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Man Utd pile pressure on former boss Jose Mourinho with comeback win at Spurs

Jonathan Veal, PA
·4-min read

Manchester United piled the pressure on their former manager Jose Mourinho with a 3-1 win at Tottenham that continues their own hopes of posting an invincible Premier League season on the road.

United, who controversially had an opening goal ruled out, fell behind to Son Heung-min’s effort before half-time but they roared back after the break and deservedly won it thanks to goals from Fred, Edinson Cavani and Mason Greenwood.

It extends their unbeaten away record to 23 Premier League games, matching Arsenal’s run between August 2001 and September 2002, and if they can avoid defeat in their final three away games at Leeds, Aston Villa and Wolves then they will become just the third club to go through a top-flight season without a loss.

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In winning in north London they poured more misery on Mourinho, who now has to be fighting for his job at Tottenham after this defeat leaves their hopes of Champions League qualification in tatters.

There are all the usual hallmarks of a Mourinho exit showing and his job may now depend on winning the Carabao Cup final in a fortnight’s time.

Even that might not be enough to save him if their league form does not improve as they are six points off the top four and are showing little signs of being able to recover.

Could time be running out for Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho?
Could time be running out for Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho? (Clive Rose/PA)

United, though, have no such problems and went a long way to securing second spot after an impressive comeback.

The first half-hour had seen a sparring match, with neither side really willing to go for it and waited for moments on the counter.

The game exploded in the 33rd minute as VAR came into sharp focus again as United were denied an opener.

Scott McTominay brushed off Son and the United move developed to see Paul Pogba slip in Cavani and the Uruguayan finished well past Hugo Lloris.

Referee Chris Kavanagh consulted the pitchside monitor before ruling out Edinson Cavani's opener
Referee Chris Kavanagh consulted the pitchside monitor before ruling out Edinson Cavani’s opener (Clive Rose/PA)

After a lengthy process, VAR advised referee Chris Kavanagh to take a look at McTominay’s challenge on Son on the pitchside monitor and he ruled that the Scot, whose arm went into the Spurs player’s face, had committed a foul.

The decision seemed fairly soft and United were aghast at the decision, but their pain got worse just three minutes after the match restarted as Spurs took the lead.

It was inevitable that Son would be the man to score the goal as he tapped in at the far post from a square pass from Lucas Moura, who was allowed in on goal after Victor Lindelof inexplicably missed a clearance.

Son Heung-min then opened the scoring for Spurs
Son Heung-min then opened the scoring for Spurs (Adrian Dennis/PA)

Son was not complaining as it allowed him to score his 14th league goal of the season, but first since early February.

United will have felt aggrieved to go in behind but their response in the second half was impressive and it yielded a 57th-minute equaliser.

Similar to the goal that was ruled out, Pogba was allowed too much room to play in Cavani, whose shot was this time saved by Lloris, but Fred was perfectly placed to ram home the leveller from close range.

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Both goalkeepers then made impressive saves to keep the scores level as Dean Henderson superbly kept out Son’s low shot with his feet, but Lloris’ grasping save to keep out Bruno Fernandes’ shot from distance was even better.

But it was United who continued to dominate and Pogba had a golden chance to put his side in front midway through the second half, but his backheel from close range was blocked by Eric Dier when the Frenchman was destined to score.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men eventually got their second 11 minutes from time and it was a fine goal from Cavani.

Cavani's brilliant diving header put United ahead
Cavani’s brilliant diving header put United ahead (Matthew Childs/PA)

The Uruguayan’s life was made easier after not being tracked by Serge Aurier, but his header from Greenwood’s cross was superb and planted into the bottom corner.

Cavani almost undid his good work at the other end as he headed against his own post when trying to clear a corner, but that was as good as it got for Spurs, who did not threaten further.

Instead, it was United who killed the game at the death with Greenwood firing in at the near post.