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Man Utd Respond To Liverpool Thrashing To Sink Sorry Spurs

Cristiano Ronaldo’s opener was his first Premier League goal in almost six weeks, since United’s 2-1 win at West Ham

Manchester United bounced back from humiliation at home to Liverpool to lift the pressure on besieged manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and turn the heat on his Tottenham counterpart Nuno Espirito Santo with a fully deserved victory.

Cristiano Ronaldo was the inspiration behind an excellent United display which provided the perfect response to last week’s 5-0 thrashing at Old Trafford that raised questions over Solskjaer’s future.

The Norwegian manager is not out of the woods yet but Ronaldo made life much more comfortable for his boss with a sublime far-post volley from Bruno Fernandes’ cross six minutes before the break followed by a slide-rule pass to set up Edinson Cavani for a second after 64 minutes.

In contrast, Spurs were mediocre with Harry Kane barely in the game and unrest among their fans, who turned on manager Nuno when he replaced Lucas Moura with Steven Bergwijn in the second half.

Marcus Rashford wrapped things up with a cool finish four minutes from time as Spurs fans erupted in fury against Nuno and their chairman, with chants of “We want Levy out” echoing around the vast stadium.

Ronaldo to the rescue

Ronaldo demonstrated his world-class talent just when Solskjaer and United needed it most in a game they simply could not afford to lose.

Aided by the tireless and outstanding Cavani, the Portuguese striker added the flourishes to a United performance that was a huge improvement on that catastrophe against Liverpool, although that was not difficult and Spurs were very poor opponents.

Ronaldo was a constant threat with his movement, also seeing a thunderous strike ruled out for offside as United dominated.

He showed glorious technique for his goal then demonstrated the perfect link-up with Cavani to send the Uruguayan in for a typically composed to finish which effectively ended the contest.

Solskjaer was able to restore Raphael Varane to his defence alongside captain Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof in a back three that dealt comfortably with the flimsy attacking efforts of out-of-sorts Spurs.

And while this must be placed in the context that Spurs are simply not in the same class as Liverpool, it was still a very satisfying 90 minutes for Solskjaer after what has been a harrowing week in the aftermath of that destruction by Liverpool in front of their own fans.

It can only be the start, however, with United playing Atalanta in Italy in the Champions League this week before a derby meeting with Manchester City at Old Trafford on Saturday lunchtime.

There is a long way back for United and Solskjaer from that Liverpool loss but where there is Ronaldo there is hope.

This was a highly efficient all-round performance and a win that was thoroughly merited.

Edinson Cavani scored his first goal of the season - on just his second Premier League start of the campaign for Manchester United
Edinson Cavani scored his first goal of the season – on just his second Premier League start of the campaign

Spurs supporters in mutinous mood

Spurs manager Nuno has been struggling to win over supporters but the atmosphere inside this vast arena turned mutinous as they slipped tamely to defeat here.

They were already in a grim mood before Nuno made the highly-contentious decision to replace Moura with Bergwijn nine minutes after the break. The stadium was engulfed in loud boos and chants of “you don’t know what you’re doing” aimed at Nuno.

And when Rashford raced through more non-existent defending late on to add insult to injury, Levy was in the firing line as thousands of Spurs fans got up and left.

Tottenham failed to have a shot on target with even Kane feeling the frustration of the home fans when a cross went astray.

Nuno’s status, way down the wanted list of managers when Spurs moved to replace sacked Jose Mourinho, always meant he needed a fast start but his sterile style of football and the manner in which they barely laid a glove on United sparked an angry reaction.

United’s confidence would have been fragile after the way they were dismantled by Liverpool but Spurs were so cautious, sitting back and playing a waiting game that allowed Solskjaer’s side to grow into the game and take control.

Nuno cut a lonely figure as he felt that anger from Spurs fans, looking almost as lost as Solskjaer did at Old Trafford last Sunday as Liverpool ran riot.

And Kane is the struggling symbol of Spurs’ current plight, scuffling around the margins and a target for the same fans who once took pride in calling him “one of our own”.

Kane has looked a different, reduced player since a proposed move to Manchester City fell through in the summer although it should also be added that the service into England’s captain was negligible. It was Son Heung-min who carried most of the energy and threat on a thoroughly miserable night for Spurs.

Nuno now needs victories quickly, with a home game against Vitesse – who beat Spurs nine days ago in Arnhem – in the Europa Conference League before a visit to Everton presenting a hazardous fixture list.

Nuno Espirito Santo's decision to withdraw Lucas Moura did not go down well with the Tottenham fans
Nuno Espirito Santo’s decision to withdraw Lucas Moura did not go down well with the Tottenham fans
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