Jose Mourinho hailed Manchester United under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, admitting they were “much better” than Tottenham for long periods of their 2-1 win.

Two goals from Marcus Rashford eased the pressure on Solskjaer at the start of a make-or-break week for the Norwegian.

Mourinho – on his first return to Old Trafford as a manager since being sacked by United last year – was expected to push his successor closer to the brink.

But instead, he suffered defeat for the first time as Spurs manager – and admitted his side were blown away by United’s flying start.

“For 30 minutes they were not just better than us they were much better than us,” he said. “They were better in the intensity, in the aggression, they were winning first balls, second balls, 50-50 duels, but we were lucky and then in the last 15 mins of the first half we were us.

“United were in trouble and we scored and I thought in the second half with some adjustments we did at half time, I thought we were going to win it.”

Rashford opened the scoring in the sixth minute, but Dele Alli equalised just before half time.​ Moussa Sissoko then brought Rashford down in the box five minutes into the second half, with the United forward converting the penalty.

Victory moved Solskjaer’s side up to sixth place and maintained their impressive run against the big clubs. They are undefeated in four games against the top five this season, with Manchester City coming up on Saturday.

Mourinho believes they are perfectly set up for those games.

He added: “You look to United results this season against the best teams, they had good results. I think at home when they play like they did against Chelsea, Liverpool, Leicester, also a great team this season, they always had this kind of attitude.

“I think it’s easier for them, the way they play. They are not afraid to be with a defensive approach, they are not afraid to be at home, to take their time, to be in control of the emotions of the game.

“Then lots of young people with lots of energy and good mentality and when they are winning matches they are comfortable in this situation of low block and a giant dominating in the air and being fast in counter-attack with Marcus, with (Daniel) James, with Jesse (Lingard), with (Anthony) Martial when he plays.

“The way they play is easier for them when they play against teams that are better teams, teams that want more of the ball, to have the initiative of the game. I think they did well.” The home for trending sports news.