Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has said his players need more time to settle into the season after the World Cup.
United’s preparations for the new campaign were hampered by the summer tournament, with many of Mourinho’s players missing the entirety of the Reds’ pre-season tour of the United States as a result of their involvement in Russia. Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard were among the players to miss United’s entire pre-season schedule and Mourinho believes his players will need extra time to bed into the new campaign as a result. “When you have a good week when you train really well, things are positive, you expect good individual performances. You don’t expect mistakes and you expect a good result, not a defeat,” Mourinho said, reflecting on last weekend’s defeat by Brighton.
“Normally when you lose you want to play immediately and two days after that was not the case. But I am happy that was not the case because at this moment we need some time.
“We need players to be back, we need players to train more to have a kind of pre-season after the pre-season that they didn’t have after the World Cup.” United welcome Spurs to Old Trafford tonight and Mourinho knows how much of a threat Mauricio Pochettino’s side will pose, despite United’s good record against the north Londoners last term. “It is a big game against a good opponent, an opponent that last season, in all the three matches we played, they were difficult matches in spite of [the fact] we won two of them,” Mourinho said.
“It [the FA Cup semi-final] was a good performance, away from home where everybody was expecting us to lose the match. We didn’t start well and conceded an early goal and after that we had the quality and the mentality to change the result, to be dominant in the second half and it was a really good performance. “We know what a good team they are and we know that they come here with their objectives. Big match but no need to work much on the motivational level because we have a natural motivation to play against the good teams.”