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Man United find it easier against teams who want to take initiative – Mourinho

The Red Devils have beaten Spurs, high-flying Leicester City and Chelsea for three of their five Premier League wins this season.

Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho.
Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho.
Image: Michael Steele

JOSE MOURINHO believes Manchester United find it “easier” to play against teams like Tottenham after his perfect record as Spurs head coach came to an end.

A brace from Marcus Rashford saw United overcome Tottenham 2-1 on Wednesday as Mourinho returned to Old Trafford to face his former club.

United have beaten Spurs, high-flying Leicester City and Chelsea for three of their five Premier League wins this season, while also holding Liverpool and Arsenal.

Mourinho, who had won his first three matches as Spurs head coach, said United’s approach made it easier for them against other big clubs.

“You look at United’s results this season against the best teams and they had good results,” he told a news conference.

“I think at home when they play like they did [against] Chelsea, Liverpool and Leicester – also a great team this season – they always had this kind of attitude. I think it’s easier for them.

“I think for the way they play it’s easier for them, they’re not afraid to be with a defensive approach, they are not afraid to be at home and to take their time, to be in control of the emotions of the game and then lots of young people with lots of energy and with a good mentality.

“When they are winning matches, they are comfortable in this situation of low block with a giant [Harry Maguire] there almost dominating in the air and being fast in counter-attack with Marcus, with [Daniel] James, with Jesse [Lingard], with [Anthony] Martial.

“I think the way they play it’s easier for them when they play against the teams that are better teams, teams that want more of the ball, teams that want to have the initiative of the game so I think they did well.”

Dele Alli brought Spurs level at Old Trafford before Rashford’s second-half penalty secured three points for United, who moved into sixth.

Mourinho said Rashford’s penalty four minutes into the second half was a blow after he felt Spurs were beginning to gain some control.

“We didn’t lose because of an attacking setup, we lost because of the way we came to the game, by the emotional way,” he said.

“They had more emotion than us, you see for example [Scott] McTominay’s performance, the globality of his performance, it was dominant, it was dominant.

“But then as I was saying, half-time we finished the first half with a good feeling, the feeling of a positive result, the feeling that we were playing better than them, we had much more control in the last 10-15 minutes.

“And then in the second half when we thought we were going for it we make that mistake and after that the game is a different game and then after that one injury here, one injury there. They did well, the referee allowed them to do it, but they did well that control of the time and the emotion of the game.”

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