It was far from a brisk and busy game when Manchester United played host to Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday in the Premier League.
Mauricio Pochettino had the monumental task to tweaking his side without top scorer Harry Kane, who was sidelined with injury, while Jose Mourinho had to arrest the perceived regress amid deepened anxieties over the recent unconvincing run of results.
Both sides were seemingly there for the taking in a game of both halves, but it was Jose who had the last laugh courtesy of a late goal by Anthony Martial.
Anthony Martial has developed notoriety for scoring late off the bench; the strike against Spurs being his fourth in the Premier League this season.
There was a show of diffidence from the Old Trafford faithful when the 21-year old came on for Marcus Rashford with twenty minutes left on the clock, and rightly so as the England international had posed the most potent threat from Manchester United.
Jose’s decision was however justified and well founded, as Martial ravaged past the Tottenham defense- following a Romelu Lukaku header- to thump the leather past Hugo Lloris in the 81st minute.
The France international has often been denied virulently whenever he makes the first XI, which forms a solid argument as to why he should be used as a super sub.
Manchester United looked certain to drop points against Spurs given their recent lukewarm nature and abysmal showing during the opening exchanges.
Jose Mourinho had been hung out to dry for his defensive approach against Liverpool, with tabloids desperate to propagate a narrative that the United gaffer was losing key voices in the dressing room.
The home support may have been disgruntled at the coming off of Rashford, but they couldn’t begrudge Mourinho for bringing on Martial.
In full voice, the Old Trafford support proved just enough to get United over the line against a resilient, well organized Pochettino side.
Knowing Mourinho with the limited selection options available against a potential title challenger, securing a draw would be the best of all his worst options.
But the Portuguese manager once again lived up to the box office billing as ‘the Special One’, as he bought a ticket and ended up winning the raffle- and not for the first time.
Written by Brian Humphrey
Follow Brian on Twitter @brihum
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