Comment and Analysis @p_smith86
Tottenham's rare win at Manchester United could inspire Premier League title challenge
Lucas Moura double and Harry Kane header secures victory
Last Updated: 28/08/18 8:24am
Tottenham's victory at Manchester United signals a shift in their ability to deliver on the big stage. The challenge now is to sustain it, writes Peter Smith...
"To come here and win the way we did, it's a big statement."
Tottenham's 3-0 victory at Manchester United maintained their 100 per cent start to the season. But as Harry Kane told Sky Sports after the match, it could be worth far more than three points to this group of players.
For so long, this Tottenham team's inability to come out on top when the going gets tough has been held against them. Their much-discussed record away from home against 'big-six' rivals under Mauricio Pochettino has suggested they lack the mentality required to get over the line.
It stood at two wins from 20 away days against the top teams before Monday night and prevented them from reaching the very top level in the Premier League.
But there are signs Tottenham have now grown into a squad capable of meeting these challenges head-on - and passing them.
In February of this year, Spurs refused to be beaten by Mohamed Salah's injury-time strike for Liverpool at Anfield. Two months later a Dele Alli double helped them to their first win at London rivals Chelsea in 28 years.
On Monday night, after failing even to score on their four previous visits to Old Trafford in the Premier League, Tottenham withstood a first-half storm before producing a ruthless second-half display to punish United's backline.
"This is a top team," said Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher. "The difference between them becoming a great team is winning at places like this. Maybe the tide is turning in these big games."
Spurs double up
Tottenham have won back-to-back away games against Big Six sides for first time since 1993.
Tottenham had won just two of their previous 26 league visits to Manchester United since 1992. They had lost more league games at Old Trafford (21) than any club has lost at any away venue in Premier League history.
To walk away with three points, having dished out the heaviest home defeat in Jose Mourinho's career as a manager, will go down as a landmark moment in their evolution under Pochettino.
"This will give us huge belief," said Kane. "We're trying to create our own history at Spurs. The only way to do that is prove everyone wrong, be up there and keep challenging for titles. We've got that drive and hunger to take this club to the next level."
Spurs had to suffer in the opening 45 minutes. A United side fired up after their defeat to Brighton last time out threw everything they had at the visitors and it wasn't until the 40th minute that Christian Eriksen registered Spurs' first shot on target. At half-time, United had rained 10 efforts towards Hugo Lloris' goal.
By then Lucas Moura had been unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty when he was bundled to the floor by Phil Jones - but the Brazilian would be a key figure in the second half.
Lucas Moura launched 26 sprints during the match, eight more than any other player on the pitch, and his speed caused United's defence real problems on the break. With the hosts stretched, he twice capitalised to extend Spurs' advantage after Kane's headed opener.
"The one thing I feel Tottenham have lacked in these big games away from home is someone to hurt the opposition on the counter attack," said Carragher.
"The pace he's shown tonight, I hadn't seen that last season. Whether he wasn't fit enough when he came from PSG… but tonight he's been exactly what Tottenham need in big away games and taking it away from Manchester United."
"Spurs had a difficult first 30 minutes to get through, a frantic first 30 minutes to get through," added Gary Neville. "But once they did you knew they could pick United off. They needed that penetration. He provided it."
An obvious choice for man of the match, Lucas Moura is fast becoming a fan favourite at Spurs, having also scored in the 3-1 win over Fulham last weekend.
Tottenham may not have made any summer transfers, but the former Paris Saint-Germain winger, who joined in January, feels like a new addition now he is up to speed.
Spurs will certainly need him on top form when they host title-hopefuls Liverpool and Manchester City at Wembley over the next two months. They then have their next big test on the road on December 1, when they visit Arsenal.
"We know the end of the season is far away and we need to keep pushing, try to be consistent for the whole season and keep calm," Pochettino told Sky Sports.
It is just three points on the board. Now Spurs have to back it up. But with confidence high and their belief fuelled, they are ready to compete with the very best.
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