Jose Mourinho pointed to one Manchester United player’s “dominant” performance and questioned how he could fix Tottenham’s intensity issues after Wednesday’s defeat at Old Trafford.
Spurs were beaten all ends up at Old Trafford on Wednesday night with Marcus Rashford’s double doing the damage and Mourinho was content to accept his old side were deserving of the three points.
Mourinho picked an attacking side on his return and his men failed to get to grips with the speed of United in transition, while the Portuguese boss hailed the display of Scotland international Scott McTominay.
Mourinho said: “That is the way we normally play, we didn’t lose because of an attacking set-up, we lost because the way we came to the game in the emotional way. Thy had more emotion than us. You see the McTominay performance, the physicality of his performance, he was dominant. It was dominant.
“We finished the first half with a good feeling, with the feeling of a positive result, the feeling we were playing better than them, we had much more control in the last 10 or 15 minutes.
“In the second half where we thought we were going for it, we made that mistake and then it is a different game. After that one injury here, one injury there, they (Man Utd) did well, the referee allowed them to do it, but they did it well, that control of the game.”
Spurs lacked intensity throughout and that was a criticism of the players towards the end of Mauricio Pochettino’s reign.
Asked how he could fix that, Mourinho replied: “Working, which I’m not doing a lot of that work. You cannot work on intensity when you are permanently playing matches every two to three days.
“You can work on other things, you can work on principles of play, you work on tactical positioning, but intensity, aggression is something you cannot work on.
“How can I work on these items of the game when I have to play Saturday again. I just can’t do it. So it’s has to be in time and try to influence the profile of the players and their concentration levels too, because today the throw-in is a total lack of concentration too.
“The team only reacted after Rashford had the ball and after he started facing the first defending. That was when we started reacting and before that is why we were not there.
“We need to work on concentration levels but the players are fantastic. Very good players, very good professionals. They want and they will.”
The former United and Chelsea boss was then asked in his press conference whether United played well because their old manager was here.
Mourinho added: “I think it’s just the way it is. You look today at the results against the best teams and they had good results. I think at home when they play like they did against Chelsea, Liverpool, Leicester, a great team this season, they always had this type of attitude.
“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, take their time and be in control of the emotions of the game.
“Then lots of young people with good energy, with a good mentality. When they are winning matches they are comfortable in this situation, low block with a giant there dominating, or almost dominating in the air, fast counter attacking with Marcus, James, Jesse and Martial when he plays.
“So I think the way they play, it’s easier for them to play against the teams, better teams who want more of the ball and want to have the initiative of the game. I think they did well.”