Tottenham targeted Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood in their 6-1 thrashing of Manchester United, purposefully exploiting their defensive shortcomings.
Spurs insiders told the Manchester Evening News that Serge Aurier and Sergio Reguilon ‘killing’ United ‘because Greenwood and Rashford don’t defend’ was a rehearsed plan.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw were frequently left without cover as the Spurs full-backs were consistently granted time on the ball and acres of space to run into.
Two of the Spurs goals came down Shaw’s side, who Jose Mourinho knows has a tendency to abandon his position.
“Chelsea moves the ball well but they don’t look for an overlap a lot,” Mourinho said as a pundit during the interval of United’s 4-0 victory over Chelsea last season. “When they do, Maguire is the one that has to jump on the outside as United’s midfield players are not defending in the box.
“When Maguire has to cover for Luke Shaw – he will learn he has to do this a lot of times during the season – the space in the face of the ball, somebody has to arrive.”
The report also claims the Spurs staff correctly predicted Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s starting XI, including Eric Bailly coming in to replace Victor Lindelof.
Mourinho decided to press United high to take advantage of Paul Pogba’s defensive fragility and to prevent the Frenchman time to pick passes and grow into the game.
He and Nemanja Matic – who was substituted at half-time with United 4-1 down – were made to look cumbersome and lethargic.