Man U keeper sticks it to Spurs

The London Free Press - - SPORTS -

LON­DON — There were too many saves for Manch­ester United goal­keeper David de Gea to even re­mem­ber.

Ev­ery­one else was cer­tainly count­ing: Eleven. The most by any goal­keeper in an English Premier League match this sea­son. And they were all in the sec­ond half to thwart a Tot­ten­ham come­back.

The Spaniard’s vir­tu­oso goal keep­ing pro­tected a 1-0 vic­tory Sun­day after Mar­cus Rash­ford’s first-half strike, giv­ing United a sixth suc­ces­sive vic­tory in all com­pe­ti­tions since Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer re­placed Jose Mour­inho.

“I said to David at half­time, ‘You might have to make a save here, you have to keep your con­cen­tra­tion,’ ” Sol­sk­jaer said. “He didn’t have to keep his con­cen­tra­tion be­cause he was never al­lowed to re­lax. He is a fan­tas­tic goal­keeper. I think he’s the best in the world.”

Few would dis­pute that on Sun­day as de Gea was mas­ter­ful with his hands and feet — par­tic­u­larly frus­trat­ing ef­forts by Harry Kane and Dele Alli to equal­ize.

“I don’t even re­mem­ber some of them,” de Gea said, when asked for his favourite save.

Rash­ford helped out his team­mate.

“The near-post save from the cor­ner was the best one,” the striker said, along­side de Gea.

That was in the 70th minute when Chris­tian Erik­sen’s cor­ner was turned in at the near post by Toby Alder­weireld and de Gea’s in­stinc­tive re­ac­tion saw the ball cleared with his left foot.

“De Gea was un­be­liev­able and all credit to him,” Tot­ten­ham man­ager Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino said. “We weren’t clin­i­cal. And some­times with less op­por­tu­ni­ties you score, but there’s no com­plaints.”

The only goal came in the 44th minute at Wem­b­ley Sta­dium after Tot­ten­ham de­fender Kieran Trip­pier gave the ball away. Paul Pogba sent a long, high di­ag­o­nal pass to Rash­ford, who con­trolled the ball with one touch and then sent it low be­yond goal­keeper Hugo Lloris.

By pass­ing his first sig­nif­i­cant test, Sol­sk­jaer strength­ened his bid to keep the man­ager’s job. In par­tic­u­lar he got the bet­ter of Po­chet­tino, who has been con­sid­ered the favourite as Mour­inho’s per­ma­nent suc­ces­sor.

Al­though still third in the stand­ings, Tot­ten­ham has lost back-to­back league home games and top­scorer Harry Kane limped off at the end. United is yet to rise from sixth un­der Sol­sk­jaer but is now only be­hind Arse­nal on goal dif­fer­ence and six points adrift of Chelsea in the fourth and fi­nal Cham­pi­ons League place.

Else­where, Kurt Zouma scored his first Ever­ton goal in a 2-0 vic­tory over Bournemouth, giv­ing the Mersey­side club only its sec­ond win in nine league matches. Zouma, on loan from Chelsea, headed in from Lu­cas Digne’s cross in the 61st minute.

Ever­ton is 10th, three points ahead of Bournemouth, which has lost nine of its last 12 league games.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Manch­ester United goal­keeper David de Gea gets his foot out to stop a shot by Tot­ten­ham’s Harry Kane, right, dur­ing the English Premier League soc­cer match at Wem­b­ley sta­dium in Lon­don on Sun­day.

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