Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted Manchester United were fortunate to walk away with three point from their game against Tottenham on Sunday, saying their 3-1 win against the run of play was a ‘massive result’.
United were able to cut the gap to Premier League leaders Manchester City to two points once more thanks to a second half brace from Ashley Young that followed Wayne Rooney’s opener, but the scoreline tells only half the story after the home side dominated proceedings.
Despite the absence of key players such as Scott Parker, Rafael Van der Vaart and Gareth Bale, Tottenham took control of the game from the off and were aggrieved after seeing a goal chalked off for handball after Louis Saha’s shot hit Emmanuel Adebayor’s arm on the line in the first half.
However Spurs rarely converted their possession advantage into clear goal scoring chances, while the Red Devils exploited some defensive frailties expertly to become only the second team to win at White Hart Lane this season.
"We certainly carried a lot of luck today," Ferguson told MUTV after the game. "It was a great performance from Tottenham in the first half and maybe we got our tactics wrong.
"We improved in the second half and pushed up. In the first period we tried to drop off and bring them onto us a bit but it didn't work.
"At half-time I told the players to push up on top of their back four a bit more and not to allow them to build their play. We did much better at that, but it needed the second goal to give us the confidence in our game. After that we played very well," he added.
The win marked a happy day for Ferguson as he surpassed iconic former manager Sir Matt Busby’s record of 986 league games in charge of the Old Trafford club.
The Scot was full of praise for his side’s defensive efforts which helped keep Tottenham at bay, saying his back four’s ‘massive performance’ was key to the win.
"It was a massive performance from our defenders," he said. "Tottenham are a very good team - you have to consider that. That was only their second defeat at home since the start of the season.
"Scoring right on half-time was probably our first strike at goal. It was a nice finish from Wayne but a real killer for Tottenham. They were probably sat in the dressing room wondering how they were 1-0 down because they'd played ever so well.
"Their form at home has been absolutely fantastic so it was a massive result."