Ralf Rangnick reminded the Manchester United players of how ‘gutted’ they felt at their 4-1 humbling by Manchester City in his team talk prior to their win over Tottenham.
United recovered from their embarrassing derby defeat with an uplifting 3-2 victory over Spurs to return to fourth in the Premier League table as Cristiano Ronaldo scored the 49th hat-trick of his career.
Arsenal could leapfrog United again if they beat Leicester on Sunday in what is the first of four games in hand. Arsenal’s other games in hand are against Chelsea, Spurs and Liverpool.
United suffered their second league defeat under Rangnick at City and the visit of Spurs was their last domestic match for three weeks due to their elimination from the FA Cup.
Rangnick stressed to the United players they had the ‘best possible’ venue and opponent to react to the thrashing by City.
“Before we left the locker room, before kick-off, I said to the team everybody was gutted, frustrated, disappointed in the locker room after the derby at the Etihad,” Rangnick said. “Today was the best possible day, the best possible venue, the best possible opponent in front of 75,000 to show the reaction we needed to show.
“That was the only answer we could give after that game. You can lose against Manchester City, no doubt about that, after teams lose there, but the way we played there in the second-half was not Manchester United like and that was the kind of reaction we needed to show.”