De Gea’s divine performance boosts Solskjaer as Manchester United beat Tottenham
Spanish goalkeeper was brilliant at Wembley.
David De Gea produced one of the finest goalkeeping displays in many a year as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer overcame Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham to become the first manager in Manchester United’s history to win their first six matches in charge.
Sunday’s eagerly-anticipated Premier League encounter pitted the bookmakers’ favourites to permanently replace Jose Mourinho against one another as a packed Wembley witnessed a clash that lived up to the billing.
Marcus Rashford’s splendid strike from an equally impressive Paul Pogba pass sealed United’s 1-0 win in the capital, but De Gea will take the headlines after an incredible display that left Pochettino, the frontrunner to take over at Old Trafford this summer, in disbelief.
If it was not his hands, the Spaniard got there with his feet to stop the Spurs onslaught in a remarkable second half.
De Gea had made 11 saves by the time the full-time whistle went in a captivating match at Wembley, where Solskjaer wrote his name into the history books by extending his 100 per cent record in a sixth match in all competitions.
There were impressive attacking flashes from United and admirable resolve in front of Sir Alex Ferguson, who saw the goalkeeper he brought in from Atletico Madrid in 2011 take the headlines with a breathtaking performance.
It was an amazing end to a match that started with Harry Winks having Spurs’ best opportunity of the first half inside nine minutes.
He met a Son Heung-min through ball with shot across the face of goal after bursting into the box – a sight that was unusual, but nowhere near as rare a post-Ferguson era United approaching a big away game in such a bold, attacking manner.
Harry Kane’s strike from a corner was one of several attempts to be blocked in quick succession, but England’s captain did find the net in the 31st minute.
The Wembley faithful rose to their feet, only for the striker to rise his hands in frustration having been adjudged offside when directing home.
Moussa Sissoko limped off with a hamstring issue before Spurs suffered an even bigger setback thanks to the ingenuity of Pogba and finishing ability of their number 10.
Lingard cut out an errant ball by Kieran Trippier and Pogba sent Rashford scampering behind the Tottenham backline with an exceptional pass. The England forward looked to have gone too wide, but sent a stunning, low strike across Lloris into the far corner.
The France goalkeeper did well to deny Pogba from a header, prodded effort and strike from the edge of the box after the break, but the second half was all about De Gea.
Having had nothing to do in the opening period, a comfortable early stop from Son was followed by denying Kane with his feet and preventing Alli’s header.
Kane saw an effort under pressure from Phil Jones stopped and Christian Eriksen tried a hopeful long-range strike, before Alli raced through one-on-one. De Gea stood his ground and stopped the Spurs man.
The De Gea show continued as he prevented Toby Alderweireld directing home a Eriksen corner, before showing his composure and ability by holding onto a Kane free-kick heading for the top corner.
De Gea pushed away a shot from Alli and continued to prove an unbreakable last line of defence, preventing Kane with his feet and then substitute Fernando Llorente.
By the end there were 11 saves and the full-time whistle saw the Spaniard mobbed by team-mates. Disappointed Kane laid on the deck in pain at the end of an incredible match.