Jose Mourinho tells Tottenham to forget 6-1 win at Old Trafford as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists Manchester United will use the 'pain' as motivation
Spurs claimed a memorable win over Sunday's opponents at the start of the season but it is United who are in a stronger position with only a few games left
Jose Mourinho has told his Tottenham Hotspur players to forget about the 6-1 win at Old Trafford in October, insisting that result will have no bearing on the outcome of Sunday's reverse fixture.
United suffered their joint-heaviest Premier League defeat when the two sides met at the start of the season thanks to an electric attacking display by Spurs, led by Son Heung-min and Harry Kane, and a defensive horror show from the home side, who were reduced to 10 men in the 28th-minute while 2-0 down.
However, since then United will be the more content of the two clubs with how their campaign has unfolded. While a title challenge never really materialised, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's second-placed side are comfortably in the top four and hold an 11-point lead over Spurs in sixth.
And for Mourinho, it is their opponents' season-long form and the competitiveness of previous encounters between the two sides, instead of one freak result, that should be the focus of his team.
"I believe that 6-1 doesn't reflect the reality," he 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 draw 1-1 at home last season, also with a penalty. I think this is more the reality.
"If Solskjaer is going to use that result I don't know. 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."
In actual fact, it appears Solskjaer is using the 6-1 defeat to motivate his players and to ensure United learn their lessons from a game the Norwegian described as the "worst day" of his career.
"I think the players will remember that game with a lot of pain," Solskjaer said. "Our professional pride had been hurt ... we were so poor and I’m pretty sure we’ll see some players wanting to prove that we’re better than that.”
Key to United's resurgence since that defeat has been their unbeaten away form, which comprises nine wins and six draws from 15 matches. But Mourinho said that record would not intimidate his team, who are desperate to break into the top four after an inconsistent season.
"I am not going to comment on the record other than to say congratulations for the record. We are going to try and win the match. It is the only thing that I can say," said Mourinho, whose team is aiming to bounce back from a disappointing 2-2 draw at Newcastle United last weekend.
"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."
Vital to Tottenham's hopes of victory on Sunday and subsequently their ambitions to reach the top four, and qualify for next season's Champions League, will be the impact of striker Harry Kane.
The England captain is enjoying another superb individual season and tops both the Premier League goals (19) and assists (13) charts.
Unsurprisingly, Solskjaer has been preparing his defenders for the threat Kane, and striker partner Son, will pose at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
"When you play against one of the best centre forwards in European football of course it is something that we prepare for," said Solskjaer, who takes United to Tottenham three days after a 2-0 win at Granada in the first leg of the Europa League quarter-finals. "I think every team when they play Tottenham or England you know Harry Kane’s qualities, but we prepare the defenders for every single opposition and opponent.
"You know the season that Son and Kane have had, the relationship they’ve had. Of course that’s one of Tottenham’s strengths and they’ve got other quality players as well that we have to be aware of.”
Published: April 11, 2021 06:36 AM