Three goals in six minutes is how Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham Hotspur kept themselves in the English Premier League (EPL) title race, Sunday. An awful Manchester United side were thumped by Spurs at White Hart Lane.
The kickoff was delayed by half an hour as the Manchester United team bus found themselves caught in London traffic. It was a crucial game for both sides and thus the fans waited in anticipation. Their excitement levels came down at the halftime whistle as neither side impressed.
Spurs looked more determined in the second half. Dele Alli, Toby Alderweireld and Erik Lamela found the back of the net to knock United out of their stride and keep their title hopes alive. However, the gap between them and Leicester City at the top of the table did not reduce as the Foxes beat Sunderland at the Stadium of Light as well.
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal had said prior to the match that they cannot just focus on Harry Kane as there were other players who can turn on the heat. He did mention the names of Alli and Alderweireld in that press conference. And the two, along with Lamela, came to haunt the listless Red Devils.
"I did not see that coming. The best chance until their goal was ours. Martial had a big chance, lots of time. The second goal is a set play, one of our best headers of the ball loses the duel, and it was a fantastic header from Alderweireld. That cannot happen," Van Gaal was quoted as saying by the official website of the club.
"Every team can lose against everybody so we are still in the race for fourth but now we have to close the gap again."
In spite of the crushing defeat, Van Gaal thinks that United were the better side until Alli scored the first goal.
"I think Tottenham is a great team but until the first goal we were playing good and had a big chance for a goal. Three-nil is a big negative result, but the way we played was good until the first goal," Van Gaal added.
Tottenham Hotspur manager Pochettino was delighted after a spirited show by his men against United. It was indeed a brilliant performance from Spurs.
"It was a fantastic performance and full credit to our players for the energy and character they showed," Pochettino was quoted as saying by the official website of Spurs.
"It was difficult because at the beginning of the day Leicester won, United were then stuck in the traffic (the game kicked off 30 minutes late) and that changed our habits.
"It was difficult from the beginning but in the second half we showed a very good performance and I feel proud of our players."