Jose Mourinho accepted Manchester United deserved to beat Tottenham on his return to Old Trafford. Marcus Rashford's double either side of a superb Dele Alli goal meant Mourinho's Tottenham lost 2-1 in the Premier League on Wednesday, ending his 100 per cent record since succeeding Mauricio Pochettino.
Spurs lacked intensity but Mourinho rued a penalty needlessly given away by Moussa Sissoko that allowed Rashford to score what proved the winner early in the second half.
"I think they [United] deserved the victory by their first half, we didn't start well at all," Mourinho told Prime Video. "I think for the first 30 minutes they were the best team and because of that, a strong 30 minutes, we were not there. Also, the way we conceded the second goal, I think they deserved to win."
"If I look even to the previous three matches where we won, we didn't start well. The team is not starting matches well, finding it a little difficult to find the intensity, the aggression of the game. I told them about Old Trafford, about some of the players like Scott McTominay who show aggression immediately in the game, Rashford even going to press the keeper, this type of attitude showing initially intensity, but we were not in the game in the beginning."
"After that, we had the ball, played and scored and we could create even more, then in the second half I thought really we could be in control of the game like we finished the first half. We conceded a goal that is impossible to concede if we are to win, we are sleeping, we have no control. Then what happened inside the box is a consequence of everything that comes from the sleeping."
Spurs will look to bounce back at home to Burnley on Saturday having seen United leapfrog them in the table and move into the top six. "I need to work because until now I almost didn't work, with two days between matches," Mourinho, who was sacked by United a year ago, added.
"Everything is very passive, not like intense training sessions, it's about recovering and trying to give tactical principles. But we need to work, they [the players] feel exactly what I feel, they didn't start the game. Then we were lucky to finish the first half at 1-1 then, when we thought we had the best conditions in the second half to be in control and try to win it, you concede that goal and it is not a good one to concede."
- Mourinho: Man Utd finds it easier against teams which want to take initiative -
Jose Mourinho believes Manchester United finds it "easier" to play against teams like Tottenham after his perfect record as Spurs head coach came to an end.
United has beaten Spurs, high-flying Leicester City and Chelsea for three of its five Premier League wins this season, while also holding Liverpool and Arsenal.
Mourinho, who had won his first three matches as Spurs head coach, said United's approach made it easier for them against other big clubs.
"You look at United's results this season against the best teams and they had good results," he told a news conference. "I think at home when they play like they did [against] Chelsea, Liverpool and Leicester – also a great team this season – they always had this kind of attitude. I think it's easier for them."
"I think for the way they play it's easier for them, they're not afraid to be with a defensive approach, they are not afraid to be at home and to take their time, to be in control of the emotions of the game and then lots of young people with lots of energy and with a good mentality.
"When they are winning matches, they are comfortable in this situation of low block with a giant [Harry Maguire] there almost dominating in the air and being fast in counter-attack with Marcus, with Daniel James, with Jesse Lingard, with Anthony Martial.
"I think the way they play it's easier for them when they play against the teams that are better teams, teams that want more of the ball, teams that want to have the initiative of the game so I think they did well."