Sim­ply debest

Ole hails match-win­ner David TOT­TEN­HAM 0 MAN UNITED 1

Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - FRONT PAGE - BY JOHN CROSS Chief Foot­ball Writer @john­cross­mir­ror

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

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