DAVID DE GEA produced a goalkeeping masterclass on Sunday as Manchester United beat Tottenham 1-0 to prove their recovery under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is no flash in the pan.
Marcus Rashford scored the only goal in the 44th minute of an open, exciting match at Wembley but the performance of the Spanish goalkeeper will live long in the memory.
He made 11 saves – the most saves he has made in a top-flight league match without conceding a goal – leaving Spurs players holding their heads in disbelief on multiple occasions.
United were eight points behind Arsenal when Solskjaer became their caretaker manager on December 19 but are now level on points with the fifth-placed Gunners as they hunt down a Champions League qualification spot.
But the result is a devastating blow for Mauricio Pochettino’s title-chasing Tottenham, who again came up short when the pressure was on and remain nine points adrift of Premier League leaders Liverpool.
“We won the game against a top team, we controlled the first half but in the second half they had chances,” De Gea told Sky Sports. “I was feeling very well with the first two saves, it was a great game.
“I don’t even remember some of the saves so I can’t pick a best. The manager brought some happiness, the players are playing well and the team is very strong now.
“This is the real Manchester United.”
Earlier, Tottenham settled quickly into their fluid passing game at Wembley, enjoying the bulk of possession and went close to opening the scoring through Harry Winks before Jesse Lingard fired over from close range for the visitors.
United, with Lingard, Anthony Martial and Rashford racing forward at every opportunity, looked dangerous on the break and Martial forced Lloris into a smart low save with his legs.
The game lost a little of its frantic intensity midway through the first half.
Kane poked the ball into the net after being set up by Dele Alli but it was ruled out for offside.
Moussa Sissoko pulled up sharply with an apparent hamstring injury and although he returned to the pitch he was unable to continue, being replaced by Erik Lamela.
The decisive moment in the match came shortly before halftime. Lingard cut out a careless cross-field ball from Kieran Trippier and nudged the ball to Pogba, who had time to look up and measure a raking cross-field pass to Rashford, sprinting down the right.
Rashford still had plenty to do but kept his nerve to fire right-footed past Lloris and into the far corner – Lloris got fingertips to the ball but was unable to keep it out.
Pogba, whose relationship with Mourinho had deteriorated sharply, looks rejuvenated under Solskjaer – he has been involved in eight goals under the interim boss, with four goals and four assists.
Tottenham came out of the blocks smartly after the restart and Kane looked certain to level from close range but De Gea saved brilliantly with his left foot before pulling off a fine save to deny an Alli headed effort.
Ashley Young sent over an inviting cross that Pogba headed straight at Lloris and the Spurs goalkeeper had to be alert to tip over another Pogba effort that came at the end of a long spell of United possession.
Spurs, roared on by a passionate home crowd, were building up a head of steam and Alli had another a golden chance to equalise but De Gea was again equal to the task, saving with his legs.
The Spaniard produced yet another stunning save to keep out Toby Alderweireld before flying to his right to cling on to a Kane free-kick.
Spurs had further chances in a frenetic ending but could find no way past the inspired De Gea.