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Tottenham delivered one of their best performances of the season against a Manchester United team that were utterly lifeless and lacking any sort of game plan.

José Mourinho’s men will be bitterly disappointed with themselves after being sucked into this top four race now when they had a healthy margin that saw them above their main competitors.

Here are five things we learned from Manchester United’s shocking display…

Manchester United’s defence will get them only so far

It took just 10 seconds for Tottenham to score the opening goal against United. A goal that, in truth, should have been thwarted with relative ease.

But there was a reason why Mourinho sets up his team in a more defensive manner against the ‘bigger’ teams, and that was because he does not trust them against very quick opponents. Chris Smalling had an absolute nightmare at the back after continually failing to track his marker thoroughly.

There were a number of occasions in which both Smalling and Ashley Young were nowhere to be seen when the Red Devils needed them the most. Mourinho was vexed and he had every right to be.

Eric Bailly and Marcos Rojo have both been a huge miss after being ruled out through injury for most of the season, and it showed out there throughout the 90 minutes with United’s defensive shape considerably lacking.

Why was Luke Shaw not trusted at Wembley?

Given Mourinho’s recent praise of the England international, it was surprising to see the Portuguese boss not include Luke Shaw in the starting XI.

Ashley Young got the nod over Shaw but had an absolutely shambolic performance – as did Manchester United’s collective defence – and the Red Devils would have been better off with the defensive diligence of Shaw.

It does appear that Shaw has regained the confidence and faith of his manager, but that will only be 100% proven once he starts playing a major part in the matches that truly matter. Perhaps Mourinho has plans for him in the Champions League knockout rounds, but it was disappointing not to see Shaw selected when they could have done with him.

Alexis Sanchez [Man United]
Alexis Sanchez [Man United]
Lack of urgency astounding

Mourinho was rightly fuming throughout the game, mostly due to United’s lack of defensive organisation, but also because of the lack of urgency coming from the players.

Christian Eriksen had a wonderful game, but it was more of a training exercise for the Danish international as Manchester United’s players allowed him all the space in the world to either pick his pass or take the shot on.

United’s defence backed off, kept backing off and backed off some more from Tottenham’s forwards, which allowed them to get up the pitch and pin Manchester United deep inside their own half.

There was a lack of a competent midfield from the Red Devils and it most definitely did not have the vibrant energy that Spurs’ had when pressing their opponents. Utterly lifeless.

Chris Smalling is not Manchester United standard

It has been unfortunate for Manchester United that Bailly and Rojo have been sidelined for the best part of the season, which has forced Mourinho to play Smalling in a partnership with his compatriot Jones.

Smalling, once again, had a performance that he will hope to quickly forget. His positioning, passing and overall composure was lacking considerably against Tottenham, which allowed them to drive into heaps of space and create chance after chance.

The former Fulham central defender has never looked good on the ball – one of the main reasons why England boss Gareth Southgate axed him from the national team – but he looked especially poor at Wembley where he was constantly on the back foot.

The transfer window might be shut but Manchester United, quite clearly, need another central defender who has the quality and ability to play in this team.

Mourinho must return to a three-man midfield

It has been said time and time again, but Mourinho simply has to play Paul Pogba in a three-man midfield if he is to see the best out of the Frenchman.

Source: Liam Canning|| Yahoo

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