Manchester United received a welcome boost in the form of three points in the Premier League as they beat Spurs, although it ended with concern for goal scorer Edinson Cavani.
The victory over Nuno Espirito Santos’ team relieved some of the pressure that had built on Ole Gunnar Solskjær after their violent afternoon against Liverpool last weekend.
After finishing a series of four Premier League games without a win, their attention is now turning to the Champions League and a trip to Italy to play against Atalanta, who want to extend their lead at the top of Group F.
The victory led to a system change from Solskjær, as he chose to go to a 5-3-2 with Victor Lindelof and Cavani into the match to offer defensive stability and striking support to Cristiano Ronaldo.
When the match was out of reach, it played into the hands of the Norwegian, and he made the decision to exclude Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes with the score 2-0, which allowed important competition minutes for Nemanja Matic and the returning Marcus Rashford – who continued his scoring comeback with a goal late.
Cavani was forced out late in the second half, but although his condition has not yet been confirmed, the suspicion is that it was a touch of cramping rather than an injury.
As for Raphael Varane, his return was duly felt as the Reds kept their first clean sheet since the end of August, leading to the Frenchman receiving praise for a solid defensive display.
He missed the return from the international break, where United lost 4-2 and 5-0 to Leicester City and Jurgen Klopp’s teams, respectively, after suffering a groin injury on guard at Didier Deschamps.
Paul Pogba also began serving his suspension following his dismissal due to an outburst at Naby Keita, but his quarantine does not extend to European competitions and is set to be in the squad for Atalanta. .
Anthony Martial, who has also been in doubt about injuries in recent weeks, could be in action but was not part of the squad for the trip to north London after he was also hit by a blow on international service.
Amad Diallo could return to the fold as he increases his recovery from a thigh muscle problem. The former Atalanta man has been back in training for the past few weeks and made his competitive return with U-23 on Saturday.
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