Tottenham Hotspur 0 Manchester United 1
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made it six wins out of six as interim Manchester United manager.
But he had man-of-the-match, goalkeeper David de Gea, to thank for preserving the Reds’ unbeaten run which ended any title pretensions entertained by the Londoners.
Marcus Rashford’s low drive from a superb Paul Pogba pass just before the interval was the eventual difference between the sides and leaves United just seven points behind Spurs and six off the top four.
United are unrecognisable from the lumbering side which laboured under the management of Jose Mourinho.
Spurs had 11 second half shots on target which de Gea kept out, mostly with skilful use of his feet.
Spurs had dominated the first half and it seemed only a matter of time before they scored.
They did look vulnerable to the counter-attack as full backs Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies remained high up the pitch, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard missing chances as they exploited the gaps.
On 17 minutes Paul Pogba released Anthony Martial but he was denied by Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris at his near post.
Harry Kane had the ball in the net for Spurs after half an hour, but he was ruled offside.
The sell-out Wembley crowd was stunned on the stroke of half time when Trippier gave the ball away to allow Pogba to set up Rashford for what turned out to be the deciding goal.
While it was de Gea who continually denied Spurs in the second half, Lloris also kept out three efforts from Pogba, a header, a lob and a low drive.
But it was Spurs who had countless chances.
Erik Lamela, on as a first half replacement for the injured Moussa Sissoko, set up Harry Kane within minutes of the restart, only to see de Gea make the first of his saves with his legs.
A minute later, Trippier crossed for Dele Alli, but the Spanish keeper dived low to stop the resultant shot.
Kane got in front of Phil Jones following a corner, but saw his header saved on the ground.
Then the England captain found Ali who raced through on goal, again de Gea’s feet thwarting Spurs at the base of the post.
De Gea proved equally adept with his hands, first with a flying save from a Kane free kick and then from Ali as the Spurs man tried to head into the far corner.
As well as dropping three points, Spurs have added concerns with Kane hobbling off at the final whistle with what appeared to be a painful ankle injury and the increasingly influential Sissoko suffering a groin injury.
It comes as South Korean talisman Heung-Min Son heads off to the Asian Cup, leaving the Spurs squad further depleted.
Strangely, their manager Mauricio Pochettino was not downbeat, describing his side’s performance as “fantastic” and expressing no concern over the loss of Son and potential lay-offs for Kane and Sissoko.
He said: “I am so happy with the performance. I think we created enough chances to win the game but de Gea [made] 11 saves.
“I think it was one of the best 45 minutes I’ve seen from Tottenham.
“I think the performance was fantastic.
“My feeling today was the opposite of when we played at Old Trafford and won 3-0, when I wasn’t happy with the performance.
“I was very happy with the way we played after conceding the goal.
“Today I am happy after the defeat, but I wasn’t happy after we won there 3-0.
“Today we did everything to try to win.
“We dominated the game and created more chances than them.”
Solskjaer said: “It’s a tough venue to come to and we defended really well.
“The second half we made hard work of it.”
He put the victory and the change in fortunes since his arrival down to team spirit - “and we can defend. We’ve got the best goalkeeper in the world and blistering pace”.
He added: “It was a fantastic goal by Rash.
“The win here was massive. The belief and spirit in the dressing room was fantastic.”
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