Kane limps off as Spurs are frustrated by Man United’s de Gea
Worrying injury for striker as Mauricio Pochettino's title charge is derailed by defeat at Wembley
13 January, 2019 — By Dan Carrier at Wembley
MANCHESTER UNITED 1 (Rashford 44)
SPURS saw their fine league form come to a shuddering stop this afternoon (Sunday) when the Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer express came to Wembley – and derailed Mauricio Pochettino’s title charge.
Manchester United, with a straight record of five victories since the former United striker took over from Jose Mourinho in December, won by a solitary goal in a game that saw Spurs dominate. Yet despite creating the lion’s share of chances, Pochettino’s players were unable to find a way past the excellent David de Gea in the United goal.
Speaking after the match, Pochettino said the United keeper was man of the match and that this spoke volumes.
He said: “The performance, I was happy with. Over the last 45 we did well, we created enough chances to win the game – there were 11 saves from de Gea in the second period.”
He added he was happier with his players’ efforts today than when his side beat United 3-0 at Old Trafford earlier in the season and highlighted how the game hinged on an injury to Moussa Sissoko in the dying moments of the first half.
Speaking of the reshuffle he was forced into after the midfielder limped off, he said: “We did not organise ourselves quickly enough and it was then we conceded the goal.”
Tottenham’s recent home record hosting United was good, having won the last four encounters, and, but for de Gea and a lack of clinical finishing, it surely would have been a home win.
Yet compared to previous recent meetings, the Solskjaer effect showed United could be more adventurous when they had the ball and, under the interim manager, United looked more organised defensively. Spurs found themselves often floundering against a solid red wall, yet the sheer weight of chances created would have surely been enough on any other afternoon to be a goal bonanza.
The mood was set early on when Harry Kane rolled a shot narrowly wide after a flowing Spurs move that was instigated by Harry Winks. Kane then had a shot blocked, and another finish ruled offside when he tucked home from close range. Christian Eriksen looked to find his range with a couple of potshots, Dele Alli had an effort charged down and Winks banged efforts over the bar twice from good positions.
The goal came from misfortune. Spurs were forced into a change just before half-time when the excellent Sissoko, who had kept Pogba extremely quiet, went off with a groin injury. Moments later, a sloppy pass by Trippier was exploited by Pogba. In space, he took his time to play in Rashford and the United forward calmly finished from a narrow angle. As Pochettino said afterwards, it was telling that the goal came soon after Sissoko had limped away from the action, as up to this point he had been all over Pogba in the midfield.
Spurs came quickly out of the blocks in the second half, with Kane again testing de Gea early on. The United keeper set the tone for the next 45 when he stopped the England striker’s goalbound effort with his feet. Moments later, Alli placed a header in a corner that the United man also did well to get to.
Alli was perhaps guilty of dithering when he was presented with the game’s best chance on 65: he broke free, carried the ball 40 yards and drew de Gea, but the keeper was wise to his effort and blocked it with his knees.
By then it had become a game of attack against defence. De Gea, who after the match Solsjkaer described as “the best in the world”, made decent save after decent save as Spurs threw everything forward to get back in the game. Kane was foiled twice more, sub Fernando Llorente saw his cheeky poked effort gathered and Toby Alderweireld nearly equalised from close range from an Erik Lamela corner.
In a last, late push from Spurs, Kane ended up in a tangle and stayed down until after the referee blew up. He limped off slowly, his afternoon’s toil somehow fitting with Tottenham’s whole demeanour.
It was a worrying end to a hugely disappointing afternoon.
Spurs: Lloris, Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Son, Winks (Llorente, 80), Kane, Sissoko (Lamela, 42), Alli, Eriksen, Davies.
Subs: Gazzaniga, Rose, Sanchez, Lloretnte, Foyth, Skipp.
Manchester United: de Gea, Lindelof, Jones, Pogba (McTominay, 90) Rashford, Martial (Lukaku, 72), Lingard (Dalot, 82), Young, Herrera, Shaw, Matic.
Subs: Romero, Mata, Pereira, Fred, Dalot.