Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur  2 - 3

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Spurs deserved their win, says Evra

30 September 2012 17:40

Manchester United defender Patrice Evra insists his team deserved to lose to Tottenham on Saturday.

The win was Spurs' first at Old Trafford in 23 years and came after being 2-0 up at the break courtesy of goals from Jan Vertonghen and Gareth Bale, with Evra bemoaning the United's performance in the first half.

United rallied in the second half, with Nani and Shinji Kagawa netting, but were left with too much to do as Clint Dempsey hit a third with Andre Villas-Boas' side claiming the points in a scintillating encounter.

"The result is what happens when you only play for 45 minutes," Evra told reporters.

"The game is 90 minutes long and we deserved to lose because we only played for 45. To concede three goals at Old Trafford is not good enough.

"The problem is in our heads. It looked like we stayed in the hotel. The first 45 minutes had no speed, no focus, we didn't win a lot of challenges and we conceded some silly goals.

"Maybe I am hard with myself and the team but we only showed the United face in the second half. This is not enough if we want to win the title."

Article

Premier League: Manchester United 2 Tottenham 3

29 September 2012 20:49

Tottenham have recorded their first league win at Manchester United in 23 years with a 3-2 victory at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Andre Villas-Boas' team dominated the first half and were good value for their 2-0 lead at the break, courtesy of goals from Jan Vertonghen and Gareth Bale.

But Sir Alex Ferguson fired up his team at the break, sent on Wayne Rooney and United were transformed after the break.

In a crazy 140-second spell at the start of the second half, Nani finished off Rooney's cross, Clint Dempsey restored Spurs' two-goal advantage and Shinji Kagawa was the calmest man in Manchester as he made the score 3-2.

United were utterly dominant for the rest of the game and carved out a series of excellent chances.

But fortune was not on their side as Rooney's free-kick crashed off the post, Michael Carrick hit the bar and Robin van Persie wasted a golden chance for the equaliser.

It was all Tottenham early on and Vertonghen silenced the Old Trafford faithful with the opener after just two minutes.

Cutting inside, he shared a crisp one-two with Bale before surging into space and giving his side the lead with a deflected effort.

Spurs were dominant and doubled their lead on 32 minutes through Bale.

Moussa Dembele tapped a neat pass to Bale in the middle and he left Rio Ferdinand trailing in his wake with ease as he sped into the penalty area.

On his less favoured right, Bale finished emphatically across goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard to make it 2-0.

The introduction of Rooney paid off almost immediately for United as his brilliant cross from the right was tapped in by Nani six minutes after the break to start a crazy spell of three goals in as many minutes.

A minute later Dempsey restored Tottenham's two-goal advantage.

The American smashed in the rebound after Lindegaard had parried Bale's first-time shot following a reverse pass from Jermain Defoe that had once again left Ferdinand floundering.

United responded as a brilliant van Persie pass put Kagawa through on goal and, after a brilliant turn, the Japanese midfielder made it 3-2.

Rooney smashed a 30-yard free-kick against the post and the ball teetered provocatively in the six-yard box before being cleared and van Persie missed a glorious chance as he drilled a shot wide.

United continued to dominate but were unable to make their possession and opportunities count late on.

Article

Villas-Boas bites lip over Fergie

29 September 2012 17:07

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has admitted he is scared to comment on Sir Alex Ferguson's influence over referees.

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has been charged by the FA this week for criticising referee Michael Oliver's performance during the Latics' defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford.

And, despite admitting it is an 'interesting' subject, the Portuguese refused to be drawn on the Scot's relationship with officials.

"It's an interesting question, but it's one that's impossible to respond to here," Villas-Boas told Sky Sports News.

"It would be brilliant to be able to answer it, but I paid a high fine last time and I don't want to again."

The former Chelsea boss instead preferred to comment on in-form striker, Jermain Defoe, praising the 29-year-old's decisive contributions this season.

"He has been immense for the team," said the 34-year-old.

"He's getting continuous opportunities that maybe he didn't have in the past so I think he is enjoying it a bit more. He is looking extremely happy.

"We have to be very grateful for what he has been doing for the team.

"For a striker goals are decisive and he has four in the Premier League. He's not far off being top scorer and he has been creating so much.

"I can't put anything of his into question. He has desire, his motivation is there, and his movement is fantastic so we hope he will continue in this way."

Article

Waddle confident Spurs can finish top four

29 September 2012 15:10

Chris Waddle believes Tottenham are capable of finishing in the top four again, despite the heavy investment of those around them.

Under Harry Redknapp last season, the side blew a 12-point lead over bitter rivals Arsenal to finish a point behind them in fourth, but their poor form was punished even further when Chelsea went on to win the Champions League and take the fourth qualification spot in their place.

Former Spurs midfielder Waddle, 51, said that despite an indifferent start to the campaign, they certainly have the ability to finish as high again this year, but they needed to be more consistent.

"There's no reason why (they can't finish in the top four). You've got to aim for that sort of place and you've got to have targets to try and meet and they've got a squad that's good enough to challenge," Waddle told Goal.com.

"They did well under Redknapp last year. OK, we've lost (Luka) Modric but we've brought in (Moussa) Dembele and (Clint) Dempsey, who are two great acquisitions and why not? What's stopping them?

"I look at the league at the minute, both Manchester United and Manchester City are stuttering. Arsenal look strong and Chelsea are still involved but they look more open.

"I always say with Tottenham they're either great or bad, there's no middle bit with them.

"And until they get that middle bit and are able to grind out results when they're not playing particularly well - AVB (Andre Villas-Boas) might install this - but on their day Tottenham can beat anybody but they can also lose to anybody.

"If they can sort out that middle bit, which is probably more of a mental thing than anything else.

"Sometimes you can be under the cosh for 85 minutes and go and win 1-0, that's what good teams do. Manchester United have got out of jail so many times already, but it's an art.

"You can finish a game thinking that you haven't played well but we've got three points here and I think if Tottenham can install that (mentality), they'll finish in the top four."

Article

Vertonghen ready to face world´s best

28 September 2012 20:33

Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen admits his decision to move to the club was based on the prospect of facing the world's best strikers.

The Belgian defender, who was signed from Ajax in July, has started Tottenham's past four English Premier League games as Andre Villas-Boas' side sit in eighth place following victories over Reading and Queens Park Rangers.



"Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie are two of the best strikers in the league and the reason I came to the Premier League was to play against people like them," Vertonghen told Sky Sports.



Tottenham face a trip to Manchester United on Saturday and Vertonghen is looking to end Spurs' 23-year wait for a victory at Old Trafford.



Vertonghen was on the losing side against Manchester United last season as Ajax suffered a 2-0 defeat to Sir Alex Ferguson's side in the Europa League, but the 25-year-old insists a counter-attacking strategy could be the key to success on Saturday.



"We are strong enough to beat them. We have a good team, we've won the last two or three games now playing good football and everyone is hopeful of getting a good result at Old Trafford," Vertonghen said.



"When I played against them last year they beat us in the Amsterdam Arena 2-0 and I think they thought they could beat us at 60 percent.



"It was a good game at Old Trafford. We beat them in the last minute and that showed that with good counter-attacks you can win there."

Article

Ferguson short of defensive options

28 September 2012 11:24

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson says the club are suffering under the weight of another defensive injury crisis.

Phil Jones (knee) and Chris Smalling (broken metatarsal) have each spent a prolonged spell on the sidelines, with club captain Nemanja Vidic facing more time out after undergoing minor knee surgery on Tuesday.

That leaves only Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans as Ferguson's remaining fit centre-backs.

And with three matches to go until the international break, the Scot is hoping those two players can make it through the schedule unscathed.

He told reporters: "Everyone knows the situation with our defenders.

"We are having a hard time with that.

"Nemanja Vidic being out is a blow to us and we simply cannot take a risk with defenders.

"We just hope if we can get through the next two league games it will give us a little breather and we can start to get one or two of them back."

Of the injured three, Chris Smalling is likely to be the first to return to full fitness, but this weekend's match at home to Tottenham Hotspur will come too soon for him.

There is better news offensively for United though, with Wayne Rooney set to make his English Premier League comeback after suffering a gashed leg two weeks ago.

Midfielder Tom Cleverley also opened his goal-scoring account for the club in a League Cup win against Newcastle United on Wednesday.

And the England midfielder admitted his lack of goals had started to become an issue for him.

"It (not having scored for United) has been playing on my mind a little bit," Cleverley said.

"I have always scored goals when I have gone on loan, so it was bugging me that I had not been doing it for my club or my country.

"I have got the first one out of the way now. Hopefully they will all come at once."

Article

Villas-Boas: We´ll go after United

27 September 2012 22:50

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas says his team will go all out to earn maximum points at Manchester United for the first time since 1989.

The former Chelsea boss attempted to take the game to Sir Alex Ferguson's team last season and left empty-handed as the Blues were beaten 3-1 having conceded three goals before half-time.

Villas-Boas has not been put off by the experience, however, and claimed he would stick to his principles at Old Trafford when the two teams meet on Saturday.

"That (an attacking style) is the way I like my teams to play," the Portuguese coach told reporters.

"We obviously know that it is extremely difficult there, but that doesn't mean that you might not be given a chance when you play that way.

"In the end it's about taking your opportunities. Had (Chelsea) scored then maybe the result would have been different, so to try to get a result against United will be excellent for us."

Villas-Boas has embarked on a six-match unbeaten run with Spurs after suffering an opening day defeat against Newcastle United and hopes a victory may prove even more valuable given that top four rivals Arsenal and Chelsea are set to meet earlier in the day.

"It would make us very proud to go there and get a win that would shorten the distance to the top," he said.

"That would hopefully help us profit in some way from the clash between Arsenal and Chelsea.

"We can't run away from our responsibilities. The statistics are there. We hope to break them one day and hopefully it will be on Saturday."

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +43 89
2 38 +32 78
3 38 +36 75
4 38 +35 73
5 38 +20 72
6 38 +15 63
7 38 +28 61
8 38 -4 49
9 38 -4 46
10 38 -8 46
11 38 -17 44
12 38 -10 43
13 38 -11 42
14 38 -11 41
15 38 -22 41
16 38 -23 41
17 38 -13 39
18 38 -26 36
19 38 -30 28
20 38 -30 25