Dele Alli put Tottenham's disappointing performance in Wednesday's 2-1 defeat to Manchester United down to arrogance borne out of the winning start they had made to Jose Mourinho's tenure.

Mourinho was appointed as Mauricio Pochettino's successor last month and had overseen three successive victories in his first three matches at the helm.

Wednesday brought Mourinho's first return to Old Trafford as a manager since he was sacked by the club in December 2018, but Spurs failed to continue their recent resurgence.

Marcus Rashford produced a talismanic display for the Red Devils, scoring both of their goals either side of a spectacular strike from Alli, who arguably more than anyone else has been re-energised by Mourinho's hiring.

But Alli's goal aside, Spurs created precious few clear-cut opportunities and were fortunate to be on level terms at half-time, with the former MK Dons talent suggesting Tottenham had begun to believe their own hype following three wins on the bounce.

"We had to match their [United's] energy. We lost the game not by them outplaying us – just attitude," the England international told reporters.

"We weren't hungry enough and we were slow to every second ball, losing 50-50s. Maybe it was a little bit of arrogance and over-confidence. We’ve been playing well.

"We have to learn from this. Games like this bring your feet back down."

Victory moved United up to sixth and provided manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a much-needed boost ahead of Saturday's Manchester derby at bitter rivals and champions Manchester City.

Spurs slipped down to eighth with the defeat.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lauded Marcus Rashford after his brace led the Red Devils to a 2-1 win over Jose Mourinho's Tottenham in the Premier League.

Mourinho's return to Old Trafford was an unhappy one as Rashford's match-winning performance snapped the former United manager's 100 per cent record since replacing Mauricio Pochettino.

Rashford opened the scoring in the sixth minute before converting a 49th-minute penalty after Dele Alli had equalised prior to half-time.

The 22-year-old Rashford took his Premier League tally to nine goals this season and 12 across all competitions, earning post-match praise from Solskjaer.

"The boy is 22 and today he played like he was in a back yard or garden, a playground with his mates," Solskjaer told reporters. "He's just enjoyed himself.

"Sometimes maybe the expectations and pressure on him… we do expect a lot from him because he's showed it so many times. We want them to enjoy themselves, we want them to go out there and face players, take them on with no fear of losing it.

"I love to watch that and that's what the Stretford End loves to watch. Man United fans love to watch wingers or forwards play with courage."

Solskjaer also hailed midfielder Scott McTominay, who starred on his return from injury as United climbed into the Premier League's top six – leapfrogging Tottenham.

McTominay had missed three matches, but the Scotland international proved his fitness before Mourinho's midweek Manchester reunion.

"We can almost say he's undroppable at the moment, definitely," Solskjaer said of McTominay. "There's no chance I wasn't going to try and push him through for this game.

"The physical presence and leadership he gives us in midfield also releases Fred. I thought Fred was excellent today, the one chance they had he blocked. I thought Fred was top class and they're a good partnership.

"[McTominay] trained yesterday and that was just a light session with the reserves but he's a tough boy. There's no chance he's going to say 'no thanks' if he felt okay. It's the first time I've really pushed on players who haven't had the foundation but he's so fit anyway."

Jose Mourinho accepted Manchester United deserved to beat Tottenham on his return to Old Trafford.

Marcus Rashford's double either side of a superb Dele Alli goal meant Mourinho's Tottenham lost 2-1 in the Premier League on Wednesday, ending his 100 per cent record since succeeding Mauricio Pochettino.

Spurs lacked intensity but Mourinho rued a penalty needlessly given away by Moussa Sissoko that allowed Rashford to score what proved the winner early in the second half.

"I think they [United] deserved the victory by their first half, we didn't start well at all," Mourinho told Prime Video. 

"I think for the first 30 minutes they were the best team and because of that, a strong 30 minutes, we were not there. Also, the way we conceded the second goal, I think they deserved to win.

"If I look even to the previous three matches where we won, we didn't start well. The team is not starting matches well, finding it a little difficult to find the intensity, the aggression of the game.

"I told them about Old Trafford, about some of the players like [Scott] McTominay who show aggression immediately in the game, Rashford even going to press the keeper, this type of attitude showing initially intensity, but we were not in the game in the beginning. 

"After that, we had the ball, played and scored and we could create even more, then in the second half I thought really we could be in control of the game like we finished the first half. 

"We conceded a goal that is impossible to concede if we are to win, we are sleeping, we have no control. Then what happened inside the box is a consequence of everything that comes from the sleeping."

Spurs will look to bounce back at home to Burnley on Saturday having seen United leapfrog them in the table and move into the top six.

"I need to work because until now I almost didn't work, with two days between matches," Mourinho, who was sacked by United a year ago, added. 

"Everything is very passive, not like intense training sessions, it's about recovering and trying to give tactical principles. But we need to work, they [the players] feel exactly what I feel, they didn't start the game. 

"Then we were lucky to finish the first half at 1-1 then, when we thought we had the best conditions in the second half to be in control and try to win it, you concede that goal and it is not a good one to concede."

Jose Mourinho might well have had empathy for his Manchester United successor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had Tottenham raided Old Trafford for maximum spoils.

The Portuguese knows more than most about the scrutiny and pressure that comes with the United manager's job, himself seen off by an awful stretch this time last year that provided neither style nor substance.

For Solskjaer, Mourinho's return will be followed by a trip to Manchester City, and the twin fixtures looked a daunting dual threat to a team and manager who before the Tottenham game were winless in three across all competitions.

At kick-off, Solskjaer was second favourite with the bookmakers to be the next Premier League manager sacked, trailing only Marco Silva, the struggling Everton boss who could not ended his team's Anfield derby hoodoo.

But rather than bury the United great, Spurs - this uncharacteristically unpredictable early Mourinho outfit - granted Solskjaer a reprieve, with his future prospects also belatedly boosted by a determined home display.

Supporters certainly seemed to have Solskjaer's back, still raucously chanting his name throughout, and United had, in Marcus Rashford, the star of the show.

Greater concerns surely belonged to Tottenham fans.

The usual stingy defending of a Mourinho team has not yet replaced the haphazard backline efforts of the final throes of Mauricio Pochettino's reign, while even the encouraging attacking endeavours of matches one, two and three - 3-2, 4-2 and 3-2 wins - did not materialise here.

Dele Alli scored a masterful 39th-minute equaliser, teed up with a touch reminiscent of his breathtaking 2016 goal against Crystal Palace, but the rest of his work was of underwhelming 2018-19 humdrum.

Unable to get his recent star performer into the game, just about everything went against Mourinho besides that leveller.

At the same end of the stadium where little over a year earlier, three weeks before his departure, Mourinho fumed at a Rashford miss against Young Boys and drew the ire of United commentators, the England striker laid early siege to Paulo Gazzaniga's Spurs goal.

Rashford's first strike provided the opener, creeping under Gazzaniga at the goalkeeper's right-hand post. A free-kick from Rashford was then whipped wide, and Gazzaniga touched a magnificent long-range effort against the crossbar before batting away a fourth attempt from United's main threat.

Mourinho, meanwhile, took a blow to the knee as Harry Winks cynically chopped down Daniel James in front of the dugout - an incident that granted the Spurs head coach a greater role in proceedings to that point than Alli, stifled and increasingly frustrated.

The attacking midfielder's stunning strike should have roused Tottenham but half-time intervened, and then so too did Moussa Sissoko, a man who painfully knows a thing or two about conceding penalties early in halves.

The felled Rashford tucked away the spot-kick for his 12th club goal of the campaign and, again, it was difficult not to be reminded of Mourinho's failure to get the best out of such a gifted player. The striker represents one check next to Solskjaer's name.

Much huffing and puffing followed from both teams, with United just about on top, but neither outfit truly convinced that their issues are behind them.

Unlike at times under Mourinho, United were indeed united, battling until the final whistle - led by Fred and the returning Scott McTominay - to protect the advantage secured by Rashford. Three points should ensure Solskjaer sees out the week, while a reality check might serve Tottenham well.

There is work to do for both United and Mourinho, long since separated, but each at least seem happier than at this time 12 months ago.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hailed a dominant first-half performance from Manchester United against Tottenham, describing it as his side's best display "for a long time".

United were winless in three in all competitions coming into a first meeting with Jose Mourinho since his sacking as their manager at Old Trafford.

But Solskjaer's men ended Mourinho's winning start at Spurs with a 2-1 success, scoring early in both halves through the inspired Marcus Rashford.

Dele Alli scored a wonderful equaliser six minutes before half-time, which Solskjaer acknowledged was tough to take after controlling the game to that point.

"Especially first half, that's probably the best we've played for a long time," he told Prime Video. "We dominated the game and could have, should have finished the game there and then.

"There were some great saves by their keeper, but they get the goal right before half-time and you think about getting in here, settling all the heads and going again."

The United manager added: "We're best when we're on the front foot, we're best when we attack quickly, we're best when we're aggressive. I thought the boys followed the plan and executed their skills all night."

Solskjaer praised a "fantastic performance" from Rashford, who drew several further saves from Paulo Gazzaniga.

Rashford was delighted to deliver against another 'Big Six' side, although he recognised United must still make progress against lesser opponents, having drawn with Sheffield United and Aston Villa in their previous two league matches. 

"I think that's the hardest we've had to work to get a result," he said. "But with the position we're in now, we want these games.

"We want to show people we can play against the top teams. We know we need to improve against the other teams. Game by game, we're trying to improve."

Marcus Rashford netted a double as Manchester United earned a 2-1 Premier League win at home to Tottenham on Jose Mourinho's return to Old Trafford.

Spurs had won their three matches across all competitions since Mourinho was appointed as Mauricio Pochettino's replacement last month, but they slipped to defeat on Wednesday after a below-par showing.

Rashford put United ahead and, after a superb individual effort from Dele Alli levelled the scores, the striker converted a penalty to end United's three-game winless run.

Victory moves Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men above Spurs and into the top six in the table, denying Mourinho - sacked by United a year ago - the chance to be the first Tottenham manager to win his first three Premier League games in charge.

United took the lead in the sixth minute, Rashford profiting from a series of ricochets to beat Paulo Gazzaniga at his near post, the goalkeeper making a poor effort to keep the shot out.

Gazzaniga improved by blocking a Mason Greenwood strike before tipping Rashford's swerving long-range drive on to the crossbar as United continued to dominate.

Spurs equalised out of nowhere before the break, though, Alli's sensational first touch deceiving both Fred and Ashley Young, with the midfielder then slotting in his fourth goal in three games.

Rashford restored United's advantage early in the second half, tucking away a penalty he won himself by being clumsily brought down by Moussa Sissoko.

Fred made a good block to repel a Son Heung-min shot, but it was United who continued to make the running, Gazzaniga denying Daniel James twice in quick succession.

David de Gea was called into action late on but comfortable saves from Serge Aurier, substitute Tanguy Ndombele and Alli ensured United closed out victory.
 

What does it mean? Mourinho suffers first Spurs loss

Spurs had a perfect record under Mourinho, but in this game they were well off the pace, needing a moment of magic from the resurgent Alli to undeservedly go into the interval all square.

But Sissoko's lack of concentration immediately after the restart allowed Rashford to restore United's lead and thereafter the result was not in doubt.


Reliable Rashford maintains hot streak

Anthony Martial's latest injury meant Rashford played off the left to accommodate teenager Greenwood in a central role, but the England striker continued to be United's main man in attack.

In his past 10 games for club and country, Rashford has scored nine times, drawing only two blanks.


Gazzaniga tries in vain to atone for error

Still deputising for injured captain Hugo Lloris, Gazzaniga made a series of saves that would usually have made for a good individual performance. Unfortunately, his misjudgement of Rashford's early strike left Spurs with it all to do at Old Trafford.


What's next?

Solskjaer's side make a short trip for a derby clash with Manchester City on Saturday. Spurs host Burnley on the same day.

Mason Greenwood replaces the injured Anthony Martial in the Manchester United team as Jose Mourinho returns to Old Trafford for the first time since his sacking.

Martial was substituted towards the end of United's last match, a 2-2 Premier League draw with Aston Villa, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told MUTV the France forward could be out for "a little while".

Taking Martial's place in the United attack is 18-year-old striker Greenwood, who starts a Premier League game for the first time this season, while Scott McTominay is fit to come into midfield.

Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira and Brandon Williams drop out of the team that started against Villa, with Ashley Young, McTominay and Jesse Lingard drafted into the XI.

Menwhile, Mourinho's selection sees Harry Winks return to the Tottenham midfield at the expense of Tanguy Ndombele, who drops to the bench.

Eric Dier has also been left out following the win over Bournemouth at home, Lucas Moura coming into the team instead.

"Respect, respect, respect" was the call from Jose Mourinho that echoed through football the last time he was involved in a Manchester United versus Tottenham clash at Old Trafford.

Here was a manager on the cusp of a crisis, in full confrontational mode at a post-match news conference that passed boiling point - riled when it was pointed out many home supporters had walked out before the final whistle.

Here was Mourinho defending his patch ferociously, standing up for his players, for the supporters and, lastly, for himself. Showing three fingers, and pointing to how he has won three Premier League trophies.

United's 3-0 home defeat to Spurs in August 2018 was a result that demanded answers and Mourinho had plenty.

Conspiracy theorists might contend otherwise, but Mourinho would maintain he intended to see out his United contract, if not stay for longer. That he was planning to still be in charge today rather than take his leave early, sacked by Christmas last year with a tidy pay-off banked.

Therefore, another theory goes that he is in some way a reluctant Tottenham head coach, and would sooner, in a perfect world, be commandeering the home side than Spurs on Wednesday.

His United service was due to run until the end of this season, yet Mourinho will be in the enemy trenches as he brings Tottenham to a familiar parish.

Here is a look at what Mourinho might expect on his return as a rival manager.

UNITED ARE A CHANGED TEAM

Under his successor, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the start of a United clear-out occurred in the off-season, and four of the players who played a part in Mourinho's final game have moved on.

Romelu Lukaku, Matteo Darmian, Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini, who was a substitute in Mourinho's sorry 3-1 swansong defeat at Anfield, have new homes, and Solskjaer has changed the face of the first team.

Appropriately, it is baby-faced in places, with the manager putting his trust in the likes of young Welsh winger Daniel James and pricey but promising full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka, along with raw teenagers such as Brandon Williams and Mason Greenwood. Harry Maguire, finding his feet, is a player Mourinho wanted but could not get.

Whether the facelift has done the craggy model any favours, however, is already up for question. James has consistently looked the part, and other newcomers have shown top-level ability in flickers.

But 18 points from 14 games is a shabby return for a club of United's status, and Mourinho will know United are ripe to be still sitting on that same haul after their 15th game.

 

"THE BEST JUDGE IN FOOTBALL ARE THE SUPPORTERS"

Moments before his demand for "respect" last year, Mourinho stood up for United's supporters and pointed out how they had appreciated United's efforts in the heavy defeat to Spurs, and it was true enough - especially before the goals flowed.

This time they will judge him, and it remains to be seen how Mourinho is greeted on his Old Trafford return.

He was received enthusiastically when back as a television pundit earlier this season, but now that his allegiance has switched so the affection for the Portuguese could be in short supply.

The United faithful willed Mourinho to do well, and many bought into the sense of siege mentality that pervaded the latter stages of his reign, but with time and reflection comes clear thinking and reasoned reckoning.

Solskjaer is now the man they are willing to succeed, and any warmth towards Mourinho may well prove short-lived.

THE NEW HOME'S AN UPGRADE

Never mind swapping a five-star Manchester travel tavern for London's home comforts, there might be another thought that strikes Mourinho when he arrives back in the north-west on Wednesday.

When he walks out at Old Trafford, he will surely notice how 20th century it looks compared to the gleaming Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

It is hard to avoid the conclusion Mourinho has landed on his feet with a supreme opportunity, inheriting a team equipped to compete for honours and a club with their compass pointing to progress.

Tottenham have been built for success, largely by Mauricio Pochettino and Daniel Levy, and Mourinho might get them over the line with a trophy.

Another Old Trafford statement result by Spurs would go some way to persuading sceptics that Mourinho still has what it takes to deliver silverware to his new club. Along with three points, a polished performance would positively demand respect.

For struggling Solskjaer, such an outcome would bring reminders United are no strangers to December dismissals.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Manchester United supporters are prepared to show patience with his long-term plans for the club.

United have won just three of 13 Premier League matches since their promising 4-0 victory over Chelsea on the opening weekend.

They could slide into the bottom half of the table if Jose Mourinho's Tottenham leave Old Trafford with all three points on Wednesday.

But the Red Devils boss claimed the fans he has spoken to understand the need to look beyond middling recent results.

"For me, I can just go on the evidence of the game days and supporters I've met," Solskjaer said.

"There are not many I've met that say: 'You've got to do something different.' They can see what we're trying to do.

"They know there's a lot of work being done behind the scenes – putting a culture into the team, what we're trying to do here, with what's happening here at Carrington.

"We just need results, that's the evidence for us. I just know I have a set of values and beliefs. The club have values and beliefs and I know that we have made these decisions together."

United drew at home to promoted Aston Villa on Sunday, a result that magnified the scrutiny on the team's development under Solskjaer. 

The Norwegian stressed the value of adhering to a vision amid a turbulent period in the Premier League that has seen Unai Emery, Mauricio Pochettino and Quique Sanchez Flores lose their jobs.

"I'm not going to tell anyone how to run their football clubs, but I think everyone knows continuity is one of the keys of success," he said.

"Some clubs have more patience than others, some clubs don't have that time and continuity. 

"For me, with Man United, we have a plan in place and hopefully we can get the results to speed it up. Sometimes it doesn't go at the speed you want to, but it's still going in the right direction. 

"There are different aspects to this – it's on the pitch, it's behind the scenes, it's what's happening in the club."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is confident Jose Mourinho will receive a warm reception from Manchester United supporters when he takes his Tottenham side to Old Trafford on Wednesday.

The Portuguese returns to United as a manager for the first time since being sacked by the Red Devils in December 2018.

He was appointed Tottenham boss on November 20 – just a day after Mauricio Pochettino's dismissal – and has steered his new side to three consecutive wins across all competitions.

Mourinho guided United to EFL Cup and Europa League triumphs during his two-and-a-half years in charge and Solskjaer has no doubts he will be well received on his return.

The Norwegian told a media conference: "[He will receive a] very good reception; that's just a testament to this club and these supporters.

"Of course, they remember the two-and-a-half years when he won trophies. So, for me, I'm 100 per cent sure our fans, staff and club will welcome him."

United have endured a difficult start to the campaign and are languishing in ninth after just four wins from their opening 14 games.

Solskjaer acknowledges his side must improve but does not think his players need the motivation of playing against their former boss to get back to winning ways.

"I don't think whoever the manager of the opposition team is will change [the players'] motivation," he added.

"They're motivated to do well for Manchester United, for themselves, for us as a group going forward. They also know it's about improving every day in training, but every time you step onto that pitch, it's a chance to be a part of this long-term.

"And that's always been the case at Manchester United when you put the shirt on; it doesn't matter who you play against, you've got to give it your all. The boys are a bit disappointed after Sunday [when they drew 2-2 with Aston Villa] but now it's all eyes on Wednesday."

Paul Pogba will not be fit for Manchester United's much-anticipated Premier League match against Tottenham, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed.

Jose Mourinho returns to Old Trafford on Wednesday as his improving Spurs side seek to secure a fourth successive win in all competitions.

United had hoped star midfielder Pogba would be ready for the marquee encounter but the France international has not sufficiently recovered from an ankle injury.

Scott McTominay, who also has an ankle problem, and the experienced Nemanja Matic are considered "touch and go" for the midweek fixture, which precedes Saturday's trip to the Etihad Stadium for the derby against Manchester City.

"Paul's not ready, no," Solskjaer said at his pre-match news conference on Tuesday.

"He's still a bit away but he's working hard. He's out on the grass, so let's see how long it will take."

As for McTominay and Matic, Solskjaer said: "They're touch and go. Let's get this training session out of the way. We've got more games than this one, so of course I can't look at just the one game. We have got to look at the long term.

"I don't want to talk about all the injuries we've had but when you get Scott back, when you get Paul back, we have been light in midfield with three out for such a long time and that's affected us."

Solskjaer has been unable to call on Pogba since the 1-1 draw with Arsenal at the end of September.

United have won five of 12 matches in all competitions since then and none of their past three, increasing the pressure on their Norwegian manager.

Premier League bosses Unai Emery, Mauricio Pochettino and Quique Sanchez Flores have all lost their jobs in recent times but Solskjaer denied being worried about his own circumstances.

"No, it doesn't make me more concerned, I’m just focusing on my job and that's doing as well as I can, looking forward to the next game, looking long-term to plan things with the board," he said.

"It's that time of year. It's never nice to see your colleagues lose their jobs in a very short space of time... sometimes you have luck, sometimes you don’t. But it doesn't make me any more concerned that it is December."

Real Madrid have made Fabian Ruiz their top transfer target.

According to reports, "negotiations have accelerated" as the Spanish heavyweights aim to take advantage of the disarray at Napoli.

But the midfielder also has high-profile admirers in England and France.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID STEP UP FABIAN INTEREST

Napoli midfielder Fabian is a man in demand.

Madrid appear to be in pole position, with Cadena SER claiming the Spanish giants are "very serious" about taking the 23-year-old to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Negotiations over a contract extension at Napoli are said to have stopped and the Spain international is reportedly warm to the idea of joining up with Zinedine Zidane's side.

However, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain could look to force a three-way bidding war for the Spain international, who has previously been linked to Barcelona.

ROUND-UP

- Ex-Valencia head coach Marcelino has emerged as a left-field managerial candidate for Arsenal and Everton, according to the Daily Mail. The 54-year-old lost his job at the Mestalla in September following a reported falling out with owner Peter Lim.

- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fears he will be sacked if Manchester United lose their next two games against Tottenham and bitter rivals City, says The Sun.

- Former Premier League striker-turned-reporter Jan Aage Fjortoft claims Liverpool are favourites to land Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho – but the winger will cost the Premier League leaders €130million.

- Chelsea have offered little-used striker Olivier Giroud to Serie A sides Milan and Inter, according to CalcioMercato.

Barcelona are keeping tabs on 16-year-old PSG midfielder Edouard Michut, reports Le Parisien.

In August 2018, Mauricio Pochettino guided Tottenham to a 3-0 victory over Jose Mourinho's Manchester United at Old Trafford.

In hindsight, it was a defeat that appeared to signal the beginning of the end for Mourinho at United, with the Portuguese coach sacked four months later, replaced – initially on a temporary basis – by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Pochettino was heavily linked with the United hot seat, but Solskjaer's impressive run earned him the job permanently. But while Spurs went on to reach a Champions League final, the Red Devils' form dropped off dramatically.

Now, 16 months on from that clash at Old Trafford, Mourinho returns to his former stomping ground for the first time since his December 2018 sacking, having taken over from Pochettino at Spurs – who dismissed the former Argentina international following a poor start to 2019-20.

Two 3-2 wins on the bounce in the league, either side of a 4-2 comeback victory over Olympiacos in the Champions League, have seen Tottenham climb up to fifth place, two points above United, who could only draw with Aston Villa on Sunday.

Can Mourinho show his old side just what they are missing, or will Solskjaer prove his credentials in a match over which the spectre of Pochettino could loom large.

 

THE 'SPECIAL ONE' RETURNS

Glory in the EFL Cup and Europa League made Mourinho's first year in charge of United a successful one, though those were the only major trophies he won during his stint in Manchester.

After finishing second – well behind neighbours Manchester City – in Mourinho's sophomore year, United's form tailed off at the start of the former Chelsea boss' final campaign in charge.

Their home defeat to Tottenham followed on from a loss at Brighton and Hove Albion, while they also went down to both West Ham and City as they suffered four defeats from their opening 12 matches.

A run of three successive draws against Crystal Palace, Southampton and Arsenal paved the way for a 3-1 reverse at Liverpool to result in Mourinho's departure.

But after almost a year out of management, he was handed a way back into the big time with Spurs, who seem rejuvenated – albeit still with some glaring weaknesses – and Mourinho is now aiming to become just the third manager to win a Premier League away game at Old Trafford with two different clubs.

United, on the other hand, have managed just four league victories this season and head into Wednesday's encounter without a victory in three matches across all competitions.

In fact, since Solskjaer was appointed on a permanent basis on March 28, United have claimed all three points in just six Premier League games.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: MARCUS RASHFORD V HARRY KANE

One shining light for United in recent weeks has been the form of Marcus Rashford, who seems to have taken up the mantle of leading the Red Devils' youthful attack.

Meanwhile, Harry Kane's goals were not enough to save Pochettino's job, but the England captain is still as reliable as ever when presented with a chance.

Both players are on seven league goals for the season, with Rashford's 14 appearances one more than Kane.

Rashford has also played slightly more than Kane in terms of minutes, racking up 1,219 compared to the Tottenham striker's 1,165.

Kane is proving more efficient, with the 26-year-old scoring his seven goals from a total of 36 shots, resulting in a conversion rate of 19.44 per cent, while Rashford's rate stands at 16.67 per cent.

Not much separates the pair in terms of goal frequency – Kane edging this one with a strike every 166 minutes, compared to Rashford's 174.

However, Kane is the clear winner when it comes to expected goals. By this metric, Rashford (8.66) should be on at least eight goals for the campaign, while his opposite number at Spurs has only been expected to score five goals from the chances he has had this term.

FORM GUIDE

Pochettino managed two draws in his final matches in charge of Spurs, meaning Mourinho's side are now unbeaten in four league games.

Should Tottenham win, Mourinho will become their first manager to win his first three top-flight matches in charge. 

Dele Alli seems to have recaptured his best form, scoring twice and providing an assist in the two Premier League matches since Mourinho's arrival – as many as he had in his final 12 appearances under Pochettino.

United's haul of 18 points from their opening 14 Premier League matches this season means the Red Devils have endured their worst start to a domestic season since the 1988-89 campaign, when they also had 18 points and went on to finish 11th.

Both United and Tottenham are equal in one sense, however, with both having dropped 12 points from winning positions in the Premier League this season.

HISTORY SAYS…

United's hopes will not be boosted by the fact they have lost three of their past seven home league meetings against Spurs, after losing only two of their previous 36 at Old Trafford.

However, Tottenham have lost more Premier League games to United than against any other side, though Mourinho can take solace in knowing the away team won in both top-flight meetings last season.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hopeful of welcoming back either Paul Pogba or Scott McTominay from injury for the Premier League showdown with Jose Mourinho's Tottenham.

Pogba and fellow United midfielder McTominay were absent from Sunday's disappointing 2-2 draw against Aston Villa at Old Trafford.

United star Pogba has been sidelined since September with an ankle injury, while McTominay hurt his ankle in the win over Brighton and Hove Albion prior to the international break.

As former United boss Mourinho – who had a reported falling out with Pogba prior to his sacking in December last year – prepares to return to Manchester with his Tottenham side on Wednesday, Solskjaer provided an update on his midfielders.

"We have still got two days and we need to look at everyone here as well," Solskjaer told reporters when asked about Pogba and McTominay.

"We have only got two days, so let's see, but, hopefully, we can see one of them on the pitch. They are working hard behind the scenes."

United are languishing in ninth in the Premier League, two points adrift of fifth-placed Spurs – who have won both Premier League matches since Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted his Manchester United players lacked composure after Jack Grealish's goal gave Aston Villa the lead in a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The Red Devils turned the game around as Marcus Rashford forced a Tom Heaton own-goal and Victor Lindelof headed a second for the hosts, but Tyrone Mings plundered an equaliser to earn Villa a point.

The result left United with just two wins from their last nine Premier League matches and, while offering a reminder of the youthfulness of his team, Solskjaer pointed to a lack of composure during a disjointed first half.

"Any home game you'd want to win and you go into the game believing you'll win but you have to play an opposition and the first half wasn't good enough," said Solskjaer.

"Their first goal knocked us a little bit emotionally. We didn't find our composure until we got the half-time talk.

"The boys have character; they're young, there's loads of energy, they played [in the] second half miles, miles better of course but it's a game of two halves as everyone says.

"Poorly defended by us, we should have done better. But then again we have to learn from this. You say that after every goal you concede - there's little details that go wrong. We didn't go out together as a team."

United are ninth in the Premier League table, having lost four and drawn six of their 14 matches this season, and Solskjaer must prepare his players to face Tottenham at home on Wednesday before the Manchester derby at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

The former Red Devils striker gave an upbeat assessment of morale in the squad ahead of a week that could have a huge bearing on a faltering season and his own future at the club.

"These boys will improve and learn from this experience," said Solskjaer. "Of course we, as Man United, as a club, we don't like to be in the position we are but that's the reality now and we just take one game at a time.

"We've got Wednesday, we've got a big game coming up on Saturday again so these boys are looking forward to every game. Sometimes inconsistency will happen with young boys, ups and downs.

"You see in moments we play some fantastic football and at times it's too open. We failed to control the game at times, but we can't do anything about that now.

"We have to keep improving; we have to be better. We have to work on us as a team and becoming a better unit."

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