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Mourinho laments 'ridiculous' start as Spurs stun United

Defeat left the Red Devils second in the table but a huge 15 points behind runaway leaders Manchester City.

Jose Mourinho (file pic).
Jose Mourinho (file pic).
Image: EMPICS Sport

JOSE MOURINHO WAS left lamenting a “ridiculous goal” after one of the quickest strikes in Premier League history sent his Manchester United side on the way to a damaging 2-0 defeat by Tottenham at Wembley on Wednesday.

Christian Eriksen fired Spurs into the lead after just 11 seconds before an own-goal from United defender Phil Jones secured victory for the home side before the break.

Defeat left United second in the table but a huge 15 points behind runaway leaders Manchester City.

In the Premier League era, Eriksen’s express finish is tied for second-quickest with a Mark Viduka effort for Leeds against Charlton in 2001.

Only Ledley King’s 10-second goal for Tottenham against Bradford in 2000 and Alan Shearer’s after the same time for Newcastle against Manchester City in 2003 are ahead of Eriksen and Viduka.

“It’s a performance that starts with a ridiculous goal. That goal after a few seconds has a big influence in the game because Tottenham can play the way they like to play,” United manager Mourinho told the BBC.

“In the end we played against a very good team. Both goals were ridiculous goals.

“The first goal is an accumulation of mistakes in spite of the fact that everything happened so fast. My players have watched the Tottenham kick-off many, many times,” the Portuguese boss added.

“It was a really, really bad goal.”

- ‘Kills the team’ -

But Mourinho said conceding an own goal had done almost as much damage to the visitors’ morale as Eriksen’s extraordinary opener.

“The second goal mentally kills the team. A team to win matches needs to score goals and also defend well — on this occasion we were very bad.”

In the second half, Marouane Fellaini came on as a United substitute only to be replaced just a few minutes later but Mourinho said there was a simple explanation.

“He came off because he had something in his knee,” the Portuguese boss said. “Unlucky for him and unlucky for me. He came on with enthusiasm, but he has an injury in his ligament.”

Victory saw Spurs close to within two points of the top four and a Champions League place and Eriksen told BT Sport: “It feels a bit weird to score from your first touch. It was the perfect start to a game and after that we never gave it away. We had a lot of chances to score more goals, I think we had a strong game.”

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino added: “We always try to be aggressive from the beginning.

“Our aim is to be focused from the beginning. You can win a game if you’re ready to fight. It was massive to be up early in the game.”

- © AFP, 2018 

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