won any major trophies, but he’s proven in the league and can work with a small budget during the transfer window. He also plays exciting football both home and away so that will always be a bonus.

By Jesse Nagel