It’s a sensational return to Old Trafford for José Mourinho this week, as the new Tottenham boss takes his side to his old stomping ground. For Solskjaer and United, It is a fixture that means they must deliver or a lot of things could be at stake – Solksjaer’s future for instance.
The special one is back to mix it up with the new era of Premier League rivalry. Taking up a club looking to enter an era of unprecedented success, much like the Chelsea-2004 project.
The ex-Manchester United boss has guided Spurs to three wins since returning to management, having been axed by United last December. Meanwhile, United are fresh off the back of successive league draws with Sheffield United and Aston Villa.
It’s early doors to know what to make of the Spurs-version Mourinho, whose famous pragmatism is yet to come to the fore. They have scored 10 and conceded six (two per game) in his three games as Spurs manager.
Nevertheless, what is Jose without his big-game tactics?
A close eye should be kept on the role of Moussa Sissoko or Tanguy Ndombele for this one.
Perhaps that pragmatism might not be in full flow just yet, with an off-form United there for the taking. Pertinently, the Red Devils’ best results this season have been against the top sides.
Jose, however, knows the limitations of United’s squad which is considerably weaker than when he was at the helm. The Portuguese would be keen to deny United any much-needed space on the counter.
Dele Alli is a man reborn after Mourinho demanded a version of his ‘true self’ upon arrival at Spurs. The England International has four goal involvements (three goals, one assist) in 3 games under the new boss as per Whoscored.
For United, a response is needed quickly, one Solskjaer would particularly need after more than three coaches have been released in the EPL this season alone.
United could welcome back Scott McTominay or Paul Pogba from injury as under-pressure manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer desperately needs inspiration.
The United boss has overseen inconsistent results this season, two draws and two losses in the last six in all competitions (Skysports). To best illustrate their form; it reads four wins, while draws and losses fill up the remainder of their Premier League results.
The Norwegian is beginning to feel the heat, reportedly admitting to his players that his future hinges on the next two games as reported by The Sun.
Jose, on the other hand, would be extremely motivated to get one over his former employers, and what better way to do that than compound his successor’s woes.
An away win against Tottenham was the first big result of Solskjaer’s reign, prompting “Ole’s at the wheel” narratives. How ironic is it that Jose’s first big win for Spurs (or maybe even both sides poetically) might spell the end of the road for his successor after his United tenure.
To add a further twist, Ole just might be replaced by the man whom Jose replaced at Spurs, Mauricio Pochettino. A whole lot is surely at stake in this fixture and however it plays out will play a grand role in the larger scheme of things.