© Provided by Yahoo! SportsAlmost a year after being fired by Manchester United, Jose Mourinho retuned to Old Trafford Wednesday as manager of Tottenham Hotspur. (Reuters/Andrew Yates)
Not only is Jose Mourinho's winning start at Tottenham Hotspur officially over, the Portuguese manager's first Spurs defeat came Wednesday in probably the worst place possible for him - at Old Trafford against Manchester United, the club that fired him one year ago this month.
Spurs had won each of its two previous Premier League games under Mourinho, who replaced longtime boss Mauricio Pochettino last month. They also came back to beat Greek side Olympiacos last week in the Champions League, a run of three consecutive victories that had turned Spurs fortunes around after a five-match winless streak in the Prem ended Pochettino's five-plus year rein.
Marcus Rashford scored both goals for the Red Devils, much to the delight of the home fans. The English striker clashed with Mourinho at times during the latter's two-plus seasons in Manchester, and heading into the midweek contest, there was a sense that the 22-year-old had a point to prove to his former boss.
Apparently he wasn't alone. The hosts were all over Spurs early, and it took just over five minutes for Rashford to open the scoring with a blistering low drive that beat keeper Paulo Gazzaniga inside his near post:
If Gazzaniga was at all at fault, the inured Hugo Lloris' understudy more than redeemed himself when he prevented Rashford from doubling Man United's advantage, touching another rocket of a shot onto the crossbar.
And when Dele Alli equalized for the visitors after a sublime piece of skill to beat a pair of defenders - a goal that correctly stood after video review for a foul - it looked like Mourinho's squad might salvage a point at leas from the trip south.
Truth be told, Spurs probably deserved one. For while United's performance was among its best during this difficult first full season under club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, only a soft - let's call it what it was - penalty on Rashford allowed the home team and its embattled manager to escape with the three points they (and he) so desperately needed. There was little doubt about the outcome of the spot-kick when Rashford himself stepped up to take it:
Wednesday's defeat drops Tottenham two spots in the Prem table, to eighth, with Burnley scheduled to visit on Saturday. Meantime, Manchester United leaped all the way from 10th to sixth on the strength of just its third triumph in six league outings.
It won't get easier for United from here, though, with Solskjaer and Co. set to travel to crosstown rival and defending Premier League champ Man City on Saturday.