Farewell White Hart Lane! Spurs sign off by rolling over Man United
Ex-players return to say goodbye to famous old ground in N17
14 May, 2017 — By Dan Carrier
SPURS 2, Manchester United 1
AS the fans finally made their way out of White Hart Lane this evening for the very last time, souvenirs and mementoes were being pilfered from the old ground, due to be demolished this summer.
And even the usually cool exterior of manager Mauricio Pochettino seemed to be cracking with emotion as he reflected on his side saying goodbye to the club’s 188 year tenure of their current ground with a well deserved 2-1 victory against Manchester United.
The win confirmed Spurs will finish as runners up in the league – and the final whistle sparked a wild pitch invasion, with thousands of fans piling down from the terraces and searching out the players to carry towards the tunnel.
“I’ve not taken anything yet,” the manager joked after a moving end of season ceremony that saw 49 ex-players take to the pitch and a Tottenham gospel choir lead fans through Spurs songs. “But I will look to see what is left after the players and fans have taken something.”
Hee didn’t have long to wait. In the Spurs media centre is a large photograph of his captain, Hugo Lloris, in action. After finishing interviews, Pochettino carried it off under his arm.
“It was an emotional game,” he added. “I feel I am a lucky guy to have been able to share in this – the story of this club, the special moment.”
He added that he and his players would take aim for the title next year, after being the best of the rest this term. “We worked very hard to achieve what we wanted this season,” he said. “We are sad and disappointed that Chelsea won the league but we will improve. We are happy with the performance of our players and I can say to the fans: Next season we will be giving it our best to win the league.”
Spurs showed just how far they have come in three years with Pochettino at the helm, swatting aside Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United with plenty to spare.
United simply didn’t look like they fancied it, and with Spurs fans imploring the team to engage steam roller mode, it felt like a question of how many Spurs would score rather than whether it would genuinely be a contest.
Backed by fans creating a party atmosphere, Tottenham tore into United and it took them just five minutes to open the scoring. A teasing cross by Ben Davies was met by Victor Wanyama. The midfielder slipped between two defenders to head home with real power.
It was one way traffic throughout. Harry Kane struck the bar with a header and Heung-Min Son burst through and was only denied by some excellent work by David De Gea.
Dele Alli thundered one effort goalbound that the United goalkeeper had to be at his very best to reach athletically and push over the bar.
Remarkably, there remained just a goal in it at half time, but as soon as the whistle was blown for the match to resume Spurs were looking for blood – and it came in the form of a classic centre forward’s finish from Kane. On 47 minutes, his speedy reactions saw him steer home on the volley.
The ever dangerous Alli had won a free kick by bursting forward and writhing through three challenges – and could only be stopped by a sandwich between Daley Blind and Chris Smalling. Eriksen swung over a cross, Eric Dier got a faint flick and Kane was on hand to smash home.
Spurs continued to toy with their opponents, soak up the songs and look for the spectacular. Both Alli and Eriksen seemed determined to sign off the Lane with a worldie everyone would remember, and all the tricks and touches were on display.
On a rare break forward, United gave themselves a lifeline with 20 minutes left when Juan Mata spread the play left, and a low cross was turned home from close range by Wayne Rooney.
Spurs regained their composure as the clock ticked down on the old Lane and could’ve increased their lead through Alli and then Kane, who both troubled De Gea.
By the full whistle, United looked ready to get out of N17 as quickly as possible and leave fans, players current and old, and club staff to bid the Lane an emotional farewell.
Spurs: Lloris, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Son (Dembele, 75), Kane, Wanyama, Dier, Trippier (Walker, 82), Alli, Eriksen (Nkoudou 90)
Subs not used: Janssen, Vorm, Sissoko, Wimmer