5 things we learned from Tottenham's defeat of Manchester United


Tottenham kept their Barclays Premier League title hopes alive with a thumping 3-0 victory over Manchester United.

Spurs reduced the gap behind Leicester back to seven points as three quick-fire goals from Dele Alli, Toby Alderweireld and Erik Lamela stunned the Red Devils.

Here, Tom Allnutt takes a look at five things we learned from the contest.

1. Tottenham still believe

(Matt Dunham/AP/PA)

Spurs started 10 points behind Leicester and as news of the Foxes’ win at Sunderland spread around White Hart Lane, the question was how much the relentless form of Claudio Ranieri’s side would affect the belief of the players and fans.

Tottenham’s answer was emphatic. And while Leicester’s lead may yet prove insurmountable, there was nothing here to suggest their closest rivals are ready to give up yet.

2. Eriksen the creative master

(Matt Dunham/AP/PA)

While the likes of Harry Kane, Alli, Mousa Dembele and Toby Alderweireld have taken much of the credit for Tottenham’s progress this term, the heartbeat of this team remains Christian Eriksen.

When the Dane is at his best, as he was here, he makes Spurs tick and only more consistency – both during the season and within matches – is needed for him to join Europe’s elite group of playmakers.

3. Manchester United are well off the pace

(John Walton/EMPICS Sport)

If proof was needed that Louis van Gaal’s side are still a level below what is required to challenge for the title, this was it – as Tottenham ran riot against a team that was disciplined for 70 minutes but caved in when the pressure mounted.

This was also the eighth consecutive match where United have failed to score more than one goal – and whether Champions League qualification can be secured or not, another summer of upheaval surely awaits.

4. Timothy Fosu-Mensah is a diamond in the rough

(John Walton/EMPICS Sport)

Whether Van Gaal is still manager at Old Trafford next season remains to be seen, but either way, United have the Dutchman to thank for blooding a number of talented youngsters.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah is the latest teenager to show promise and he played a superb game here at right-back, including a crucial block on Kyle Walker early on. It was no coincidence Tottenham scored all three of their goals soon after the 18-year-old went off injured.

5. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail?

(Simon Peach/PA)

Kick-off had to be put back half-an-hour at White Hart Lane as United’s team bus got stuck in traffic and arrived more than an hour late. Van Gaal’s players started warming up just 25 minutes before the start, but it was Spurs who were far more sluggish early on.

The visitors, meanwhile, flew out of the blocks before capitulating later on. Who needs a warm-up anyway?