De Gea masterclass leaves us frustrated against United
Spurs 0-1 Manchester United
Sun 13 January 2019, 18:25|Tottenham Hotspur
An inspired performance from Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea saw us slip to defeat at Wembley Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Spanish keeper produced no fewer than 11 saves in the second half as we battled to try to cancel out Marcus Rashford’s goal on the stroke of half-time. We’d failed to trouble him at all in the first period, but laid siege to United’s goal after the break, only to come up against one of the best goalkeeping performances we’ve encountered for many years by an opposition player.
And they weren’t just run-of-the-mill saves either, as he denied Harry Kane and Dele Alli when clean through on goal, and somehow kept out Toby Alderweireld’s close-range flick at a corner.
With over 80,000 inside Wembley again, the atmosphere crackled at kick-off and the game was quickly into its stride, both sides creating early chances. On nine minutes, Harry Winks delivered a centre across the six yard box but no-one was there to convert and the midfielder then blazed over from a corner while at the other end, Jesse Lingard did likewise from the angle of the six-yard box before Hugo Lloris had to smother Rashford’s drive. Lloris was called on to make a smart save with his legs from Anthony Martial in the 18th minute and seven minutes later, an Eriksen corner landed at the feet of Kane, who took one touch and shot goalwards but a combination of Nemanja Matic and Phil Jones blocked.
We were forced into a change just before the interval, Moussa Sissoko pulling up when chasing a ball down the flank - he tried to continue but had to make way for Erik Lamela and a minute later, the visitors were in front. Kieran Trippier’s attempted pass in-field went straight to Lingard, who laid it off to Paul Pogba and he clipped a ball over the top for Rashford, the striker driving towards goal down the right channel before striking a low, hard shot past Lloris and into the far corner and the Red Devils led at the break.
We hadn’t had a shot on target in the first half, but had two within the opening three minutes of the second period. Son didn’t get any purchase on his effort from distance and De Gea saved easily, but the United goalkeeper then made a very good stop after we carved United open, Eriksen, Lamela and Dele combining to set up Kane, who couldn’t beat the custodian from 10 yards.
Lloris saved Pogba’s header on 54 minutes and then produced a magnificent stop to deny his compatriot moments later, Pogba sticking out a leg to lob the goalkeeper but Lloris superbly tipping the effort over the bar. It was real end-to-end stuff as we really stepped up a gear while United were always a threat on the counter. De Gea saved Kane's header from close range, Pogba’s 18-yard drive was kept out by Lloris while we had a glorious chance to level on 66 minutes, Kane putting Dele through on goal and he raced unchecked into the area, only for De Gea to save again with his legs.
And the Spaniard was at again four minutes later, somehow sticking out a foot to keep out Alderweireld’s flick from an Eriksen corner, before diving across his goal to catch Kane’s 30-yard free-kick and then keeping out Dele’s effort from 12 yards after Eriksen found him with a sublime pass. There was simply no way past the United custodian, who produced another save from Kane in the 86th minute, substitute Fernando Llorente cushioning a header down for the England striker but his right-foot shot was denied. We kept battling to the very end, but as the seconds ticked by United dropped deeper and were able to close out the final stages.
Pressing for the equaliser in the second half, we dominated possession and carved out numerous opportunities, only to find De Gea in inspired form.
His key save came in the 66th minute when it looked odds-on that Dele, put clear by Kane, would slot home with only the Spaniard to beat but De Gea stayed big and stuck out a leg to deny the midfielder.
We had other chances, but this was the one that had to go in.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino couldn't fault our second-half onslaught as he reflected on the game.
"I am happy because the performance was unbelievable," he said. "I think it was our best 45 minutes (in the second half) after four-and-a-half years and of course, yes, we're disappointed with the result but now we need to look forward to preparing for the next game.
"We’re a little unlucky because when you are in front of the goal, you need to be clinical. Today, give the credit to De Gea - we weren’t clinical but the team played unbelievable football and we need to be proud about that."
Reaction on Spurs TV
Spurs 0-1 Manchester United
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c), Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Winks (Llorente 81), Sissoko (Lamela 43), Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane. Substitutes (not used): Gazzaniga, Foyth, Sanchez, Rose, Skipp.
Mannchester United (4-3-3): De Gea, Young (c), Lindelof, Jones, Shaw, Herrera, Matic, Pogba (McTominay 90+1), Lingard (Dalot 83), Rashford, Martial (Lukaku 73). Substitutes (not used): Romero, Pereira, Mata, Fred.
Goal: United – Rashford 44.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Dele; United – Herrera, Pogba.
Referee: Mike Dean.
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London.
Weather: Light cloud, moderate breeze, 12 degrees.