Tottenham gave their White Hart Lane Stadium the perfect parting gift as Harry Kane scored the winner to beat Manchester United on Sunday.
Tottenham played out an emotional game on Sunday in what was their last game at White Hart Lane. However, the players did not let the situation get the better of them as they managed to beat Manchester United by 2 goals to 1 to secure the perfect sending off to their ground.
Goals from Vincent Wanyama and Harry Kane ensured the win while Wayne Rooney did manage to get one back for the Red Devils. We at The Hard Tackle take a closer look at some of the players that stood out, some that did not and the potential impact of the result.
Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Victor Wanyama scored in his first and last game ever White Hart Lane this season. #COYS
— Ricky Sacks 🎙 (@RickSpur) May 15, 2017
Wanyama has been a regular in the middle of the park for Tottenham since joining his former manager Mauricio Pochettino at White Hart Lane. The player has turned out to be another successful signing and on Sunday, the Kenyan showed exactly why he is preferred by the boss.
Wanyama not only dominated the midfield – putting in five tackles, the highest of the match along with Phil Jones and did well to get on to the ball from Ben Davies to open the scoring for his side.
The midfield stalwart was never dispossessed during the match and was a safe option for his teammates. Wanyama’s performance would have surely delighted the fans as well, with the midfielder providing steel to his side while also acting as a shield to the defence.
On contrast, it was a player that has been struggling to get back to full fitness and has been sounded out several times by Jose Mourinho that was the positive spark for Manchester United. Phil Jones commanded the defence well, stepping up when needed to clear the ball to safety.
That the player put in the joint highest number of tackles of the match (5) – more than the entire Tottenham starting back-four combined – speaks volumes of just how dominating the English international was. The Red Devils were undone by two brilliantly-devised set-pieces, barring which they dealt with the opposition attacks well.
Twitter may have thought otherwise, with people trolling the Englishman for his weird faces – which also made an appearance on the day. However, he was up to the task and went about his job valiantly.
And Phil Jones was the architect of it all, playing alongside Chris Smalling – perhaps giving Jose Mourinho something to ponder on as he goes about devising the summer clearout and rebuilding plan.
Juan Mata was deployed in his revered number 10 role on the day. But, the Spaniard, having recently returned from injury, failed to make much impact on the match before being subbed off for Marcus Rashford, who was given a run-in for the last 10 minutes.
Mata had a passing success rate of 83% – well below his usual standards – and failed to provide Anthony Martial with the balls to trouble the Tottenham defence. A rare poor display by the little magician.
Analysis of the Impact
A poor season overall for Manchester United
There can be no excuses for Jose Mourinho at this point. A brilliant start to the campaign was met with expectations of a title charge. But, the Red Devils have flattered to deceive their fans and the pundits as well, floundering at sixth on the table currently.
Yes, United still do have a chance of gaining Champions League football if they win the Europa League final against Ajax – which would see Jose Mourinho bag two major trophies in his debut season, having won the League Cup as well.
However, Manchester United as a club have been always associated with the top-four. Louis Van Gaal was able to deliver it in his first season in charge without the presence of global superstars like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan while Marcus Rashford had not come to the fore yet.
If Jose Mourinho does fail to lead United to glory in the Europa League, the season will be chalked down as a huge failure for both the Portuguese and the club.
Mourinho cannot afford the same brand of football next season
Manchester United fans have been patient as they have seen tremendous improvement in the brand of football compared to what the playing style was under Louis Van Gaal. Still, Jose Mourinho’s recent antics of playing a visual back-six surely does not bode well for the image of the club.
Manchester United have always been associated with a free-flowing brand of football and even though Sir Alex Ferguson himself deployed a back six on a couple of occasions – it was against a Barcelona side that was probably the best team in the footballing world in that moment.
Jose Mourinho does not have nearly the same predicament while facing the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester City and the Portuguese must understand that the priority at Manchester United is a bit different, perhaps, compared to his previous managerial spells.
The fans have gulped the last few weeks down the throat on the excuse of having Europa League to play for, along with the array of injury issues United have been marred with. However, Jose Mourinho will have a whole summer to rebuild his squad and cannot afford to play nearly the same style of football next season.
Lest, he risks being sacked for the second time in three years.