Win over Spurs makes it six in a row for new Man Utd boss

The Guardian - - FRONT PAGE - David Hyt­ner

David de Gea said the Premier League was now see­ing “the real Manch­ester United” after they won 1-0 at Tot­ten­ham to ex­tend Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer’s per­fect start to his time as the club’s care­taker man­ager.

De Gea was United’s hero, mak­ing 11 saves – the most he has made in a top-flight league game – with some of them tak­ing the breath and the wind from Spurs’ sails. Sol­sk­jaer has won all six of his matches since he stepped in for the sacked José Mour­inho.

It was an af­ter­noon of mis­for­tune for Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino, the Spurs man­ager, who has been heav­ily linked with a move to United at the end of the sea­son, when Sol­sk­jaer’s short-term con­tract is due to ex­pire.

Harry Kane suf­fered a twisted an­kle after a tackle from Phil Jones in what was the last ac­tion of the game while Moussa Sis­soko had ear­lier left with a groin prob­lem. The sever­ity of Kane’s in­jury is un­clear at present but the tim­ing is far from ideal, with Son He­ung­min now de­part­ing for the Asia Cup.

For United Paul Pogba con­tin­ued his swash­buck­ling form – he set up the 45th-minute win­ner for Mar­cus Rash­ford with a beau­ti­fully weighted pass – and,

al­though they came to rely on De Gea, there was fur­ther ev­i­dence of a re­turn to their tra­di­tions of fast, at­tack­ing foot­ball, par­tic­u­larly in the first half.

De Gea said: “The man­ager brought some hap­pi­ness, the play­ers are play­ing well and the team is very strong now. This is the real Manch­ester United. We won the game against a top team, we con­trolled the first half but in the sec­ond half they had chances. I don’t even re­mem­ber some of the saves so I can’t pick a best.”

Sol­sk­jaer has de­scribed De Gea on more than one oc­ca­sion as the best goal­keeper in the world and he added a twist to hy­per­bole here. “There have been some great keepers at this club and he is chal­leng­ing Ed­win [Van Der Sar] and Peter [Sch­me­ichel] for the No 1 spot his­tor­i­cally. There were one or two fan­tas­tic ones and the rest were just about con­cen­tra­tion. The team spirit is fan­tas­tic and, se­condly, we’ve shown we can de­fend to­day.”

Sol­sk­jaer and Po­chet­tino both stressed that the ques­tion of the per­ma­nent man­age­rial po­si­tion at Old Traf­ford was not some­thing they wanted to dis­cuss. Po­chet­tino was dis­ap­pointed that a driv­ing per­for­mance had yielded noth­ing – he said the sec­ond 45 min­utes was the finest foot­ball of his four-and-a-half-year ten­ure at the club – and he was con­cerned about Kane, who has a his­tory of an­kle prob­lems.

“My worry is that it was a bad tackle in the last mo­ment,” Po­chet­tino said. “It wasn’t the in­ten­tion of the United player but it was a bad tackle and now he has bit of a swelling on his an­kle and he was limp­ing after the game. We are go­ing to lose Son for the Asia Cup and, if Harry suf­fers an in­jury, it is go­ing to be mas­sive for us.”

Pogba, who had fallen out with Mour­inho, has been re­vi­talised un­der Sol­sk­jaer. “I am en­joy­ing my foot­ball now,” Pogba said. “I like to be more at­tack­ing. I had to de­fend too much be­fore and that is not my best at­tribute. This is my po­si­tion. The man­ager tells me to get into the box and score goals. The best ex­am­ple is Frank Lam­pard.”


▲ David de Gea cel­e­brates Manch­ester United’s vic­tory at Spurs after a match-win­ning dis­play in which he made 11 saves

▲ Harry Kane twisted his an­kle late on to add to Spurs’ in­jury prob­lems

▲ Paul Pogba con­tin­ued his re­cent up­turn in form with a su­perb dis­play

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