Paul Pogba in-focus as floundering Manchester United slump to heavy home defeat to Spurs

Carl Markham 28/08/2018
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Paul Pogba and Jose Mourinho after Spurs

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has found himself under scrutiny early in the season.

Press Association Sport looks at how the France World Cup winner fared in the 3-0 defeat at home to Tottenham.

Passing

One raking, left-footed crossfield effort straight to the feet of Luke Shaw was the highlight of the first half but he also played one free-kick 20 yards square straight to Lucas Moura 10 yards inside the United half. He did not do enough to open up Tottenham when United were dominating possession.

Influence

He was a peripheral figure for the opening 20 minutes but gradually found a way into the game and started to gain control in midfield. However, when the game began to get away from the hosts the Frenchman had no response.

Threat

He forced Hugo Lloris into the first save of the match with a low, 20-yard effort and clipped another long-range effort wide early in the second half. He got forward more in the second half but could not carve out a decent chance.

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Red alert as Manchester United crash to 3-0 home defeat to Spurs

Simon Peach 28/08/2018
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Alexis Sanchez after the loss to Spurs

Manchester United are nursing the wounds of another humiliating loss after Tottenham condemned Jose Mourinho to his biggest ever home defeat as a manager.

United were in desperate need of a response following a shock defeat at Brighton that led to heightened scrutiny on the manager, key players and background operations.

Mourinho looked to have got the desired response from his players, only for United to unravel in the second half as Harry Kane’s header was complemented by Lucas Moura’s brace as Tottenham ran out 3-0 victors.

“You’re getting sacked in the morning” chanted the visiting fans after Spurs piled the pressure on the Portuguese and ended their run of four successive Old Trafford defeats.

While Mauricio Pochettino’s men enjoy a 100 per cent start to the campaign, this is just the second season in Premier League history that United have lost more than one of their opening three matches – a result few could have imagined during the hosts’ bright start.

Romelu Lukaku should have scored in a first half in which Phil Jones was fortunate not to give away a penalty for a foul on Moura, but the Brazilian would have the last laugh.

Kane’s headed opener was followed up by Moura striking home 133 seconds later, setting up a victory that the Brazilian added gloss to as the clock wound down to ratchet up the pressure on United.

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Jose Mourinho claims Man United have solidarity even after Spurs loss

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Jose Mourinho came out fighting after Manchester United‘s 3-0 home defeat by Tottenham and insisted the players and fans are united behind him.

Harry Kane‘s goal and two from Lucas Moura condemned United to a chastening Old Trafford loss which will do little to quash rumours of unrest at Old Trafford.

But Mourinho pointedly stayed on the pitch to applaud the supporters who had sung his name towards the end of the match.

And afterwards he claimed the performance of his players proved the solidarity in the dressing room as well as in the stands.

“We worked very well during the week, we prepared well, we played well, the players had a fantastic attitude,” Mourinho told Sky Sports.

“At half-time the result should be 2-0, 3-1, 3-0, but then something changed the game a bit and the result was 2-0 but the team was in the game.

“I think everyone felt one goal could change the direction of game, Tottenham felt it, we did too, but then the third goal changed the game.

“If anyone watched this game one thing they will know for sure, the team is united.

“A team doesn’t fight like they fought if they are not united. I think it’s time to stop with the untruths.

“A team that fights the way they did with the solidarity between the players, the dignity to play together for Manchester United and lose at home, of course it’s a very difficult thing for anyone.

“I think one thing is clear, the team are united. There is no union without the manager.”

Liverpool are seen in some quarters as the only viable challengers to champions Manchester City this season, but England striker Kane was happy to big up Tottenham’s chances.

“That’s massive, to come here and win the way we did is a big statement,” he told Sky Sports.

“We wanted to start the season well and three wins out of three is a great start.

“We didn’t play well in the first half but we came in at 0-0 and said we had to step up the tempo. We got the first goal and then we punished them, Lucas with two great finishes, and we saw the game out.

“That’s the only way we’ll win the league. We haven’t started well in previous years, we’ve had to play catch-up, but the top six are so strong now you have to stay with them.

“This will give us huge belief, it’s a great statement tonight.

“We’re trying to create our own history at Spurs. We’ve not been top of the league over the years like United, like Chelsea. We’ve done well in the last few years but not quite got there – but we have the drive to take the club to the next level.”

Spurs were criticised for not adding to their squad over the summer but Kane said: “A lot of us have been playing together for a while and that helps.

“It’s a long old season and at times like today in the first half we stuck together, that’s what will help us win the title.

“The gaffer said he is not bringing players in who won’t improve the squad and that’s a big bonus for us.”

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