Marcus Rashford scored twice as Manchester United condemned former manager Jose Mourinho to defeat on his return to Old Trafford and ended Tottenham’s three-match winning streak under the Portuguese.
Rashford beat Tottenham keeper Paulo Gazzaniga at his near post after six minutes after the ball had broken to the England forward off Davinson Sanchez.
Then, after a long wait for a VAR check, Rashford kept his nerve to convert a penalty four minutes after the break, once it had been ruled the striker had been fouled by Moussa Sissoko.
Dele Alli had equalised with a brilliant goal at the end of the first half but United were good value for their victory after creating a number of excellent chances they failed to take.
Rashford was unable to become the first United player to score a league hat-trick since Robin van Persie’s memorable effort against Aston Villa in 2013 but he now has 12 goals in 13 games for club and country, and his nine Premier League goals leave him one short of his season best.
As expected, Mourinho was well received by the United fans, who never fell out with their former manager and have no particular axe to grind with him.
That respect will never match the affection Old Trafford has for Solskjaer though.
And the Norwegian used memories from his playing days to get the crowd up for the game by emerging last from the tunnel, triggering a song in his honour and the start of what proved to be a lively atmosphere.
Evidence of change at United came with a team that contained only five players Mourinho picked for the corresponding fixture last season.
That August night ended in a 3-0 defeat for United and an angry Mourinho demand for the media to show him some “respect” for his three Premier League titles.
The first of those triumphs is over 15 years ago now. Mourinho’s task is to show his best days are not behind him.
He didn’t make a particularly brilliant job of that in his last weeks in Manchester and, as happened so often then, tonight he spent long periods in his technical area with his hands in his pockets watching his team get outplayed.
His substitutes failed to inspire and with eight goals conceded in four games, Mourinho evidently has some work to do defensively.
At the end, he moved to shake Solskjaer’s hand before striding purposefully away to try and lift his players.