Manchester United vs Tottenham result: Five things we learned as Harry Kane helps Spurs humiliate Red Devils

Tottenham Hotspur fell behind in the opening seconds of the game but quickly recovered to trounce Manchester United 6-1 at Old Trafford.

Anthony Martial was fouled for a penalty inside 30 seconds, scored by Bruno Fernandes, but the French forward was sent-off before the half-hour mark for a hand to the face of Erik Lamela – by which time United were already dead and buried.

Tanguy Ndombele swept home an equaliser, Son Heung-min clipped in a second and teed up Harry Kane for a third, before Son netted another shortly before half-time.

United tried to tighten up with a double sub at half-time but further damage was inflicted by Serge Aurier and a Kane penalty, while Luke Shaw was also lucky not to see red.

Here are five things we learned from the Premier League game on Sunday.

The Son-Kane link-up works both ways

After Kane set up four goals in a game for Son recently, Spurs would have been heartened to see that continue, with the English striker teeing up his Korean team-mate for another early on here.

But it worked the other way round, too: Son the provider, Kane the beneficiary, as the Spurs No. 10 first won the ball on the edge of the United box and eventually buried the chance for 3-1.

The two were excellent all through the first half, harassing the back line, swapping quick passes and fashioning a bundle of chances for Tottenham – even while United had 11 players.

They are maybe the most in-form pairing in the league at the start of this season – and there’s still Gareth Bale to add to the front line, of course.

Lindelof isn’t the issue

If Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s habit is to conduct post-match reviews with his squad, perhaps going over video segments of areas where the team could have done better, it’s a good job there are a couple of weeks until the next game – that’s how long they’ll need.

Victor Lindelof has been criticised of late and suggested to be the component which needs upgrading – but he didn’t feature here and the defence was horrendous.

His replacement, Eric Bailly, actually showed a reasonable level of commitment to the cause and made several big blocks, but those around him were lacking concentration at best, inept at worst.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka was at least not directly responsible for on-the-ball disasters, but positionally was non-existent. Luke Shaw was missing in action all too often too, easily bypassed and lost in the rotation of Spurs’ attack, and was bizarrely hauled down by Harry Maguire when trying to clear in the build-up to one goal.

Maguire himself, captain and supposed organiser-in-chief, was abysmal. He was beaten for headers, got drawn out of position, was passed around and lost possession – a major disappointment for United and significant part of the reason for their hammering.

As for Shaw’s late swipe of Lucas Moura, he should have been sent-off for a petulant and dangerous chop down of the Brazilian winger.

Transfer talk the easy answer for United

What’s next for United? Transfer deadline day seems rather relevant.

They are strongly linked with moves for Edinson Cavani and Alex Telles, but unless the Uruguayan fancies himself as a new age version of Dion Dublin or Gary Doherty, neither are likely to beef up United’s dismal heart of the defence.

The chatter will continue to be on Jadon Sancho, no doubt, but United have talented attackers already – they didn’t get service here, they didn’t have the work rate required and they certainly didn’t stop the opposition creating chances down the flanks.

Coaching, individual leadership, a better tactical appreciation of the unit?

Something needs to change for this Manchester United side before any big-money additions make any significant difference to the direction the team are heading.

Mourinho’s masterclass

How much would Jose Mourinho have loved this? Not just beating his old side on their own patch, but leaving them far lower in the league than when he was there, and battering them in the process.

The start for Spurs wasn’t clever, but their off-the-ball defensive work was much better than United’s when it was 11 vs 11. After the red card is irrelevant in those terms of defensive set-up, winning back possession and attacking intent, but the work rate isn’t – and again Spurs beat United here.

This was Mourinho’s near-perfect day, when after the break he could set the team up to dominate, beat down on United’s low morale even further and seize any counter-attacking chances.

Spurs have a great chance of the top four this season which is in no small part down to the manager, and this result proves they have the beating of this direct rival tactically and mentally.

Time to reassess

Next up is the international break, which comes at a good time for both, it seems.

Spurs have had a ridiculous run of fixtures, and while some players will head off for Nations League games and the like, the hope will be that none play more than twice across the two weeks.

For United, it’s about an internal review of sorts: the next game is a must-win, with a must-improve performance and a must-be-perfect attitude.

They lost to Palace, could easily have been beaten by Brighton and have been hammered here – it’s a woeful start, with Newcastle to come next…then PSG, Chelsea, Leipzig and Arsenal.

A defining period may lie ahead.

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