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Fri 19 June 2020, 23:29|Tottenham Hotspur

Jose Mourinho said the players ‘gave everything’ as our return to action ended in a 1-1 draw against Manchester United in the Premier League on Friday night.

After a break of 102 days, we took to the pitch in front of an empty stadium, our fans instead represented by numerous flags – the ‘new reality’ as Jose recently described it, as the country continues to combat the coronavirus.

Harry Kane, Moussa Sissoko and Heung-Min Son all started having recovered from surgery yet it was another player back from injury, Steven Bergwijn, who damaged his ankle last time out in the Premier League at Burnley on 7 March, who would make the biggest impact in the first half.

‘Stevie Wonder’ made his presence felt again against a Manchester club having memorably marked his debut with a fine strike against City in February. This time, he blew a hole in United’s back line before firing us into the lead on 27 minutes.

It was a lead we held until nine minutes from time, when Eric Dier was judged to have nudged over Paul Pogba in the box and Bruno Fernandes slotted home from the penalty spot. In-between, both goalkeepers made fine saves, David de Gea to tip over Son’s header, Hugo Lloris to deny Anthony Martial.

Jose hinted before the game that a point wouldn’t be the end of the world, and that was the case as we stay four points adrift of United in fifth with eight games to go.

“The players gave everything,” he said. “Harry, for six months he didn’t play a game, played for 90 minutes, gave absolutely everything. Sonny, not six months but maybe four, Moussa as well, and they come, they play and play for 90 minutes. Gio (Lo Celso), he trained once with us, once with the team, but came here available to play.

“Everyone was, in my opinion, fantastic in their effort. I’m very proud of them during the lockdown period, the work they did, and also today, everything they tried. It’s not the result we wanted, but it’s not the result that kills our ambition and our desire to fight until the end.”

It’s not the result we wanted, but it’s not the result that kills our ambition and our desire to fight until the end.

Jose Mourinho

As for the game, Jose added: “I thought we were very, very good, strong, fresh in our attacking units, and then in the last 20 minutes when they started making their changes and pushing a bit more… I didn’t have on the bench Lucas and Dele, or if they’d started, Son or Lamela or Bergwijn, so for us it was difficult. We wanted to press like we did in the first half and our four attacking players, they were a little bit in trouble. Even so, the team fought in the last 20 minutes. The team was very compact and only a very strange penalty gave them a goal.”

Finally, how was the behind-closed-doors experience? “I think I prepared myself very well, I tried to prepare the players also, we spoke many times about this, spoke many times about instead of thinking about the people not here, thinking about the desire of the people to be here and try to play for all of them.

“I think we managed to play a proper game. I would imagine with fans, I would imagine with more matches before this, the game would be different, but I thought it was a good game in the end.”