Mourinho hails players’ desire as United beat Spurs
Red Devils boss pleased with his charges as they come back from their ‘poor attitude’ to defeat Tottenham while City maintain their five-point lead at the top with a nervy win at West Brom
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was delighted by the commitment of his side after they bounced back from a shock defeat by Huddersfield Town with a 1-0 home win over Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.
Substitute Antony Martial’s goal nine minutes from time was enough for United to go three points clear of Spurs in second place in the Premier League table.
Mourinho slammed United for a “really poor” attitude after the 2-1 defeat by Huddersfield but the Portuguese boss was far happier with what he saw against Spurs.
“We all feel we have to win every match so that’s why I felt disappointed at Huddersfield,” he told Sky Sports.
“It looked like we didn’t know that every point is a precious point. Today, every ball looked like the last ball of their careers.”
As for Martial, whose United future has been a source of speculation, Mourinho said: “Sometimes he starts the match and his contribution is good but he doesn’t score.
“I don’t understand some reactions when people question ‘are they Red Devils’? The two strikers were up against amazing central defenders, some of the best in Europe.”
There was nothing fancy about Martial’s winner, the forward finishing after a kick downfield by United goalkeeper David De Gea was headed on by Romelu Lukaku.
“Martial scores with a bad shot, but the bad shots can be the most beautiful,” said Mourinho. “To play well against a very, very good team feels even better.”
Former Chelsea manager Mourinho accepted the result could easily have gone the other way, saying: “That was difficult, it could have been a draw. Both teams were trying to win but both knew the opponent was strong.
“We knew if we had one defensive mistake we could lose and that’s what happened to them.
“We tried and we deserved the victory.”
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino agreed with much of Mourinho’s assessment, saying: “It was an even game.
“It was a shame to lose. I think we deserved more. It was unlucky that in the last 10 minutes we conceded our goal. It was our mistake.”
Tottenham were without injured striker Harry Kane but Pochettino insisted his side’s title challenge was about more than the in-form England forward.
“If Dele Alli had scored now the question would be different,” Pochettino said. “It is always about the result. You are always going to miss your main striker but it is not fair to talk about Harry Kane.”
Meanwhile, Manchester City maintained their five-point lead at the top of the standings with a nervy 3-2 victory over West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns. In other matches, Arsenal defeated Swansea City 2-1; Liverpool thrashed Huddersfield Town 3-0; Stoke City beat Watford 1-0 and West Ham United were held to a 2-2 draw by Crystal Palace.