Spurs stun United at Wembley and now have eyes on overtaking Chelsea
Well that was impressive.
And not just because it took Spurs a mere 11 seconds to seize control of the match – the time it took for Christian Eriksen to fire them in front.
But down in the unglamorous bowels of Wembley Stadium, Mauricio Pochettino seemed almost to downplay his side’s hugely impressive victory over Manchester United.
There was no hint of any triumphalism from the Tottenham manager, who even bridled at suggestions that his side needed this kind of win to prove they can rise to the occasion against the top sides in the Premier League. “Our record is good, I think,” he said.
It was as if he was saying: ‘Well what do you expect?’
Yet this was clearly no routine performance. It was right up there with the brilliant swatting aside of Real Madrid in the Champions League earlier in the season. Brimming with confidence and desire.
The only slight disappointment was that there were no further goals after the break and that it ended 2-0. David de Gea was peppered with shots by the rampant hosts, whose early-season malaise in the wide-open spaces of Wembley seems a distant memory.
So dominant were Spurs with their passing and movement, pace and verve, that Jose Mourinho’s outfit were left looking like an undercooked set of bystanders – nowhere near the sum of those very expensive parts.
England duo Chris Smalling and Phil Jones were bullied all night long by Harry Kane, who for once did not get on the scoresheet, but panicked United into conceding an own goal and won the header from which Eriksen fired Spurs into the lead.
Alexis Sanchez – on his first return to the capital in a United shirt, faded into obscurity as Kieran Trippier tied up the right flank, while Paul Pogba lumbered around, barely able to lay a glove on midfield powerhouse Mousa Dembele.
If they could somehow replicate nights like this every week, there is no doubt Spurs would be medal contenders.
Was it the best league performance of the season? , Pochettino was asked.
“I don’t know if it was the best,” he said. “The performance was fantastic. It was great. So I’m pleased with that. The players deserve full credit. It was one of the best.”
“The most important thing now is to keep going, be consistent. It’s not easy to keep this type of performance, because we are going to play every three or four days and we are going to need the whole squad and maybe rotate.
“I think we played many games like this – against Real Madrid, Liverpool. Of course against Man United, a great team, to dominate and not concede a goal, the team deserve a lot of praise.”
It sounded almost like faint praise. But Spurs fans know what they saw.
Tottenham: Lloris – Trippier, Sanchez, Davies – Dier – Eriksen, Dembele (Wanyama 90), Alli (Sissoko 87), Son (Lamela 80) – Kane. Subs not used: Vorm, Rose, Llorente, Walker-Peters