Ole hails match-winner David TOTTENHAM 0 MAN UNITED 1
IT was an incredible oneman performance.
Forget all the talk about managers and auditions. This was all about David De Gea proving once again he is the best keeper in the world.
Tottenham could have played all night and not scored as, thanks to an inspirational keeper, Manchester United pulled off a remarkable victory to prove they are well and truly back.
The United players took it in turns to hug De Gea after the final whistle, caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer high-fived everyone, and the jubilant away fans saluted their heroes.
That is six straight wins for Solskjaer, whose rejuvenated side are now just six points off the top four. On this sort of form they must have Chelsea and the Champions League places well within their sights.
But the best bit about United is that they are fun again.
Gone is the dour, boring approach of Jose Mourinho. Now, at last, the players have a smile on their faces.
Solskjaer has reinvigorated United by getting the players to believe in themselves again and to express themselves again.
Under Mourinho those same players were inhibited, insecure, and afraid.
United’s goal typified the new regime. Jesse Lingard robbed Kieran Trippier and, when Paul Pogba sprayed the pass of the season to release Marcus Rashford, the England striker, stifled under Mourinho, raced clear to smash home a stunning finish.
This was the United of old and, with Sir Alex Ferguson looking on from the stands at Wembley, it revived memories of the days this fixture was one of the most exciting in any season.
Tottenham more than played their part as De Gea was forced into a staggering 11 saves, the best with his feet.
The pick of the bunch was a stop from
Toby Alderweireld at his near post.
But Solskjaer also showed that he can surely turn the caretaker role into a more permanent appointment. Six successive wins is some job interview. Mauricio Pochettino is supposedly United’s first choice, but he is running into problems just when Solskjaer’s star is rising.
De Gea was superb yet the Spurs players, Harry Kane and Dele Alli in particular, should be kicking themselves for wasting such glorious opportunities.
And it gets worse for the Londoners. Heung-min Son now reports for international duty with South Korea in the Asian Cup while Kane may face a spell on the sidelines after hobbling off near the end. An injury to their star striker could not have come at a worse time. Tottenham have fallen away in the title race just when they needed to keep the pressure on the front two.
Pogba bossed midfield while Rashford (left), Lingard and Anthony Martial all went close for United, who were excellent in the first half while Spurs struggled to find their rhythm.
England captain Kane was unusually quiet and then Moussa Sissoko hobbled off to cause further disruption.
The United goal was worthy of winning any game.
Lingard closed down Spurs right-back Trippier, Pogba’s stunning long-range pass released Rashford down the right, and his pace took him clear before his low cross shot
beat Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris, who should have done better.
Then came the one-man show of defiance from De Gea.
The Spaniard started it with a brilliant stop with his legs to deny Kane and then he thwarted Kane, again, and Alli with breathtaking saves. But his best came after 70 minutes when Tottenham took a short corner.
Christian Eriksen put in a low cross and, from Alderweireld’s near-post shot, De Gea produced a stunning reflex stop.
United’s defending became increasingly desperate but they somehow held on.
Make no mistake. This was a heroic win but also the sort of victory which will make Solskjaer a serious contender to be the main man at Old Trafford.
De Gea in action, preserving United’s clean sheet against Spurs