Jan 31 (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur solidified their top- four credentials with a dominant 2-0 win over Manchester United in front of a Premier League record attendance at Wembley on Wednesday.
The crowd of 81,978 saw Tottenham dismantle United to move within five points of their rivals.
With 11 seconds gone and fans still finding their seats, Spurs snatched a stunning early lead with the joint third fastest goal in Premier League history.
United failed to deal with a long ball forward and after Dele Alli’s shot was blocked, Dane Christian Eriksen was on hand to sweep home.
Replays showed that Harry Kane, who won the initial header that led to the goal, was inside the United half at kickoff but United manager Mourinho will be furious with the defending from his side, who came into the game with the best defensive record in the league.
Time and time again, the Spurs forwards were able to get in behind the centre-back partnership of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones to cause United problems.
The pressure eventually told when, just before the hour-mark, Jones turned Kieran Trippier’s cross into his own net under little pressure to double Spurs’ lead.
After halftime, Alexis Sanchez, making his league debut for United, moved into a more central position as United chased the game.
But it was Spurs who always looked the more likely to score the third goal, the hosts firing in 15 shots on David De Gea’s goal and Eriksen going closest with a strike that flew inches wide.
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino praised his players for a “fantastic” performance yet warned there are many more challenges to come.
“The most important thing now is to keep going and be consistent. It is not easy to keep up this kind of performance because we are going to play every three or four days,” the Argentine told reporters.
“We need to rest before we play against Liverpool - a very good team, in my opinion one of the best in England.”
Mourinho was left fuming at the mistakes which led to Eriksen’s early goal.
“(Conceding) after kickoff it is ridiculous. It is especially ridiculous because the players watched this before when we analysed the opponents,” the Portuguese said.
“Four mistakes after 15 seconds and then you are losing 1-0 against a good team.”
The win put Tottenham, in fifth, two points behind Liverpool and Chelsea as second-placed United slipped 15 points behind leaders Manchester City.
Reporting by Jack Tarrant, editing by Ed Osmond