The spurs will not simply disappear after scoring an insurmountable one-man barrier in the shape of United goalkeeper David de Gea against United – but that loss makes it even harder for them to keep up with Liverpool and Manchester City.
Yet, in the midst of despair, the ray of light could emerge from the afterglow of United’s victory and the recent success in their remarkable revival under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Mauricio Pochettino was the name on everyone’s lips when Jose Mourinho paid his bill and checked out at The Lowry Hotel after he was released by United in mid-December. The Argentinian, who has long been associated with Old Trafford, bit the “Special Special” after losing in Liverpool.
Solskjaer was a surprising choice to keep the seat warm. United Woods’ deputy chairman, Ed Woodward, and his mediators had time to think about a poorly judged decision-making process, in which Mourinho, Louis van Gaal, and initially the hapless David Moyes, had succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson and United as their own Consider rivals.
The 45-year-old Norwegian was effectively loaned by Molde at home after failing in the Premier League when he led Cardiff City into the championship. It was a decision to temporarily bring management back into the house with their former striker, to take advantage of United’s previous assets and to revive a squad that seemed to live a life of misery under Mourinho.
At this early stage, there must still be serious concerns as to whether Solskjaer will hand over the reins in the long run, but will thus win and build on a positive tactical platform of an emerging team, before a truly extraordinary performance from the goalkeeper of David de Gea is reinforced his case,
At the final whistle he went to Wembley Lawn to receive the recognition of thousands of United fans who sang his name regularly and thunderously during a sixth straight win.
This has been his most accurate test so far. None of his previous successes was anything else than expected, although nothing was certain given the shabby state United had at the time of Mourinho’s release.
Solskjaer received top marks for positivity and a repertoire using the pace and agility of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial instead of the physicality of Romelu Lukaku.
The second half may have relied on De Gea, but the basic requirements for the win were created by the forward-looking prospects that gave Rashford a half-time advantage.
Could this prolonged renaissance under Solskjaer at least mean that this loss gives Spurs greater hope that United will look elsewhere than in the north of London?
It has always been an arrogant assumption that Pochettino, who has built a good working relationship with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy and enjoys control over football affairs, just drops everything at Old Trafford.
Spurs will (eventually) move into a magnificent new stadium, and Pochettino has built incredibly close relationships with his players throughout his time in the club.
If United had taken its step and was willing to pay the £ 40 million it had announced, the remainder of the five-year deal signed by the Argentine in May 2018 would have to be bought. Levy would either leaf through it, or would Pochettino accept it automatically?
However, it would undoubtedly be a great relief for the Spurs if Solskjaer performs so well that United stopped by closer to home and entered into the kind of deal with Molde that would be little more than a formality.
Real Madrid might say something more, but there is no doubt that Spurs is currently very interested in seeing Solskjaer running so well that his train car, which is currently running at a fair pace, is experiencing an unstoppable momentum.
It is a small consolation that, after such a disappointing result, this would be a consideration that has been billed in some areas as a confrontation between Pochettino and Solskjaer – though not by the two central characters of the subplot.
Pochettino is crucial to everything Spurs wants to accomplish as they prepare to move to their new home, and he may feel that he has some important tasks left to do, having been difficult since his appointment in May 2014 tangible first trophy seeks.
The sight of Captain Harry Kane, the most important and influential person, who clung hopelessly to the pain of defeat, limped heavily as he walked into the locker room the last time, accompanied by a physiotherapist.
The diagnosis was a twisted ankle that caused a frustrated and clearly concerned Pochettino to admit, “I’m worried, this could be a big problem for us.”
It is the injury that Pochettino and Spurs most fear. The team is as talented and adaptable as they have been before, but the idea of a life without Kane is temporarily an inedible one.
And with another successful shooter, Heung-Min Son, who is now leaving the United Arab Emirates to represent South Korea in the Asian Cup, the closet threatens to suddenly look naked. Fernando Llorente has no serious goal weight, while Vincent Janssen is literally the forgotten man.
Pochettino and Spurs may suddenly face a dilemma in the remaining weeks of the transfer window if Kane’s next health bulletin is pessimistic.
They had pulled out of Wembley on Sunday night when they left the club. The fact that Solskjer’s recent success was at their expense could reinforce his case to become a permanent Manchester United. This was possibly the best thing they could do.