During the pre-match press conference, Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte was asked about last season’s 2-3 defeat to Manchester United.
And the Italian manager remarked that his side did not lose to United but to Cristiano Ronaldo who had single-handedly dragged his team to victory thanks to a hat-trick.
ETH’s selection calls bang on
Both goalscorers have come under intense criticism recently and pundits and supporters were clamouring for the Dutch manager to drop both players as well as remove Marcus Rashford for Ronaldo.
Ten Hag deserves credit for sticking to his beliefs and did not make sweeping changes despite certain players not performing to their potential against Newcastle United.
هدف برونو — Bruno goal pic.twitter.com/mmxRVTBfKQ
— صحيفة مانشستر يونايتد (@MUFCMENA) October 19, 2022
And the players certainly responded in style as Fred was his usual bustling self and his pressing and running off the ball was key as United hogged the majority of possession in the first-half.
He could have grabbed an assist in the first half but for a brilliant Hugo Lloris save off a Rashford shot. He also had a couple of shots on his own.
But he did not let that deter him and got his just reward right at the beginning of the second-half as his shot took a wicked deflection to give United the lead.
Fernandes’ lack of output in terms of goals and assists was a major talking point but the Portuguese responded in style with a marvellous curling finish to settle the nerves around Old Trafford.
Dominating performance from start to finish
The only concern at this stage will be the lack of a clinical goalscorer. Rashford offered a willing outlet throughout and was a constant thorn in Spurs’ flesh but he just could not find a way past an inspired Lloris.
He kept opting for power instead of placing the ball and the French shot-stopper came out trumps on three different occasions. People will argue that Ronaldo would have tucked those home but would he have worked as hard for the team?
Judging by the fact that he left for an early shower, things might turn even uglier for United’s No 7 soon.
United had 28 shots but only managed two goals in the end but Ten Hag will be pleased with the fact that his team selection was once again vindicated and his side played some of the best football Old Trafford has witnessed in recent memory.
It was crucial that United took home all three points ahead of the Chelsea clash as both opponents are in the top four and this win means the Red Devils are currently only a point behind their next opponents.
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