It is now mathematically impossible for United to clinch a top four position and Mourinho, who has staked United’s season on next week’s Europa League final against Ajax in Stockholm, said that a “positive attitude” is what he is looking for rather than finishing the domestic season on a high.
In what is likely to be a common refrain ahead of the Ajax match in the Swedish capital’s Friends Arena, the manager said that the Dutch side had a competitive advantage because their season had already finished – while United’s still goes on. The side are at Southampton on Wednesday night, before entertaining Crystal Palace next Sunday. Mourinho claimed that fixture congestion and injuries made this the hardest he has ever worked.
“A final is a final and we have to go to the final with everything like Ajax does because they have finished the season and they do not any more football to play until the football,” Mourinho said.
Asked if it was vital to get points in the next two games, Mourinho said: “No, what I want for the players is a good attitude, is a positive attitude, a positive approach, is team spirit, is understanding that some guys they have to sacrifice themselves for the good of others.”
United will not have Paul Pogba available against Claude Puel’s Southampton because the player is in France, attending his father’s funeral – but Mourinho said that was only part of a larger problem.
“The accumulation of the games, I never had that,” he said. “You know that in all of my career I was never out of European competitions in the group phases - and in the last 16 I was out only once. I reached [European] semi-finals ten times. I go always until the end of the competitions. In the League Cup I normally go far. But I never have I had anything like this. I never have. This is crazy.”
Tottenham vs Manchester United player ratings
Tottenham vs Manchester United player ratings
1/22 Hugo Lloris – 6 out of 10
The keeper made a handful of crucial saves today to keep his side in the lead. He commanded his box well and was quick off the line.
2/22 Kieran Trippier – 4 out of 10
The defender struggled to keep up with the pace and ability of Martial. Was on the backfoot for much of the game.
3/22 Toby Alderweireld – 6 out of 10
He held the line well at the back and made a number of crucial interceptions and blocks.
4/22 Jan Vertonghen – 6 out of 10
It was a disciplined display at the back, but at times he was dragged out of position in the hunt for possession.
5/22 Ben Davies – 7 out of 10
Davies assisted Wanyama’s goal in sublime style and his deliveries into the area throughout were problematic for United.
6/22 Eric Dier – 6 out of 10
Dier used possession well and continued to provide service for the forwards throughout.
7/22 Victor Wanyama – 7 out of 10
He scored the opener, worked relentlessly and his passing was faultless.
8/22 Christian Eriksen – 8 out of 10
As always with Eriksen, his deliveries were remarkable. His ability to pick a player out within a group is simply sublime.
9/22 Dele Alli – 8 out of 10
His movement off the ball upset United and caused chaos within their defence. He tested De Gea on several occasions – top display.
10/22 Son Heung-min – 6 out of 10
An energetic display, but it would have been encouraging to see him shoot more.
11/22 Harry Kane – 7 out of 10
He scored Tottenham’s second which capped off a terrific display from Spurs’ main man.
12/22 David De Gea – 7 out of 10
De Gea made several saves to prevent Tottenham extending their lead. Very dominant goalkeeping from the 26-year-old.
13/22 Eric Bailly – 7 out of 10
Held his position well at the back and was excellent in the air. A disciplined display from the 23-year-old.
14/22 Chris Smalling – 5 out of 10
He struggled to keep up with the movement of the Spurs forwards and, as a result, he was repeatedly dragged out of position.
15/22 Phil Jones – 6 out of 10
Jones held the line at the back reasonably well and controlled the United defence. A textbook display.
16/22 Daley Blind – 5 out of 10
Blind lunged into challenges, which left the United defence vulnerable at times.
17/22 Michael Carrick – 6 out of 10
As always, his vision when in possession was impressive. He was pumping balls up to the forwards relentlessly.
18/22 Axel Tuanzebe – 7 out of 10
The youngster held his own out there against a quality strike force. Made a number of vital tackles and interceptions.
19/22 Jesse Lingard – 5 out of 10
Lingard looked lost at times and was drifting into the background of the game. Needs to do more when he is in possession.
20/22 Juan Mata – 6 out of 10
He was impressive in possession, but it would have been encouraging to see him with more of the ball.
21/22 Wayne Rooney – 5 out of 10
He scored United’s only goal, which went some way to redeeming his poor defensive play.
22/22 Anthony Martial – 7 out of 10
His energy and pace provided a positive prospect for United. He troubled the Spurs defence with his trickery and footwork.
He said it was a blessing that his side were knocked out of the FA Cup at the quarter- final stage by Chelsea, because of what he claims are a refereeing error. “Thank you [referee] Michael Oliver,” he said. “Because we were out in the FA Cup. Because if we go to the FA Cup semi-finals it would be a total disaster. I don’t know when we would be playing that game.
“I never, ever have had a situation like this and on top of that the accumulation of big injuries, not small, not the injuries that you say ‘ok, hamstring, two weeks’. No. It’s surgery, boom, boom. It’s surgery – one knee, another knee. Another foot. Just big surgeries. So fewer players and fewer players and fewer players. It’s very difficult, really very difficult. But we are there and we go to the [Europa League] final.”Reuse content