Jose Mourinho has reacted to Manchester United’s 2-1 defeat at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, noting that there was a clear imbalance between the levels of motivation in each side.
The home side, playing their last ever game at White Hart Lane, burst out of the blocks and went ahead through Victor Wanyama before Harry Kane doubled the lead just after half time.
And Mourinho, speaking after the game, was quick to point towards the glaring difference between the two sides when it came to fitness and desire.
“Tottenham were a team at the maximum of their potential, with all players, with all the motivation to win the last match at home,” he said.
“We were simply trying to find balance, even with some players not in their best position, trying to organise a team to give minutes to people who need minutes and protecting people who needed to be protected.
“After 2-0 we were brought some balance to the team because we put players in the right positions, the team imp a lot, we had 2-1, could have had 2-2. I am fine with individual performances: the two goals are bad to concede but the team is not used to playing together.”
For Spurs, this game was everything. Everything about Mauricio Pochettino’s side points forward at the moment: a forward thinking, aggressive mentality on the pitch; a new stadium; their best ever Premier League finish; another shot at the Champions League next year. Losing to United and Mourinho – a potent feature of their past – almost felt like a counter-intuitve prospect.
For United, however, this game was nothing more than an inconvenience. This was Spurs’ day, and Mourinho’s men – now fully focused on their Europa League final clash with Ajax – were only really there because the had to be, and the game very much reflected such a mindset, even if United did come very close to a late equaliser.