No way Jose as United send clear mes­sage

Evening Times - - FOOTBALL - SI­MON PEACH

What­ever Mour­inho said had lit­tle im­pact

MAR­CUS RASH­FORD’S brace ru­ined Jose Mour­inho’s Old Traf­ford re­turn as Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer’s Manch­ester United ran out de­served vic­tors against Tot­ten­ham.

Less than a year after be­ing sacked as back­ground back­bit­ing com­pounded poor per­for­mances, Mour­inho re­turned to the Old Traf­ford touch­line at a time when pres­sure was in­creas­ing on his suc­ces­sor fol­low­ing the club’s worst start to a sea­son since 1988.

The Por­tuguese re­ceived a warm re­cep­tion at his old stomp­ing ground but Sol­sk­jaer’s name filled the air when Rash­ford goals ei­ther side of a fine Dele Alli equaliser sealed United a much-needed 2-1 vic­tory.

The end of Mour­inho’s three­game win­ning start to life at the Tot­ten­ham helm pro­vided a timely shot in the arm for his for­mer club.

The match started with United on the front foot and Rash­ford open­ing the scor­ing in the sixth minute after all too eas­ily beat­ing Paulo Gaz­zaniga.

The Tot­ten­ham goal­keeper pro­duced a num­ber of fine stops, in­clud­ing tip­ping a lon­grange ef­fort from the 22-yearold onto the bar, as United dom­i­nated a first half they ended on level terms thanks to Alli’s beau­ti­ful flick and fin­ish.

But a lack of cut­ting edge did not re­turn to haunt the hosts, with Rash­ford scor­ing from the spot early in the sec­ond half fol­low­ing a clumsy chal­lenge by Moussa Sis­soko.

Sol­sk­jaer and Mour­inho shared a warm em­brace at full-time, with the lat­ter surely hav­ing few ar­gu­ments with the re­sult given the way things panned out.

Spurs were be­hind within just six min­utes as Davin­son Sanchez flapped, with the Tot­ten­ham de­fender in­ad­ver­tently back­heel­ing into the path of Rash­ford under pres­sure from Jesse Lin­gard.

Show­ing no lit­tle skill and con­fi­dence, Rash­ford ran onto the ball and un­leashed a low shot that beat Gaz­zaniga at his near post.

What­ever Mour­inho said had lit­tle im­pact, with United dom­i­nat­ing and Rash­ford send­ing a dip­ping free-kick just wide be­fore Gaz­zaniga stopped 18-year-old Ma­son Green­wood from close range.

It was a fine stop bet­tered in the 25th minute when Rash­ford took aim from 30 yards, with the Ar­gentina goal­keeper do­ing su­perbly to tip that fizzing ef­fort onto the cross­bar.

Hav­ing had pre­cious lit­tle to do dur­ing the open­ing pe­riod, David De Gea did well to deny Serge Aurier’s vol­ley with his feet when Spurs first mus­tered a shot on tar­get in the 39th minute.

How­ever, the United goal­keeper could do lit­tle when the ball looped high into the air and Alli met it with an ex­pert clipped touch over his shoul­der under pres­sure from Fred and Ash­ley Young be­fore fir­ing home an ef­fort cleared by the video as­sis­tant referee.

It was a stun­ning ef­fort that could have de­railed United, only for Sis­soko’s clum­si­ness within 90 sec­onds of the sec­ond half to put Spurs on the back foot once more.

The mid­fielder only man­aged to tread on Rash­ford’s foot when try­ing to tackle the for­ward, with referee Paul Tier­ney point­ing to the spot. After a long wait, the Eng­land for­ward coolly sent the ball into the right-hand cor­ner as Gaz­zaniga went the other way.

Son He­ung-min and Harry Kane saw ef­forts blocked as Spurs looked for an­other equaliser, but the hosts were look­ing com­fort­able and play­ing with con­fi­dence.

Gaz­zaniga de­nied James but play was stretched and United were show­ing com­po­sure de­fen­sively.

Aurier was de­nied and De Gea got down to Alli dur­ing an end-to-end con­clu­sion, with the Old Traf­ford faith­ful erupt­ing at full-time after hold­ing out for a key win.

Xher­dan Shaqiri scores Liver­pool’s sec­ond goal of the game

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