Jose Mourinho is refusing to deal in hypotheticals with regards to the future of Tottenham star Christian Eriksen.

The attacking midfielder is out of contract at the end of the season and was linked with a move away in the previous transfer window but a deal failed to materialise.

Reports suggest Spurs are willing to listen to offers of £40million for Eriksen in January, half the amount Manchester United were supposedly quoted in the close season, with a switch to Italy or Spain thought to be his favoured destination.

However, Spurs boss Mourinho kept his cards close to his chest when asked what will happen with Eriksen next month.

"My feelings are until I have anything official rather than hypothetical, I will not comment," Mourinho said. 

"The only thing I can say is the player is a free agent at the end of the season. 

"Of course I've had a conversation with him, but I'm not sharing anything, from respect with the player."

Mourinho was also quizzed on the possibility of turning Giovani Lo Celso's loan move from Real Betis into a permanent deal.

The Argentina midfielder has made 10 appearances this term but only two of those were as part of the starting line-up, with injury problems having blighted his start to the campaign.

Mourinho has no doubts about Le Celso's quality, though conceded he is still getting to grips with life in England.

"I'm doing my work now to try to improve results and get the best out of the players," he added.

"Of course, Giovani is in Europe for a number of years, but France with PSG and then Spain, it's a completely different football world than it is in England.

"So many experienced players arrive in England and the click for them is not automatic. So a young guy like Giovani also needs his time to adapt to the Premier League.

"You could see, even with Mauricio [Pochettino], an Argentinian man like him, easy communication, surrounded by some boys who speak French, he speaks English, so even in those surroundings of support it's not like he arrives here and explodes immediately.

"But we know the good player he is, give him time to develop and we think he is going to be a good player for us."

Jose Mourinho told his Tottenham side to get angry after being left disappointed by the reaction in the dressing room to Wednesday's defeat at Manchester United.

The Portuguese's first return to Old Trafford as a coach since being sacked by the Red Devils a year ago ended in disappointment as Marcus Rashford's double either side of Dele Alli's equaliser condemned him to a first defeat since taking the reins at Tottenham.

After the game, Mourinho described the atmosphere among the Spurs squad as "sad", and he wants to see a different response from the team when they suffer setbacks.

"I saw a sad dressing room, a sad bus and a sad plane, and that's not what I like after a defeat," he said on Friday.

"I think after a defeat you can't be sad. You have to be more than that. You have to be raging and angry. 

"Being sad is not going to resolve your problems. It's obvious we have problems, but we need to have time to work. But we have players with quality and a great dressing room."

One area of concern for Mourinho is a leaky defence, with Tottenham having conceded twice in each of the four games he has overseen since replacing Mauricio Pochettino last month.

But Mourinho says it is not just the back four that have to increase their defensive responsibility.

"We have to sort out our defence. We have conceded two goals in every match. We are conceding cheap goals," he said.

"We have to work on it but it is hard, as we had a recovery day yesterday and we play tomorrow. To analyse, to comment and to coach in a meeting room helps, so hopefully we'll get some positive things after the negative things.

"It's not the defence, it's the defensive process. I'm not looking at individual players. There are 11 players on the pitch."

On Saturday, Mourinho's men welcome a Burnley side who will be aiming to bounce back from consecutive home defeats to Crystal Palace and Manchester City.

And Mourinho is not expecting many surprises from the Clarets, saying: "We know how Burnley play - unless they play differently to how they have always played.

"There will be no surprises, but they are a hard team to play against. It isn't just about their two strikers against our two centre-backs."

Liverpool cruised to a 5-2 victory in the Merseyside derby against Everton as they consolidated their lead at the top of the Premier League, despite a much-changed team.

Meanwhile, Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho endured an unhappy return to Old Trafford as his side lost 2-1 to Manchester United - the Portuguese has not won there as a visiting boss in his past five attempts.

Defending champions Manchester City thrashed Burnley 4-1 as Pep Guardiola made it eight wins in his nine games against the Clarets.

A midweek round of Premier League fixtures brought a range of milestones and telling stats, the best of which are below.

KLOPP ECLIPSES SHANKLY, PAISLEY AND DALGLISH 

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will likely need to deliver the Premier League title to secure his place in the pantheon of Anfield greats.

However, the German has put down a few markers suggesting he is ready to join the Kop's hall of fame by becoming the fastest Liverpool manager to 100 league victories. Klopp completed the feat in 159 games – quicker than Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley and Kenny Dalglish.

Liverpool secured the win over Everton thanks to a brace from Divock Origi, and one goal apiece for Sadio Mane, Xherdan Shaqiri and Georginio Wijnaldum.

They are now unbeaten in their past 32 Premier League games which is their longest run without defeat in top-flight history.

Marco Silva's final match at the helm saw him become the first Everton manager to concede five league goals against Liverpool in a single match since Howard Kendall in November 1982.

 

MORE OF THE SAME FOR MOURINHO 

United's 2-1 win over Tottenham, secured courtesy of two goals from Marcus Rashford – taking his tally to nine in 10 games – made Mourinho's return to his old club a miserable one.

Mourinho has won none of his past five away Premier League matches against the Red Devils (D3 L2), failing to beat four different managers in that time – Alex Ferguson, David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and current United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

It was also Tottenham 35th Premier League defeat against United – more than they have suffered against any other team. 

Spurs' defence must also be a concern for Mourinho. They have conceded twice in their four matches in all competitions under the Portuguese – they only had a run of conceding two or more goals in four consecutive games once under Mauricio Pochettino, doing so in February and March 2015.

Midfielder Dele Alli has started to rediscover some of his old form, though, and his equaliser for Spurs was his third goal in as many appearances for the club in all competitions – the first time since March 2017 he has enjoyed such a purple patch.

 

CITY THREE AND EASY UNDER PEP

Gabriel Jesus' brace and one apiece for midfielders Rodri and Riyad Mahrez gave City some much-needed confidence with a 4-1 thrashing of Burnley – although they remain 11 points behind leaders Liverpool.

Jesus is now the third highest-scoring Brazilian player in Premier League history (32 goals), trailing only Philippe Coutinho (41) and Roberto Firmino (52).

It was the 36th time City have won a Premier League game by three or more goals under Guardiola – the most of any team in the competition since the start of the 2016-17 season.

David Silva's creative skills remain key for City and he took his tally to six assists from open play in the league this season – just one fewer than he managed in 33 games last season.

Burnley have now conceded 11 goals in their three home games against 'big six' opposition in the Premier League this season, compared to only two goals in five home games against the rest.

 

LJUNGBERG'S LOSS A DROUGHT-BREAKING BOOST FOR BRIGHTON

Managerless, beaten at home by Brighton and Hove Albion and now nine games without victory in all competitions – Gunners fans have every right to be gloomy.

Arsenal's 2-1 loss to the Seagulls made this their longest winless streak since a run of 10 between February and March of 1977.

Mesut Ozil registered his first assist in the league since February when his corner was met by Alexandre Lacazette, but the French forward's 25th English top-flight goal at Emirates Stadium failed to avert a first defeat for interim boss Freddie Ljungberg.

Adam Webster had opened the scoring before the interval and Brighton were able to celebrate their first Premier League away win over 'big six' opposition following Neal Maupay's 80th-minute header.

Arsenal, booed off at full-time, have faced 52 shots on target in home league games this season, four more than in the entire Invincibles campaign of 2003-04.

Christian Eriksen is back on Manchester United's transfer radar.

The Red Devils are said to be preparing a January bid for the Tottenham midfielder, whose contract expires at the end of the season.

Eriksen reportedly turned down a move to Old Trafford earlier this year.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED REIGNITE ERIKSEN INTEREST

Could Jose Mourinho unintentionally do his old employers another favour?

Tottenham lost to United in midweek and are now about to receive an offer for playmaker Eriksen from their Premier League rivals, reports The Mirror.

The Denmark international has not featured in the starting XI since Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino and, though he prefers a move abroad, might have a decision to make when the transfer window reopens.

Seemingly not convinced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side a few months ago, Eriksen can sign a pre-contract agreement with clubs overseas from January.

ROUND-UP

- Leicester City are set to hand in-demand manager Brendan Rodgers a bumper new deal in a bid to end interest from Arsenal, according to The Telegraph.

- David Moyes wants a long-term commitment from Everton before agreeing to a second stint in charge at Goodison Park, says The Sun.

- Contrary to recent reports, ESPN suggests Patrick Vieira is not at the top of Arsenal's shortlist of potential managers.

- Error-riddled Roberto's ill-fated period as a Premier League goalkeeper could soon be over. The Guardian reports West Ham will look to sell or loan the Spaniard in January, with Turkey a likely destination, as they pursue stronger competition for the injured Lukasz Fabianski.

- Serie A side  Milan have offered Zlatan Ibrahimovic a contract that could run for 18 months and will demand an answer from his agent Mino Raiola next week, claims CalcioMercato.

- Diego Simeone wants Atletico Madrid to prioritise signing a striker over Brazilian midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, according to AS. The Spanish newspaper links Krzysztof Piatek, Andrea Belotti of Torino, Chelsea centre-forward Olivier Giroud and Valencia's Rodrigo with moves to the Wanda Metropolitano.

- Staying with Atletico and the Rojiblancos have entered the race for rumoured Juventus, Inter and Borussia Dortmund target Sandro Tonali, says CalcioMercato. Tonali, 19, is in his third season in Brescia's first-team squad.

Wilfried Zaha deserves to play for a "top club" as his agent Federico Pastorello said the Crystal Palace star could leave during the January transfer window.

Zaha wanted to depart before the start of the season but neither a move to Premier League rivals Arsenal nor Everton materialised after Palace held firm.

Refocused and in form, former Manchester United forward Zaha has been linked with Chelsea, who are hoping to overturn their transfer ban.

Pastorello revealed Ivory Coast international Zaha could be involved in a busy January window.

"I think he really deserves a new challenge and a top club, because he is really a top player," Pastorello, who also represents Inter star Romelu Lukaku, told Sky Sports News.

"It is surprising me because I read about a possible move in the summer but he stayed again. But this season he is proving that he is very focused and concentrated, so think he could be another good opportunity in the January market.

"The January market can [usually] be really calm. As the number of transfers there is about one third as many than in the summer. But there are some very good and interesting opportunities for the clubs that sell, because maybe a club really needs that player and is ready to pay a little bit more because of emergency.

"There have been a lot of changes in the Premier League in terms of managers. Sometimes when you do that you need to face his needs tactically. So expect maybe Tottenham being a bit more protagonist in the market, maybe Manchester United too.

"Let's see what happens in Chelsea too, because the ban is not sure. If they remove that they may need to do something. In Europe there are some clubs like Inter and AC Milan that maybe need to improve their squad."

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.

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."

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."

Liverpool blew Everton away in the Merseyside derby and Jose Mourinho suffered his first loss as Tottenham head coach on his return to Manchester United.

Jurgen Klopp's Premier League leaders have an eight-point cushion at the top after a 5-2 win at Anfield on Wednesday that increases the pressure on the Toffees' beleaguered boss Marco Silva.

Leicester remain the Reds' nearest challengers after Brendan Rodgers' side saw off his old club Watford 2-0 thanks to second-half goals from Jamie Vardy and James Maddison.

Chelsea, Southampton and Wolves completed a clean sweep of home wins with victories over Aston Villa, Norwich City and West Ham respectively.

 

Divock the derby hero again

Divock Origi and Sadio Mane were the stars for Liverpool as their 5-2 victory in the Merseyside derby left stricken Silva surely on the verge of losing his job.

A remarkable first half saw six goals – Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri helping the Reds race ahead, though Michael Keane pulled Everton back into contention.

Another for Origi – his fifth Merseyside derby strike – restored Liverpool's two-goal advantage with Mane slotting home their fourth before Richarlison reduced the deficit again.

That effort failed to lift Everton and Georginio Wijnaldum delivered a likely final blow to Silva as counterpart Klopp claimed his 100th Premier League win.

Unhappy return for Mourinho

Spurs had won three games out of three under Mourinho but fell to a 2-1 loss away to Manchester United with Marcus Rashford scoring both goals for the Red Devils.

Rashford scored either side of a superb individual effort from Dele Alli to take his Premier League tally to nine for the season, with Spurs well off the pace.

United move into the top six, leapfrogging Mourinho's men, thanks to a much-needed victory that ends their run of three matches without a win in all competitions.

Abraham nets again for Blues

Tammy Abraham returned from injury to help sink former club Aston Villa as Chelsea got back to winning ways with a 2-1 victory on John Terry's return to Stamford Bridge.

Back from a hip problem, Abraham opened the scoring with a first-half header and provided a chested assist that allowed Mason Mount to volley a superb winner after Trezeguet's fortuitous equaliser.

Willian excelled throughout on the right flank and Chelsea, who had lost their past two league games to Manchester City and West Ham, should have won by more against opponents who had Blues legend Terry on the bench as assistant manager.

Penalty drama for Leicester

A 2-0 home win against managerless Watford was routine for Leicester, but striker Vardy was booked for diving when he seemed to be clearly fouled, despite the incident being checked by the VAR.

Vardy later converted from the spot, scoring for the seventh straight league game, and Leicester's winning streak also stretched to seven matches in the league after Maddison netted deep into added time.

Elsewhere, Southampton moved out of the bottom three at Everton's expense with Ralph Hasenhuttl's side sealing successive home wins with first-half strikes by Danny Ings and Ryan Bertrand setting up a 2-1 victory over Norwich at St. Mary's.

Wolves are fifth after goals from Leander Dendoncker and Patrick Cutrone downed West Ham 2-0. Nuno Espirito Santo's side are now unbeaten in 10 Premier League matches.

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.

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