Louis van Gaal offered a withering assessment of Tottenham Hotspur after Manchester United were thrashed 3-0 at White Hart Lane, but the Dutchman could learn a lot from Spurs' performance.
The Lilywhites taught the Red Devils a footballing lesson after a tight first half in which United dominated the opening exchanges.
United need Spurs' energy
At half-time, the game looked on course for a Van Gaal-esque 0-0, until Spurs came alive in the final 20 minutes. He may be glad he chose to manage in Manchester over north London, but he may want to reconsider how he views the up-and-coming Lilywhites after another bold statement that the tables have turned between the two clubs.
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Three goals from Dele Alli, Toby Alderweireld, and Erik Lamela came in an explosive six minutes that not only saw Spurs triumph but also summed up what it is that Manchester united have been lacking this season.
Danny Rose was arguably the standout player for Spurs, with phenomenal pace down the left. That kind of energy is typical of Mauricio Pochettino's outfit, and if United had been able to muster even half of Spurs' pressing, they might have been able to get themselves back into the game.
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Pochettino's positivity pays off
Tottenham could have been forgiven for letting their concentration slip after Leicester's 2-0 win over Sunderland, which gave the Foxes a brief 10-point lead at the top of the table.
Yet, Spurs put in a performance worthy of champions. United, who are supposed to be fighting for a top four spot, capitulated under the pressure.
One of the most notable differences between the two sides was work rate. Lamela, who put in a man-of-the-match performance on his return from injury, chased the ball down exceptionally well , making 9 important tackles.
Alli once again showed that he is capable of ruthlessness in front of goal, leaving the travelling fans frustrated at their own lack of anything clinical up front.
On top of that, Spurs' defence was typically rock solid. Toby Alderweireld, unlike many of United's star men, always turns up for the big games, while his partner Jan Vertonghen looked like he'd never been away.
Disorganised from the start
As soon as Timothy Fosu-Mensah went off, United looked exposed down the right. The team bus being stuck in traffic and the subsequent thirty-minute delay to kick-off was emblematic of their lack of organisation.
As is becoming the norm, fans of both clubs were left bewildered by van Gaal's bizarre tactical decisions, which it has to be said added to United's woes. Juan Mata was left marking the dynamic Lamela and was eventually replaced by Memphis Depay, whose only notable contribution was nearly getting sent off after tussling with Kyle Walker. To top it all off, Ashley Young was briefly deployed at right-back.
As much as the away corner attempted to taunt Spurs about their fading title hopes, there was a tragic irony in their acknowledgements of their glorious history. Yet again, the team who van Gaal described as a "bigger club" than Spurs fell flat.
Tottenham's killer instinct
The Red Devils were shaken by Spurs' positivity, and were unable to match it with any of their own, van Gaal taking off prodigy Marcus Rashford for no apparent reason. Rather than moving Anthony Martial up front, van Gaal persisted with the Frenchman in midfield, again decreasing any chance of his side creating many tangible opportunities.
Tottenham were able to kill off the game with their attacking approach, and may have also put to bed United's Champions League hopes.
If Pochettino had entertained any speculation linking him with a move to Old Trafford, he might be having second thoughts now.
Are Spurs becoming bigger than Manchester United? Have your say in the comments!
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