Manchester United’s win over Tottenham was a game that had the whole lot – a number of attacking soccer, two wonderful groups, some excellent people, and a captivating tactical battle between the managers.
United’s interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gained that exact contest within the first half and I could inform by the best way that he and the remainder of his bench celebrated Marcus Rashford’s goal collectively that it was all the way down to the work that they had accomplished before the match.
I recognise that response as a result of I had Sir Alex Ferguson as a supervisor, so this stuff occurred rather a lot throughout my time at United. Sir Alex knew how games would pan out as a result of he would determine weaknesses within the opposition, and he knew find out how to exploit them.
Solskjaer did the identical at Wembley. He had a masterplan that got here collectively, and in the end it won United the game.
The second half was very totally different – Spurs created numerous chances and if it wasn’t for United keeper David de Gea then they’d in all probability have equalised, if not taken all three factors.
But United held on for what was a particular win, and moments like this may solely make the United players imagine in Solskjaer much more.
I’ve heard all about how he has lifted morale since taking cost, which is nice, however seeing his techniques come to fruition will make his relationship together with his players even stronger.
United’s goal was made on the coaching floor
United’s form was the important thing to them controlling the game before half-time, as a result of the best way Tottenham tried to play suited how Solskjaer had set his facet up.
Spurs normally wish to pin your wingers again by sending their full-backs up the pitch, after which they dominate midfield as a result of they outnumber you.
But Solskjaer didn’t allow them to do this on Sunday. Instead, he allowed Ben Davies and Kieran Trippier to return on to United’s full-backs and informed his forwards to remain excessive and extensive.
That gave Tottenham’s centre-halves large issues as a result of it left enormous areas both facet of them for the tempo of Rashford and Anthony Martial to use.
In midfield, United had Jesse Lingard on the high of a diamond to place stress on Spurs’ holding midfielder Harry Winks and stop balls into him or Christian Eriksen.
As quickly as United gained the ball again, they all the time bought it ahead into the channels rapidly as a result of Rashford and Martial would virtually all the time be in one-on-one conditions.
That is strictly how United’s goal happened. They wanted a player with the technical capability of Paul Pogba to make the unbelievable go that set Rashford up, however the transfer was made on the coaching floor and thru the work they did final week.
Lingard blocked Trippier’s go inside and gave it to Pogba, who knew Rashford can be making that run. Equally, Rashford knew the go was coming. He took a improbable first contact – and located the underside nook.
The gameplan labored, and it was executed completely.
Hard work sees United over the road
Both groups modified to a 4-2-3-1 formation within the second half, which was a far harder interval from United’s perspective – they had been hanging on at instances.
I feel Spurs had been expecting United to stay with their diamond after the break, in order that they put players out extensive to go two on one against United’s full-backs to attempt to overload them.
I’m not certain whether or not United recognised it right away or if that they had deliberate to alter anyhow, however they tried to fight that by matching Spurs’ form.
It wouldn’t have labored if United had stayed with their diamond as a result of the areas that Rashford and Martial had been having fun with before half-time had been not there – the Tottenham full-backs weren’t bombing on any extra as a result of that they had wingers outdoors them.
However, Spurs nonetheless went on to dominate the game as a result of 4-2-3-1 was a formation their players had been in all probability extra suited to, and in addition as a result of United had used up numerous power.
If you might be keen to let two players keep ahead like they did with Rashford and Martial, then it means solely eight males are defending and finally it’s going to meet up with you.
United had been dropping deeper and deeper, however though they had been tiring they continued to work extraordinarily laborious and each member of their team performed their half in holding out.
Cool and calm – De Gea retains his composure
I used to be significantly impressed by Ander Herrera, who began out on the proper of their midfield diamond however had a really totally different position within the second half, subsequent to Nemanja Matic as a defensive midfielder.
Quite a lot of his work went unseen, when he was monitoring players and staying with runners, however each time he bought on the ball he confirmed nice composure and he hardly ever wasted a go.
Victor Lindelof stood out too, not just together with his willpower however together with his communication and the best way he organised the remainder of the United defence.
It was the first time I’ve seen him act like an actual chief, and he appears to be like like a player who has been given the boldness by his supervisor to be the team’s voice on the again, which goes to be large for United going ahead.
As nicely because the outfield players carried out, they’d not have gained the game if not for De Gea’s brilliance behind them.
He is clearly a improbable goalkeeper however I do know from enjoying alongside him that his greatest energy is his temperament.
His composure is wonderful and he all the time remains cool and calm – he doesn’t get too excited when he makes a improbable save, and he doesn’t let it have an effect on him when he makes the odd mistake.
Whatever occurs, David has a degree of perception in himself and he all the time retains that constant. He is the perfect goalkeeper on the planet.
What subsequent? PSG tie on the horizon
|Man Utd’s subsequent 5 games|
|Saturday, 19 January||Brighton (h)||Premier League|
|Friday, 25 January||Arsenal (a)||FA Cup|
|Tuesday, 29 January||Burnley (h)||Premier League|
|Sunday, 03 February||Leicester (a)||Premier League|
|Saturday, 09 February||Fulham (a)||Premier League|
|Tuesday, 12 February||Paris St-Germain (h)||Champions League|
This was a improbable consequence for United and so they have now gained six games out of six under Solskjaer.
Unfairly, some folks just thought he would are available and make the players smile. They additionally expected him to win his first few games in cost before this one, as a result of they weren’t against any of the highest sides.
But the Premier League is hard and you can’t win games by just telling your players to exit and luxuriate in themselves.
People may have a look at Solskjaer’s tactical enter against Spurs greater than they did against, say Huddersfield, however he needed to have a plan in that game too.
He has handed each check to date and the subsequent few weeks will give him the chance to proceed his run.
There are some robust games developing within the league and FA Cup however United have gotten the possibility to construct some momentum before they play Paris St-Germain within the Champions League final 16 on 12 February.
Solskjaer has nonetheless bought a battle on his palms to complete within the high 4 however they’re already in a a lot better place than when he took over.
He will even be considering they’ll win the FA Cup, and that something is feasible in Europe. That is the mindset he might be placing into his players – and confidence will certainly not be a difficulty for them.
Darren Fletcher was chatting with BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.