United 3-0 Spurs
Report from Old Trafford
15 March 2015|Tottenham Hotspur
Three goals inside the opening 35 minutes consigned us to defeat at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Marouane Fellaini opened the scoring on nine minutes, Michael Carrick doubled the lead on 19 and Wayne Rooney left us with a mountain to climb on 34.
We stuck to our task in the second half but chances were few and far between – the well-marshalled Harry Kane’s first sight at goal coming in the 89th minute when he was denied by David De Gea.
Mauricio Pochettino made one change from last week’s win at QPR with Danny Rose in for Ben Davies at left-back.
We had an early chance when United defender Phil Jones overcooked a back-pass to his goalkeeper De Gea with the Spaniard scrambling to put it behind for a corner. Andros Townsend whipped in the delivery from the resultant set play which caused all manner of problems before the home defence managed to scramble it clear.
Things soon turned against us though as the home side grabbed the lead. Carrick spotted the run of Fellaini and weighted a ball perfectly into his path in the left channel. Despite the angle looking against him, the Belgian hit a perfect shot across Hugo Lloris and into the bottom corner.
The home side came into the game on the back of a disappointing defeat against Arsenal but looked in good shape as the half unravelled, controlling the tempo and dominating possession.
Things got worse 10 minutes later when Louis van Gaal’s side doubled their lead. Juan Mata’s corner was met by Fellaini who headed towards goal, only for Nacer Chadli to half clear the ball. Unfortunately for us, the clearance went straight into the path of Carrick who took aim and cushioned a header into the bottom corner from 10 yards.
It was one-way traffic as we fought to stay in the game. Pochettino made an early change with Townsend making way for Mousa Dembele but it did little to prompt a change in fortune as the home side swiftly made it three. Nabil Bentaleb gifted possession to Rooney midway inside our half and the United skipper took full advantage by ploughing through our back line and slotting calmly past Lloris.
Despite the scoreline our fans were in fine voice to greet the teams for the second half and we started it with more purpose and composure than the opening 45 minutes.
The chances started to present themselves as Ryan Mason saw our best opening of the game at that stage when he dropped his shoulder on the corner of the penalty box and created space for a shot that he dragged wide.
It would be the midfielder’s last contribution of note as Erik Lamela replaced him with half an hour to go. The majority of the game was now being played inside the United half, although we failed to turn our possession into chances with the home side still looking a threat on the break.
Ander Herrera drove into the side-netting for United, happy now to sit on their lead, while we fashioned our best chance in the final minute when substitute Lamela rolled in to Kane, whose effort was blocked on the line by De Gea.
Mauricio Pochettino said
“I’m very disappointed because our performance was poor and my worry is why,” said Mauricio afterwards. “We were ready to compete and it was a very bad day.
“We now need to analyse why and try to fix it.
“Okay, it’s true we conceded an early goal and after that it was difficult to manage the game. The first half was poor. In the second half we tried hard but it was too late.”
Mauricio once again had words of praise for our travelling fans. “The players all agree, they know we were poor, they are sad and we feel sorry for our supporters because they were brilliant again and it’s for them that we’re all disappointed,” he added.
“It’s a shame because you always feel the energy from the start from our supporters and when we delivered this performance it’s not easy.
“We all know in football this can happen but we have to deliver now back at home on Saturday.”
Manchester United: De Gea, Jones, Mata (Pereira, 77), Rooney (c), Smalling, Carrick (Rafael, 86), Blind, Young, Herrera, Valencia, Fellaini (Falcao, 83). Substitutes not used: Januzaj, Lindegaard, Blackett, Wilson.
Spurs: Lloris (c); Walker, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose; Bentaleb, Mason (Lamela, 63); Townsend (Dembele, 31), Eriksen, Chadli (Adebayor, 79); Kane. Substitutes not used: Chiriches, Paulinho, Vorm, Davies.
Goals: United - Fellaini (9), Carrick (19), Rooney (34).
Yellow cards: United - Mata (32). Spurs – Rose (72).
Referee: Mark Clattenburg.