Word stemming from the English media this evening suggests that a key shortcoming in Manchester United’s tactical setup was identified and subsequently exposed by Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho over the weekend.
Mauling at Old Trafford
The Red Devils and Spurs of course went head-to-head on Sunday evening, in a high-profile Premier League clash.
United headed into proceedings with their tails up, on the back of a pair of wins over Brighton during the week prior.
Despite their positive form, though, the performances of Solskjaer’s men over the early weeks of the season, in truth, left a lot to be desired.
Nevertheless, to say that what unfolded over the 90 minutes at Old Trafford on Sunday proved in any way predictable would be some way wide of the mark.
An absolutely staggering matchup eventually saw Spurs emerge with the better of a 6-1 scoreline.
All of Son Heung-min (2), Harry Kane (2), Tanguy Ndombele and Serge Aurier were on target for the Lilywhites, as Jose Mourinho got one over on his former side in style.
Bruno Fernandes was the man on the scoresheet for United, with Anthony Martial having also been given his marching orders early on for a petulant (albeit soft) slap on Eric Lamela.
Highlights: Man United 1-6 Tottenham
Amongst a host of takeaways from an utterly bizarre 90 minutes in Manchester, meanwhile, was the tactical battle (if it can even be called that) between Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Jose Mourinho.
The latter, evidently based on the scoreline, got the better of the man who replaced him at Old Trafford, with Mourinho having ruthlessly exposed the shortcomings in United’s setup.
And, as outlined above, an insight into one such tactical tweak made by the Spurs boss, which eventually proved key to the visitors’ dominance, has today been provided.
As per the reliable Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News, Tottenham full-backs Sergio Reguilon and Serge Aurier were instructed to press high up the pitch throughout the matchup.
This tactic was employed to take advantage of the defensive shortcomings of Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford, who’s lack of cover for Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw was pinpointed as central to his side’s chances by Jose Mourinho.
Interestingly, it is also noted that:
‘Tottenham staff are believed to have correctly guessed United’s starting XI – including the inclusion of Eric Bailly at the expense of Victor Lindelof. United’s coaching staff were unsure whether Son Heung-min would figure for Tottenham until they discovered he had travelled to Manchester on Saturday night.’
— Man United News (@ManUtdMEN) October 6, 2020
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|2||Aston Villa FC||3||9||9|
|3||Leicester City FC||4||5||9|
|6||Tottenham Hotspur FC||4||7||7|
|9||Newcastle United FC||4||1||7|
|10||West Ham United FC||4||4||6|
|12||Crystal Palace FC||4||-2||6|
|13||Wolverhampton Wanderers FC||4||-3||6|
|14||Manchester City FC||3||-1||4|
|15||Brighton & Hove Albion FC||4||-2||3|
|16||Manchester United FC||3||-6||3|
|17||West Bromwich Albion||4||-8||1|
|19||Sheffield United FC||4||-5||0|
|Son, Heung Min||Tottenham Hotspur FC||6|
|Calvert-Lewin, Dominic||Everton FC||6|
|Salah, Mohamed||Liverpool FC||5|
|Vardy, Jamie||Leicester City FC||5|
|Wilson, Callum||Newcastle United FC||4|
|Maupay, Neal||Brighton & Hove Albion FC||4|
|Kane, Harry||Tottenham Hotspur FC||3|
|Grealish, Jack||Aston Villa FC||3|
|Rodriguez, James||Everton FC||3|
|Watkins, Ollie||Aston Villa FC||3|
|Lacazette, Alexandre||Arsenal FC||3|
|Zaha, Wilfried||Crystal Palace FC||3|
|Ings, Danny||Southampton FC||3|
|Bamford, Patrick||Leeds United||3|
|Mane, Sadio||Liverpool FC||3|
|Bowen, Jarrod||West Ham United FC||3|
|Costa, Helder||Leeds United||2|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United FC||2|
|Klich, Mateusz||Leeds United||2|
|Player||Team||Red Cards||Yellow Cards|
|Lewis, Jamal||Newcastle United FC||0||3|
|McGinn, John||Aston Villa FC||0||2|
|Bellerin, Hector||Arsenal FC||0||2|
|Fredericks, Ryan||West Ham United FC||0||2|
|Mendy, Nampalys||Leicester City FC||0||2|
|Walker-Peters, Kyle||Southampton FC||0||2|
|Egan, John||Sheffield United FC||1||1|
|Christensen, Andreas||Chelsea FC||1||1|
|Bardsley, Phil||Burnley FC||0||2|
|Shelvey, Jonjo||Newcastle United FC||0||2|
|Ward, Joel||Crystal Palace FC||0||2|
|Le Marchand, Maxime||Fulham FC||0||2|
|Cairney, Tom||Fulham FC||0||2|
|Mendy, Benjamin||Manchester City FC||0||2|
|Lundstram, John||Sheffield United FC||0||2|
|Hayden, Isaac||Newcastle United FC||0||2|
|Targett, Matt||Aston Villa FC||0||2|
|Joelinton||Newcastle United FC||0||2|
|Zaha, Wilfried||Crystal Palace FC||0||1|
|Bamford, Patrick||Leeds United||0||1|
|Kane, Harry||Tottenham Hotspur FC||6|
|Grealish, Jack||Aston Villa FC||3|
|McGinn, John||Aston Villa FC||3|
|Rodriguez, James||Everton FC||2|
|Townsend, Andros||Crystal Palace FC||2|
|Castagne, Timothy||Leicester City FC||2|
|Pereira, Matheus||West Bromwich Albion||2|
|Fornals, Pablo||West Ham United FC||2|
|Cresswell, Aaron||West Ham United FC||2|
|Firmino, Roberto||Liverpool FC||2|
|Bellerin, Hector||Arsenal FC||2|
|Podence, Daniel||Wolverhampton Wanderers FC||2|
|Son, Heung Min||Tottenham Hotspur FC||1|
|Wilson, Callum||Newcastle United FC||1|
|Maupay, Neal||Brighton & Hove Albion FC||1|
|Watkins, Ollie||Aston Villa FC||1|
|Costa, Helder||Leeds United||1|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United FC||1|