Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho does not think his Manchester United replacement Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will use the 6-1 defeat at Old Trafford in October as a source of motivation for this Sunday’s reverse fixture.
It was United’s joint heaviest Premier League defeat when Spurs came to Manchester in the earlier stages of the campaign. Along with the Champions League knockout, I would put that down as possible Solskjaer’s darkest hour in the hotseat.
United went on to kick-start their campaign and are now primed to finish second behind rivals Man City.
“I believe that 6-1 doesn’t reflect that reality. It can happen. Of course it can happen, between two greats, the results they can happen in an isolated way,” Mourinho said.
“I go much more in the direction of the other two previous matches between us and United. We lost 2-1 at Old Trafford, with the penalty, and we drew 1-1 at home last season, also with a penalty. I think this is more the reality.
“We are not far from each other so I think it is going to be a difficult match for both.
“If Solskjaer is going to use that result I don’t know. If it was the opposite. If it was my team losing 6-1 to them I would just say to my guys that it happened once and it’s not going to happen twice. This doesn’t reflect the reality.
“The game is going to be tight and we can win, but I don’t know, maybe Solskjaer has different things.”
Mourinho will set his team out to end United’s 22-match unbeaten away record.
“I am not going to comment on the record other than to say congratulations for the record,” the former United manager added.
“We are going to try and win the match. It is the only thing that I can say.
“It is very difficult for many reasons but that record is not going to stop us to think we can win and it is not going to stop us to fight to win.
“Then at the end of the match maybe the result is different and their record becomes even better, but it is not the record that is going to stop us going into the game thinking we can’t win it.”
Spurs have two players out injured for the match, including Matt Doherty and Ben Davies.
The Reds will be looking to either keep or increase their gap (4 points) from second to third with a win on Sunday.
I think the team can actually take motivation from the 6-1 defeat in October when they take to the pitch this weekend.
That loss hurt the manager and I’m sure each of the players. Although they won’t need reminding that it won’t happen again, I’m sure there will be playing on the pitch making sure they do all they can to ensure Mourinho doesn’t leave the stadium with a smile on his face.
Think of the way he treated Luke Shaw during his time at the club and how sour the dressing room became before he was sacked.