Title-chasing Spurs thump Man Utd

By BBC

Tottenham maintained their Premier League title challenge with a thumping victory over Manchester United.

Having seen Leicester beat Sunderland earlier, Tottenham scored three goals in six second-half minutes to stay seven points behind the Foxes.

Dele Alli slotted in from inside the area and Toby Alderweireld headed home, before Erik Lamela’s sweet strike.

Anthony Martial drove straight at Hugo Lloris after a weaving run, to register the away side’s only shot on target.

Kick-off was delayed by half an hour as the United team bus was stuck in London traffic en route to White Hart Lane.

And they barely provided a threat in the match, taking until the 62nd minute to test goalkeeper Lloris and capitulating in the second period.

Spurs do their bit to stay in touch

Spurs had not beaten their opponents at home since 2001, a run of 14 games, while manager Mauricio Pochettino was winless in six previous games against United.

But the home side ended that sequence with a stunning passage of attacking play to stay second in the table and in touch with leaders Leicester.

There was concern among the home fans as the deadlock lasted for 70 minutes, before Alli – who turns 20 on Monday – latched on to Christian Eriksen’s pass for the opener.

Four minutes later, Alderweireld looped in a header to calm the nerves, and Argentine Lamela, who missed a header from six yards out in the first half, stroked in his 10th goal of the season.

Tottenham, who have conceded the fewest goals in the league this season (25), still need help from leaders Leicester if they are to clinch their first league title since 1961, but this deserved victory keeps their title bid alive.

Van Gaal’s tactics baffle

Having turned up to the ground late, United seemed set up to contain the opposition and finished with just five shots in the match.

Defeat means the Red Devils face a struggle to finish in the Champions League places at the end of the season, slipping four points behind rivals Manchester City, who currently occupy the crucial fourth place.

Bizarrely, Louis van Gaal decided to substitute young striker Marcus Rashford at half-time and sent on winger Ashley Young, who played as the furthest man forward for the second 45 minutes.

Young made little impression, while 18-year-old right-back Timothy Fosu-Mensah was United’s best player, defending robustly with five tackles, five interceptions and six clearances during his 68 minutes on the pitch.

Just two minutes after the Dutchman was replaced by Matteo Darmian because of injury, Tottenham broke the deadlock in a move that came from his side of the pitch.

The scoreline might have been worse for Van Gaal’s side, as goalkeeper David de Gea saved a deflected Eric Dier shot and tipped over Harry Kane’s looping header.

Man of the match – Dele Alli

What the managers said

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino:

“I think it’s true we sent a message that we are there, waiting and fighting.

“If Leicester fail we need to stay there, it’s important. Seven points is a difficult gap to reduce but we need to believe.

“The performance like today, and the result like today, showed that this team believes.”

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal:

“Tottenham is a great team and I have said that also in advance of this match. But, until the first goal, I think we were a good team who were playing good in Tottenham and we also had a big chance for a goal.

“Yes, 3-0 is a big negative result but the way that we have played until the first goal was good.”

What’s next?

Tottenham travel to Stoke in the Premier League on Monday, 18 April (kick-off 20:00 BST), while Manchester United face West Ham in their FA Cup quarter-final replay on Wednesday, 13 April (19:00 BST).

The stats you need to know:

  • Manchester United failed to produce a single shot on target in the first halves of both games against Tottenham this season
  • Erik Lamela scored and assisted in the same game for only the second time in a Premier League match, having done so against Manchester City earlier in this campaign
  • Dele Alli scored his first goal at White Hart Lane since November, when he netted against Aston Villa
  • There were just five minutes and 46 seconds between Spurs’ first and third goals
  

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