Jose Mourinho returned to Old Trafford full of vigour, only to go back empty-handed as his team lost out 2-1 to an inspired Manchester United side. FOX Sports Asia takes a look at the key talking points.
1. Jose return marred by Ole’s boys
Even as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer denied his players will have extra motivation to spoil Mourinho’s return to Old Trafford, one couldn’t help but feel United’s players were out to prove a point.
Ole’s Reds looked to attack from the word go in what was a complete antithesis of Mourinho’s time at Old Trafford. At the final whistle, one could see how much the win meant for both players and manager and it certainly doesn’t feel like they are ready to let go of each other any time soon.
2. Rashford the man for the big occasion
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Marcus Rashford has reserved some of his best performances for the biggest of occasions this season and this evening was no different. The striker opened his account early on with a sweet strike to beat Gazzaniga at his near-post and was a bagful of tricks from then on.
He nearly scored with a free kick and struck the bar again in the first-half, before finally scoring the winner with a penalty in the 47th minute. Notably, more than 50 percent (5)of his 9 goals in the Premier League this season have come against big-six opposition. Big, big performance.
3. Fred runs the show
Having struggled to win over his detractors following his 60 million move to United, Fred put in a masterclass. The former Shakhtar man failed to impress last year but put in his best performance in Red – ironically against the very manager who brought him to Old Trafford in the first place.
His energy, dribbling and passing formed the base for United’s 30 minute spell of frenetic attacking in the first half and he played an important role when Solskjaer needed his team to see the game out as well. Would definitely be harsh if the Brazilian is dropped to accommodate Pogba at the weekend after this performance.
4. Harry Kane goes missing
On a night when his England strike partner dominated proceedings, England captain Harry Kane put in one of his worst showings of the season. Missing chances can be excused but an anonymous display on a big night certainly warrants criticism.
Even Mourinho, who recently hailed Kane as one of the best in the world, might have wondered if it was really his captain on the pitch, or Harry Kane’s ‘brother’?
5. Alli wonder goal in vain
One man who cannot be accused of a lack of effort, even on such a dire night for his team is Dele Alli. Reborn under Mourinho, the youngster continued his renaissance with a goal straight out of street football.
Reminiscent of his strike against Palace a couple of years ago, he left two players for dead with his first touch before firing past David De Gea to draw Spurs level and give them some hope. Will be disappointed his team failed to build on his lifeline.