Jose Mourinho –Jose for lFriends – it's like the fourth dimension. Its existence – is it real or is it a cathodic reflection? – explains everything. At least that's how it was in Old Trafford on the day that was held this Wednesday at the last minute. Thanks to Mourinho, Tottenham entered the field, disregarding the ball, and thanks to the Portuguese coach, United regained possession levels from another era and ended up taking over the game. Rashford's two goals serve him to place himself in the sixth position of the table after a tortuous climb. Further up, he won the Leicester (2-0 at Wolves), won Chelsea (2-1 at Aston Villa) and beat Liverpool with the substitutes (5-2 at Everton) in the Mersey derby.
De Gea, Ashley Young, Harry Maguire, Wan-Bissaka, Nilsson-Lindelöf, Jesse Lingard (Shaw, min. 86), Fred, Daniel James, Rashford, Scott McTominay and Mason Greenwood (Andreas Pereira, min. 79).
Gazzaniga, Davinson Sánchez, Alderweireld, Aurier, Vertonghen, Dele Alli, Harry Winks (Tanguy NDombele Alvaro, min. 69), Lucas Moura (Eriksen, min. 63), Heung-Min Son, Sissoko (Giovani Lo Celso, min. 84 ) and Kane.
1-0 min. 5: Rashford. 1-1 min. 38: Dele Alli. 2-1 min. 48: Rashford (p).
Mourinho returned to his home for two and a half seasons. The general indifference of fans and soccer players preceded the event. The reception was so temperate that the embrace of his suffered successor, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, was the warmest gesture that the hosts dedicated to him. Regarding their players, the show they offered must have alarmed him. In his fourth game as coach of Tottenham, his new team gives symptoms of poorly metabolizing the changes.
In the beginning, he aligned Vertonghen, a central, like left-back, in a band where he continues to experiment without hitting the key. In the midfield he placed Sissoko instead of Dier, an election that reflects doubts in the composition of the most sensitive line of all. The doubts are suffered by Sissoko, an applied interior that behaves as if something torments him. It usually happens when players suspect that the boss does not trust them.
Somehow, Sissoko found himself in the middle of the plays that precipitated both local goals. The first, in the sixth minute, revealed the confusion that Tottenham experiences when pressing. Pochettino automatisms blurred, players look for new references and cannot find them. Faced with the unknown, they fold or jump in time, and this makes the field full of empty spaces where rivals can move with seconds of advantage. That Fred did taking advantage of Sissoko's passivity, which failed to intercept his delivery. The ball fell on Lingard, who endured Sanchez and left Rashford alone in the area. The dry throw to the first stick made the ball skid and mock Gazzaniga: 1-0.
Tottenham maneuvered as if his coach's slogan indicated that United sprinters are neutralized by denying them a take-off track. The low block tried to shrink spaces so that no one could run there. But between the plan and its execution it measured a long way. Unable to defend with order and too misplaced to stagger the passes, Tottenham was dominated by an opponent that accumulated up to 70% possession in the first hour. Only a heroic combination of Son and Kane upset United by putting him in his area and exposing him to an accident. That was the goal of Dele Alli: the majestic control, the turn and the shot of a ball that fell on him by chance: 1-1.
At rest, the Tottenham was clearly lit up. Aitor Karanka, Mourinho's former assistant and now a DAZN commentator, made his prophecy grimly: "I am sure that Jose after the break will come out more reinforced."
Mourinho may have returned strengthened. Tottenham, on the other hand, did not alter one iota. In the 49th minute Rashford sentenced after throwing a pipe at Aurier and moving towards the goal in a race that only stopped Sissoko with a stomp. The referee indicated penalty: 2-1.
Mourinho tried to correct the disconnection of Alli and Kane by introducing the best midfielder of his squad. This is how Eriksen entered through Moura in the 64th minute. With little obvious results, apart from longer and more ingenious possessions in areas far from the rival area. At the moment, the advances of the Tottenham gave the impression of developing with a fantastic slowness, as if instead of grass the players ran on sand and the ball was a ball of solid rubber. Between one thing and another, Maguire and Lindelof enjoyed a relatively quiet night after the thrilling visit to Sheffield.
Irony from the soccer market, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who after succeeding Mourinho a year ago is threatened with dismissal, recovered some credit in the most unexpected way.