Player Ratings

GK: David de Gea (7) – The Spaniard was only playing because United’s regular cup-keeper, Sergio Romero, was injured; nevertheless, he had a strong outing, comfortable in his handling and distribution, but was helpless for Spurs’ goal

RB: Antonio Valencia (6) – One of the weaker performers on the day. He struggled to keep up with Son Heung-min, and was uncharacteristically rash in the tackle. Poor with the ball as well, this was a below-par game for the United captain

CB: Chris Smalling (7) – Did extremely well to shackle an admittedly off-colour Harry Kane. Started tentatively, but grew in confidence as the game progressed, and showed far more ambition in possession than in recent weeks

CB: Phil Jones (8) – It was a superb performance from Jones, who barely put a foot wrong all game. Strong and assertive in the challenge, he did not allow Spurs’ forwards to get the better of him all evening, and stepped forward to begin attacks from the back as well

LB: Ashley Young (6) – Caught out of position badly for the first goal, and struggled to have an impact in the first half. Improved by leaps and bounds after the break

CM: Nemanja Matic (7) – A typically calm outing for the Serbian, as he controlled proceedings in midfield, and frequently passed his way out of trouble

CM: Ander Herrera (9) – Herrera has struggled to reach the levels that made him United’s player of the season last year; this, however, was a performance befitting that status. The Spaniard was everywhere, hassling and harrying, aggressive in the tackle, and providing a superb finish for the winner as well. An all-round performance for the ages

CM: Paul Pogba (8) – Began slowly, as he was caught out for Spurs’ opener. Grew into the game, and provided a microcosm of his talent by first dispossessing Mousa Dembele, and then floating an inch-perfect cross for Alexis Sanchez to net the equalizer. Imposed himself on midfield after that with superb passing and dribbling

RW: Jesse Lingard (7) – Lingard failed to score at his favourite ground, but his tireless pressing and intelligent positioning were important in helping United wrest back control of the match

LW: Alexis Sanchez (8) – The Chilean’s displays have gone to a different level in recent weeks, and this was no different. Showed much greater understanding with his attacking counterparts, with some slick movement, and scored a brilliant header to get United on level terms

CF: Romelu Lukaku (7) – One of those games for the Belgian, where his work off the ball was almost as vital as if he had scored a goal. Roamed all across the line, popping up on either flank to trouble the Spurs’ defensive line, and while he could have used the ball better, was an excellent outlet on the break too

Substitutes –

RB: Matteo Darmian (N/A) – Came on for an injured Valencia with ten minutes to play, and managed to deal with any last-minute Spurs attacks

CM: Marouane Fellaini (N/A) – Came on as a timewasting tactic right at the death, and even then managed to get his head onto the ball to clear it from the United area

RW: Marcus Rashford (N/A) – Replaced Lingard with minutes to go, and could have scored after racing through a deserted Spurs defence; denied by an excellent covering tackle

Man of the Match – Ander Herrera

While Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez took the headlines after the game, it was Herrera’s display that set the foundation for United’s triumph. He was literally everywhere, tackling ferociously, while also passing intelligently to set up counter-attacks, and he timed a late run into the box to perfection to score the winner. This was his best performance of the season so far, and a throwback to last campaign’s displays; the hope is that he now rediscovers his consistency.