Young double gives Man United 3-1 win at Tottenham
Ashley Young scored twice as Manchester United withstood a
gritty Tottenham side to win 3-1 on Sunday, effectively knocking
the hosts out of the Premier League title race while keeping the
heat on leader Manchester City.
Despite Tottenham controlling the first half, Wayne Rooney put
United in front with his 23rd goal of the season against the run of
play in the final minute.
And Young’s double after the break ensured the defending
champions surged 11 points clear of third-place Tottenham and sit
two points behind City.
”In the first half we were not at our best,” Young said. ”All
the players knew we weren’t playing to full potential, our passing
game wasn’t on form. We were lucky to go in 1-0 up and we kicked on
As United soaked up sustained pressure in the first half,
Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor was aggrieved after having a
goal ruled out after the ball struck him on the arm while standing
virtually on the line.
”It was a great performance by Tottenham and maybe we got our
tactics wrong in the first half,” United manager Alex Ferguson
said. ”In the second half we improved, we told them at halftime to
get pushed up on their back four and not let them build up their
play. After the second goal, we played very well.”
Ferguson, however, conceded that the result was ”unfair on
Tottenham – no question about that.”
Jermain Defoe’s 87th-minute goal was scant consolation for
Spurs, who lost at White Hart Lane for the first time since Man
City won 5-1 in August.
”(United) rode their luck; they did very little,” Tottenham
manager Harry Redknapp said. ”We dominated them and were better
than them for most of the game … I go home at night and I am
suicidal when we get beat, but I couldn’t go home tonight and be
Amid continued uncertainty about the future of Redknapp, who is
the leading contender to become England coach, Tottenham’s lead
over fourth-place Arsenal has been cut from 10 to four points –
including a 5-2 collapse against its neighbor last weekend.
While Rooney and Young both returned from injury for United,
Tottenham had to cope without Rafael van der Vaart, Gareth Bale and
In the first half, Jake Livermore and Sandro ensured Tottenham
controlled the midfield and subdued the influence of Paul Scholes
and Michael Carrick for United.
”Really there was only one team who should have been in front
at halftime, and we came in 1-0 down,” Redknapp said.
Tottenham had been denied the opening goal when Louis Saha’s
shot straight at Adebayor, who used his arm to control the ball
before backheeling it into the net.
With Tottenham fans still annoyed with referee Martin Atkinson,
Rooney grabbed United’s opener just before the break after sneaking
in front of Tottenham defender Kyle Walker to head in Young’s
Although Livermore tested United goalkeeper David de Gea early
in the second half, Younes Kaboul headed wide and Benoit
Assou-Ekotto struck a free kick just over the crossbar, the
visitors still managed to extend their lead.
Spurs switched off when Phil Jones took a throw-in and Nani took
full advantage of Luka Modric’s mishap, taking the ball into the
penalty before finding Young with a deflected cross that he
volleyed into the net.
United was gradually becoming more assertive and Young found the
target again when he curled a 25-yard (meter) shot beyond Friedel
in the 69th minute.
”We showed a determination to get the result, we dug in and
defended well,” Ferguson said.
Tottenham hasn’t beaten United for 11 years and is now unlikely
to win its first English league title since 1961
Rob Harris can be reached at www.twitter.com/RobHarrisUK