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AVB helping Tottenham break the United hex
Manchester United have had something of a psychological onus over Tottenham, with the Red Devils getting used to bullying and battering Spurs over recent years.
However, with the North Londoners ending a 23 year drought by winning at Old Trafford earlier in the season, the unlikely prospect of a double over Sir Alex Ferguson’s men became a possibility.
Odds were still in favour of the visitors as the teams met on Sunday, and past Tottenham teams would have capitulated once Robin van Persie had put United ahead. However, credit must go to Spurs for their efforts to get a point out of a game that they are used to getting nothing from.
One only has to recollect instances in the past when Tottenham crumbled under the winning mentality of United. A 3-0 half time lead was relinquished at White Hart Lane in 2001, with five unanswered United goals in the second 45 minutes crushing the fans delight and the players’ confidence.
In fact, Tottenham’s 3-2 win at Old Trafford earlier in the season was the first time the White Hart Lane side had beat United in 26 attempts.
With Tottenham in a battle with London rivals Chelsea and Arsenal for a Champions League qualification berth this season once more, the point that the last-gasp Clint Dempsey effort secured may well prove to be very important come the end of the campaign.
In years gone by, and most recently under Harry Redknapp, Spurs fans became frustrated at their side’s lack of belief that they could beat United; the Red Devils had a certain hex over their Southern opponents.
However, given the fact that Andre Villas-Boas has taken four points from a possible six from the current Premier League leaders, a new maturity seems to have been instilled in the North London outfit.
Over both games that the sides have played against each other this season Spurs have ridden their luck; no question. Wayne Rooney should certainly have been awarded a penalty in the weekend’s clash, and the lateness of the hosts’ equaliser was clearly fortunate.
However, the doggedness and determination showcased by Spurs will come as quite the bonus to the White Hart Lane faithful, as the side refused to give up and accept another predictable reverse at United’s hands.
Dempsey’s equaliser was not one for the purists, but it was nothing less than Tottenham deserved after going toe-to-toe with their opponents from the first whistle to the last, creating the lion’s share of the goal-scoring chances.
The challenge now for Villas Boas and Spurs is to build on this confidence-boosting result and look to consolidate a top four place. The side’s next two Premier League games are both away from home, against Norwich and West Brom.
After recent victories away to Aston Villa and Sunderland, and salvaging a hard-earned point against United, it is critical that Spurs now look to kick on and truly believe that they are good enough to secure a Champions League qualification place.