Man United gather momentum with vital win over Spurs
Henrikh Mkhitaryan scores winner but is stretchered off as Mourinho's side close the gap on Spurs and City
Manchester United 1 Spurs 0
A goal from Henrikh Mkhitaryan earned United a precious three points as they closed the gap on Spurs and extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to eight matches.
Though the win leaves them six points behind Manchester City - who were humbled 4-2 at Leicester on Saturday - and a further seven behind league leaders Chelsea the momentum being created by the Red Devils bodes well as the packed holiday schedule approaches.
"It's an important win against a very good team," said Jose Mourinho. "We didn't deserve to spend the last ten or 15 minutes with our hearts in hands because we deserved the goal. At this moment 1-0 is magic because we needed the points."
The all-important goal came on 29 minutes when Mkhitaryan ran on to Ander Herrera's through ball and lashed it past Hugo Lloris into the roof of the net. It was the Armenian's first Premier League goal for the club but his afternoon ended with him being carried off on a stretcher with an ankle injury ten minutes from full-time.
"We don't think it's a serious injury," said Mourinho. "We don't think maybe Henrikh can play for a week. I was afraid it was serious but looks like it's not."
Tottenham had their share of possession but their only real chance came when a Christian Eriksen free-kick found the head of Victor Wanyama but he missed a sitter from six yards. "The team and the players are playing well," said Mourinho. "Now we go to Crystal Palace and West Brom and we are happy with the evolution of the team and the players believe... We still have our ambitions this season and to win this match puts in a position where we can fulfil them."
Having missed the chance to climb back into the top four, Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino lamented the fact that United "were more clinical" than his side. Nonetheless he insisted Spurs were still very much in the title race. "The concern is not too much," he said. "The Premier League is tough and Chelsea started very bad and for different circumstances they changed the system and look where they are now. There is too much time to recover the gap."
Asked if he was disappointed with his side's recent form - they've won just two of their last eight league matches - Pochettino said: "Yes...[but] we are in a good position. It is a long way to the end of the season. It is a disappointing result but if we analyse the game it was a very competitive game and we can take positive things from it."