Tottenham Hotspur scored three times in six second-half minutes to inflict a chastening 3-0 defeat on Manchester United, leaving the Reds four points shy of the Barclays Premier League top four.
Dele Alli, Toby Alderweireld and Erik Lamela scored the quickfire goals that secured Spurs’ first win over United at White Hart Lane in 15 matches, since a 3-1 win in May 2001. The result means qualification to next season’s UEFA Champions League looks out of reach for Louis van Gaal’s men with only six top-flight matches left to play this season.
Kick-off at White Hart Lane was delayed by 30 minutes due to United’s team bus being stuck in traffic and that meant the Reds had to complete a much shorter warm-up than normal, although that didn’t appear to make an impact in the opening exchanges of the first half, when van Gaal’s men controlled much of the ball and registered shots at goal through Jesse Lingard and Tim Fosu-Mensah, the powerful Dutch youngster who was recalled to the XI in place of Matteo Darmian.
Spurs had to win the game following Leicester City’s 2-0 win at Sunderland earlier in the day and they began to show their quality as the half ticked on, with an offside Harry Kane forcing a point-blank save from David De Gea and Christian Eriksen curling wide, before Erik Lamela spurned an excellent chance when his free header flew wide of the back post before the half-hour mark.
Ahead of Sunday’s game, Tottenham boasted the Premier League’s best defensive record in terms of goals conceded (25) and United were also top of the division’s clean sheets table with 15, so it was perhaps not overly surprising that the score remained goalless following a competitive first half.