Report: Rooney finds the net in Spurs defeat; United poor throughout


Manchester United were beaten 2-1 by Tottenham Hotspur in their final match at White Hart Lane as we know it. It took Victor Wanyama just six minutes to find the opener, with Harry Kane scoring a second just after the restart. United got a goal back through Wayne Rooney in the 67th minute of the match, but struggled for large spells of the game with Spurs up for the victory – saying goodbye to the Lane as they head to Wembley to play their home matches next season whilst their new stadium is built.

Jose Mourinho made eight changes from the side which earned a UEFA Europa League final place by beating Celta Vigo on aggregate on Thursday with David De Gea, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Axel Tuanzebe, Michael Carrick, Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Anthony Martial all returning to the starting XI. Mourinho looks set to play in the 3-4-3 formation, which is defensive, meaning United may set up to draw, which will not placate many. That being said, there are some good attacking outlets in the team, along with pace in places, so it could be one of those matches like the recent victory over Chelsea. It took Spurs just six minutes to take the lead with Victor Wanyama scoring a header past David De Gea with Rooney defending the danger of the Kenyan midfielder.

After conceding in the opening six minutes, Spurs were pegging United back into their own half where they were having to defend and create deep, which was not going to get them anywhere, seemingly inviting the pressure Spurs could give them. United did get forward on a few occasions, the best through Anthony Martial, who had a shot which was off target. Spurs got the better of United once again, had a shot on goal which was palmed away by De Gea with United then clearing the ball from danger. United seemed to be out of their depth with Jones not being the defender needed to stop Spurs, United seemed to be exposed with him on the pitch. Harry Kane had a shot on goal, from a Christian Eriksen cross, which was headed over the crossbar for a goal kick.

In the 27th minute of the match, United won a free-kick after Wanyama fouled Eric Bailly, kicking the back of his knee, which seemed to hurt the Ivorian. United were unable to get anything from the free-kick with Spurs regaining possession and winning their own free-kick at the edge of the United area. The distance between these United and Spurs sides was massive in terms of ability. Smalling and Jones were showing the manager why he should sell him and Rooney was showing his drastic decline since the start of the season, I’m not that he was not in decline before the season started. Spurs had another shot on goal through Delle Alli, which was put out for a corner, which came to nothing. Rooney was booked for a challenge on Eriksen in the 37th minute.

In the final few minutes of the first half, United were still defending with Spurs the better side; they have had two passes for each United pass, which shows the difference between the two sides. United were missing Paul Pogba, whose father died over the weekend, meaning he was excused for this match and could be back in contention against Southampton on Wednesday evening, along with Marouane Fellaini, who returns from suspension. A minute of added time was played at the end of the first half with Spurs getting another shot on goal, which De Gea thwarted. The first half ended 1-0 to Spurs with United needing to do a lot in order to turn this match around. So far so good for Spurs’ last match at White Hart Lane as we know it.

Three minutes into the second half, Spurs found a second goal through Harry Kane after a precise free-kick from Eriksen and some more pathetic defending from Chris Smalling. To think he’s a full international makes be worry about the future of football. Ajax will be salivating in the fact that Jones and Smalling will play in the UEFA Europa League final, or at least the chances of one of them playing will be quite high. The performance was dire by United, a clueless game of football. Spurs were running riot and United failing to do anything to stop them. It makes me wonder if Mourinho was giving certain players enough rope to hang themselves with. Mourinho made a double substitution with Ander Herrera and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to replace Axel Tuanzebe and Jesse Lingard.

In the 63rd minute, still 2-0 down, Martial tried to get his team back into the match bending a shot towards the goal but it was wide of the mark.  United did get one goal back with Wayne Rooney claiming the goal which seemed to come off the Spurs defender. It was some great work by Martial, who set the effort up for the captain. United were back in the game, albeit by the score, not the actual performance as some just don’t seem to be trying. Marcus Rashford was the final substitute for United, replacing Juan Mata in the 79th minute of the match with United still trailing 2-1. Five minutes of added time was played at the end of the match inside which Marcus Rashford broke through on the attack, having a chance to draw level, seeing his shot go wide.

United needed to think themselves luck that they were not shown up even more today. To have two England internationals in the heart of defence, another, the captain in midfield and not pushing this Spurs side to get a result United needed was dire. Yes, United cannot break into the top four this season, but it also shows they have no pride either. United were defeated 2-1 and seemingly marching onwards to Wednesday’s match away to Southampton, which will probably be much like this match, depleted, dire and a poor quality of football from a team who should be aiming so much higher.

Goals: Wayne Rooney 71′

Assists: Anthony Martial 71′

Manchester United: De Gea; Bailly, Jones, Smalling Tuanzebe (Herrera 61′), Carrick, Rooney, Blind; Mata (Rashford 79′), Martial, Lingard (Mkhitaryan 61′)

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Darmian, Mitchell; McTominay

Bookings: Wayne Rooney 37′, Eric Bailly 90+1′

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