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Friday 23 February 2018

Jose fumes as Reds are caught out

Tottenham Hotspur 2 Manchester United 0

Manchester United’s Alexis Sanchez (r) remonstrates with Spurs’ Dele Alli (l) during last night’s Premier League clash at Wembley
Manchester United’s Alexis Sanchez (r) remonstrates with Spurs’ Dele Alli (l) during last night’s Premier League clash at Wembley
Tottenham Hotspur’s Christian Eriksen celebrates his opening goal against Manchester United inside 11 seconds last night

Christian Eriksen scored within 11 seconds as Tottenham brushed aside a below-par Manchester United to seal a crunch 2-0 victory in the race for the top four.

Eriksen's strike, coming after four Spurs passes, is the third fastest in Premier League history, slower only than Ledley King and Alan Shearer, who both took 10 seconds to hit the net in 2000 and 2003 respectively.

A Phil Jones own-goal then put Tottenham in charge before half-time at Wembley, with United fortunate not to suffer a more emphatic defeat.

Their chaotic display was summed up by Jose Mourinho substituting Marouane Fellaini in the second half, less than eight minutes after the Belgian had been brought on.

Mauricio Pochettino's men stay fifth but have reduced the gap behind Chelsea to three points and United to five.

A pulsating contest was played out in front of a crowd of 81,978, beating the previous Premier League record set when Spurs hosted Liverpool here earlier this season.

Contribution

Alexis Sanchez was handed his league debut by Mourinho but by the end the Chilean's contribution was nothing more than a footnote.

Tottenham's own new star signing Lucas Moura was paraded on the pitch at half-time.

Four Tottenham players had touched ball before Eriksen was celebrating. Mousa Dembele laid the kick-off back to Jan Vertonghen, who launched a pass forward to Harry Kane.

Kane headed into the path of Dele Alli and a feathered flick allowed Eriksen space to finish past David de Gea. Mourinho stood stone-faced on the touchline.

A frantic beginning continued with Jesse Lingard being denied by the foot of Hugo Lloris, but it was Tottenham who looked most likely to capitalise.

Son Heung-min almost skipped past the hapless Jones when left one against one and Spurs wanted a penalty when Kieran Trippier went down under a clumsy challenge from Ashley Young.

United were not without threat as Ben Davies made an excellent challenge inside the area to thwart Anthony Martial but every time Spurs attacked they looked like they could score. One break left Alli with only Jones to beat but he neither rounded the defender nor made the pass to Son, who was free and screaming in the middle.

A second seemed inevitable, however, and it came when Trippier, left completely free out wide, fired a low cross into the near post. Jones opted against clearing with his left foot and instead with his right diverted into his own net.

United were lucky not to concede a penalty when Antonio Valencia clattered Alli in the box, saved only perhaps by the slightest of touches on the ball. Mourinho marched down the tunnel three minutes before half-time.

There was an optimistic penalty appeal when Sanchez headed against the arm of Son but otherwise the second half followed a similar pattern to the first. Eriksen brilliantly let the ball run for Kane but the striker's finish was straight at De Gea and then Kane was left fuming when Son chose to shoot instead of squaring to him in the middle.

Mourinho reacted by hauling off Fellaini, whom he had only sent on as a substitute seven minutes and 29 seconds before. Spurs fans took great delight in waving off the Belgium, who may have been forced off injured.

Alli, who had not enjoyed the most fruitful of nights, landed a petulant kick on Sanchez late on before he was also taken off by Pochettino, presumably to save the midfielder from further indiscipline.

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