Manchester United 2 Tottenham Hotspur 1
Jose Mourinho’s three-match winning streak was finally halted by United as their former boss returned to Old Trafford almost a year after being sacked.
Two goals from Marcus Rashford finished Spurs off as their defensive frailties were again evident, conceding two for the fourth consecutive match.
But it was a confident-looking United who attacked the Londoners from the off, scarcely allowing them to settle in the first period and mostly containing them in their own half.
The only surprise was that the home side weren’t out of sight by the interval rather than being level.
Spurs scarcely got a look in and never troubled David de Gea as their high tempo rattled the Spurs midfield and defence.
It took the Reds just six minutes to go ahead.
Rashford was given far too much space as Serge Aurier was found wanting, failing to close him down, but Paulo Gazzaniga will surely be disappointed that the England striker beat him at his near post.
On 17 minutes Rashford was just inches wide from 25 yards and then Gazzaniga saved with his feet from Mason Greenwood.
It seemed just a matter of time before United added to their tally and Rashford came close two minutes later when his 30-yard effort cannoned off the Spurs crossbar.
He and Jesse Lingard were causing havoc for Spurs and the United faithful must have been wondering why this intensity had been lacking thus far this season.
Rashford brought a flying save from Gazzsniga who touched the ball on to the bar as United, for the most part, pegged Spurs back in their own half.
But, against the run of play, as half time approached, Aurier, who had endured a torrid time at the back, crossed into the box.
De Gea saved with his feet, but Alli swivelled, brought the ball down on his chest and fired the equaliser.
It was yet another wonderful strike by the former MK Dons man who has been rejuvenated since Mourinhobarrived in north London .
Spurs saw out the remainder of the half on the front foot, but all their efforts to get back on level terms were undone within a minute of the restart by a clumsy and unnecessary challenge in the box by Moussa Sissoko, who tangled with Rashford, bringing him down.
VAR agreed with referee Paul Tierney’s decision to award a spot kick and Rashford himself stepped up to send Gazzaniga the wrong way.
Gazzaniga was in action again to deny Daniel James at full stretch.
Spurs had a couple of decent chances to save the day, Aurier whacking the ball straight at De Gea from inside the box and the United stopper holding on to an Alli effort from a similar distance.
It was deservedly United’s day and their former manager Mourinho conceded: “For 30 minutes they were not just better than us but much better in the intensity, the aggression, winning 50-50 balls.
“In the last 15 minutes it was us. In the second half, with some adjustments, I thought we were going to win it.
“I think they deserved the victory.”
United manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer said: “It was the best performance of the season. For the first 40 minutes we were excellent. I think we deserved to win.
“We’ve had players enjoying themselves tonight.
“We haven’t been good enough breaking teams down when we’ve had 75 per cent possession.
“We want them to enjoy themselves.
“We can almost say that McTominay was undroppable.”
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