Manchester United maintained the pressure on Premier League leaders Manchester City with victory at Tottenham.
Roberto Mancini's side extended their advantage to five points by beating Bolton Wanderers on Saturday - but United responded in style at White Hart Lane to close the gap once more.
Spurs, wounded by the 5-2 thrashing at neighbours Arsenal last Sunday, were the better side for spells and had an Emmanuel Adebayor strike ruled out for handball before Wayne Rooney headed United in front on the stroke of half-time.
And Sir Alex Ferguson, who surpassed Sir Matt Busby's Old Trafford record by taking charge of his 986th league match, watched on in delight as two spectacular strikes after the break from Ashley Young secured the points.
He scored with a spectacular far-post volley on the hour then improved on that nine minutes later with a long-range curling effort that flew into Brad Friedel's top corner with the Spurs keeper helpless.
Substitute Jermain Defoe pulled a goal back for Spurs with three minutes left but it was no consolation as they saw their lead over fourth-placed Arsenal reduced to four points.
It was a sobering day for Spurs manager Harry Redknapp, whose side's mini-slump has coincided with him emerging as favourite to replace Fabio Capello as England coach.
There were mitigating circumstances for Spurs here, with new England captain Scott Parker suspended after being sent off at Arsenal, Rafael van der Vaart injured and Gareth Bale a late withdrawal because of illness.
Even so, they acquitted themselves well for long periods - but simply could not muster the same firepower as United, who were helped in their mission by shoddy Spurs defending.
Ferguson flagged up the importance of victory in the build-up and the result was simply confirmation that they will lurk in City's shadow in the hope the pressure in the closing stages will affect their neighbours.
The United boss had Rooney back after a throat infection to bolster his side as they attempted to respond to City's victory.
The first half contained plenty of quality in possession but little end product - at least until Spurs thought they had made the breakthrough as the interval approached. Aaron Lennon escaped Phil Jones and played in Louis Saha, but Adebayor controlled the ball with his arm before turning in.
Spurs fans were vociferous in their protests and their sense of injustice increased as United took the lead, somewhat against the run of play, moments before half-time.
Sandro was booked by referee Martin Atkinson for a foul on Young, whose free-kick was cleared behind for a corner by Spurs. Rooney was then able to take advantage of slack marking to head Young's resulting corner past Friedel.
De Gea, who had earlier distinguished himself with a save from Adebayor, came to United's rescue once more six minutes after the restart with another low block from Jake Livermore's deflected shot.
Spurs were applying most of the pressure at this stage and De Gea was grateful to see Benoit Assou-Ekotto's free-kick glance off the bar, although the young Spaniard appeared to have the shot well covered.
But just as Spurs sensed a recovery, it was snuffed out. And the hosts were engineers of their own downfall as Young scored United's second.
Luka Modric switched off at a throw-in, allowing Nani to steal behind him and break into the box. Kyle Walker's attempted clearance from the centre ballooned into the air and Young was on hand to volley past Friedel.
Young was the marksman again as United ended any doubts about the result, picking up Patrice Evra's pass 30 yards out before delivering a precise finish high beyond the stretching Friedel.
Spurs, understandably, were deflated although Defoe did find the target in the closing stages with a shot from 20 yards that left De Gea stranded.
United have now passed two crucial away tests at Norwich City and Spurs - setting up the prospect of a fight to the finish in the title race.
- 24 Friedel
- 04 Kaboul
- 26 King
- 28 Walker
- 32 Assou-Ekotto
- 07 Lennon (Rose - 84' )
- 14 Modric
- 29 Livermore
- 30 Sandro Booked (Kranjcar - 80' )
- 10 Adebayor
- 15 Saha (Defoe - 80' )
- 23 Cudicini
- 20 Dawson
- 33 Nelsen
- 21 Kranjcar
- 25 Rose
- 17 Giovani
- 18 Defoe
- 01 De Gea
- 03 Evra
- 04 Jones Booked
- 05 Ferdinand
- 06 Evans Booked
- 16 Carrick
- 17 Nani (Park Ji-sung - 79' )
- 18 Young
- 22 Scholes (Giggs - 61' )
- 10 Rooney
- 19 Welbeck
- 40 Amos
- 20 Fabio
- 21 Rafael
- 08 Anderson
- 11 Giggs
- 13 Park Ji-sung
- 14 Hernandez
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee ends the match.90:00 +3:10
Corner taken right-footed by Younes Kaboul from the right by-line to the near post, Danny Welbeck manages to make a clearance.90:00 +2:56
Jonathan Evans challenges Emmanuel Adebayor unfairly and gives away a free kick. Niko Kranjcar restarts play with the free kick.90:00 +2:02
The offside flag is raised against Jermain Defoe. David De Gea takes the indirect free kick.90:00 +1:52
The ball is sent over by Danny Rose.90:00 +1:43
Kyle Walker delivers the ball, clearance made by Phil Jones.90:00 +1:28
A cross is delivered by Benoit Assou-Ekotto, clearance by Rio Ferdinand.90:00 +0:30
Kyle Walker produces a cross.88:30
Jermain Defoe has shot on goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.87:59
Luka Modric takes the direct free kick.87:59 Booking
Booking Jonathan Evans is booked.87:56
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Danny Rose by Jonathan Evans.86:57 Goal scored
Goal! - Jermain Defoe - Tottenham 1 - 3 Man Utd Jermain Defoe grabs a goal from just outside the penalty box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Tottenham 1-3 Man Utd.83:53 Substitution
Substitution Danny Rose joins the action as a substitute, replacing Aaron Lennon.82:58
The ball is swung over by Patrice Evra, Younes Kaboul manages to make a clearance.79:15 Substitution
Substitution Jermain Defoe joins the action as a substitute, replacing Louis Saha.79:15 Substitution
Substitution (Tottenham) makes a substitution, with Niko Kranjcar coming on for Raniere Sandro.78:58 Substitution
Substitution Luis Nani goes off and Ji-Sung Park comes on.77:11
The ball is swung over by Patrice Evra, clearance made by Younes Kaboul.75:43
Unfair challenge on Danny Welbeck by Ledley King results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Phil Jones.
Wayne Rooney gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Louis Saha. Free kick crossed by Luka Modric, clearance by Phil Jones.73:04
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jonathan Evans by Emmanuel Adebayor. Free kick taken by Rio Ferdinand.72:22
Aaron Lennon takes a shot from just inside the penalty box which clears the crossbar.71:14
Emmanuel Adebayor concedes a free kick for a foul on Patrice Evra. Rio Ferdinand takes the free kick.70:11
Raniere Sandro challenges Wayne Rooney unfairly and gives away a free kick. Rio Ferdinand takes the indirect free kick.68:06
Patrice Evra provided the assist for the goal.68:06 Goal scored
Goal! - Ashley Young - Tottenham 0 - 3 Man Utd Ashley Young grabs a goal from just outside the box to the top right corner of the goal. Tottenham 0-3 Man Utd.67:31
The ball is crossed by Luis Nani, clearance by Younes Kaboul.66:55
Corner taken by Ryan Giggs from the right by-line.66:47
The ball is crossed by Phil Jones, Ledley King makes a clearance.65:47
Benoit Assou-Ekotto takes a shot. Comfortable save by David De Gea.65:41
The ball is swung over by Luka Modric, Ryan Giggs makes a clearance.65:33
Corner taken short by Luka Modric.65:26
Kyle Walker crosses the ball, clearance made by Rio Ferdinand.63:49
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Kyle Walker by Ashley Young. Free kick crossed right-footed by Luka Modric from right wing.63:38
The ball is swung over by Kyle Walker, clearance made by Michael Carrick.61:24
The ball is crossed by Aaron Lennon, Benoit Assou-Ekotto produces a left-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the right of the target.60:39 Substitution
Substitution Ryan Giggs on for Paul Scholes.59:38
Luis Nani produces a cross, clearance made by Ledley King.59:37
Assist by Luis Nani.59:37 Goal scored
Goal! - Ashley Young - Tottenham 0 - 2 Man Utd Ashley Young finds the back of the net with a goal from the edge of the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Tottenham 0-2 Man Utd.57:02
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Luka Modric by Patrice Evra. Benoit Assou-Ekotto produces a strike on goal direct from the free kick,56:24
Corner taken by Luka Modric played to the near post, Patrice Evra manages to make a clearance.56:17
Centre by Aaron Lennon, Rio Ferdinand manages to make a clearance.55:59
Louis Saha takes a shot. Jonathan Evans gets a block in.54:31
Unfair challenge on Paul Scholes by Emmanuel Adebayor results in a free kick. Rio Ferdinand restarts play with the free kick.51:50
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Luka Modric, Headed effort from deep inside the penalty area by Younes Kaboul misses to the left of the goal.51:36
Jake Livermore takes a shot. Save by David De Gea.51:01
Paul Scholes challenges Luka Modric unfairly and gives away a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Jake Livermore.50:42
The ball is swung over by Aaron Lennon, clearance made by Jonathan Evans.49:06
Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Luka Modric, Headed effort from inside the area by Younes Kaboul misses to the right of the goal.48:09
Unfair challenge on Emmanuel Adebayor by Phil Jones results in a free kick. Free kick crossed by Luka Modric, Michael Carrick makes a clearance.47:15
Benoit Assou-Ekotto gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Wayne Rooney. Phil Jones restarts play with the free kick.45:01
The referee gets the second half underway.45:00 +1:07 Half time
Half Time It is the end of the first-half.44:30
The assist for the goal came from Ashley Young.44:30 Goal scored
Goal! - Wayne Rooney - Tottenham 0 - 1 Man Utd Wayne Rooney scores a headed goal from deep inside the penalty area. Tottenham 0-1 Man Utd.44:00
Ashley Young takes the inswinging corner,43:07
The free kick is delivered right-footed by Ashley Young from left wing.43:07 Booking
Booking Booking for Raniere Sandro for unsporting behaviour.42:58
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ashley Young by Raniere Sandro.42:04
Foul by Emmanuel Adebayor on Phil Jones, free kick awarded. David De Gea takes the direct free kick.41:33
Wayne Rooney challenges Raniere Sandro unfairly and gives away a free kick. Younes Kaboul takes the direct free kick.40:09
The referee gives a free kick against Emmanuel Adebayor for handball. Free kick taken by David De Gea.40:01
Benoit Assou-Ekotto delivers the ball.38:54
A cross is delivered by Patrice Evra, Luka Modric makes a clearance.37:05
The referee penalises Emmanuel Adebayor for handball. Free kick taken by David De Gea.36:44
Louis Saha takes a shot. Emmanuel Adebayor gets a block in.35:32
Ashley Young takes the outswinging corner, Wayne Rooney takes a shot. Brad Friedel makes a comfortable save.34:11
Centre by Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Patrice Evra makes a clearance.33:30
Aaron Lennon crosses the ball, clearance by Michael Carrick.30:52
Centre by Raniere Sandro, Phil Jones manages to make a clearance.29:54
The ball is crossed by Luka Modric.29:20
A cross is delivered by Luka Modric, clearance by Wayne Rooney.29:10
Luka Modric takes the inswinging corner, clearance made by Danny Welbeck.29:01
Younes Kaboul produces a drilled right-footed shot from 20 yards. Blocked by Jonathan Evans.27:58
Aaron Lennon takes the free kick.27:58 Booking
Booking The referee shows Phil Jones a yellow card.27:32
Free kick awarded for a foul by Phil Jones on Louis Saha.26:15
The ball is crossed by Ashley Young.22:02
The ball is sent over by Aaron Lennon, Ashley Young manages to make a clearance.20:10
Aaron Lennon produces a cross, Phil Jones manages to make a clearance.18:30
Corner from the right by-line taken by Luka Modric, Header by Younes Kaboul from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the goal.18:20
Emmanuel Adebayor has an effort at goal from 12 yards. Save made by David De Gea.16:23
The ball is delivered by Benoit Assou-Ekotto, save by David De Gea.15:48
Louis Saha takes a shot. David De Gea makes a comfortable save.9:51
Luis Nani gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Benoit Assou-Ekotto. Benoit Assou-Ekotto takes the free kick.8:44
Wayne Rooney has a drilled shot. Save made by Brad Friedel.6:16
Emmanuel Adebayor takes a shot from deep inside the box clearing the bar.5:19
Danny Welbeck has an effort at goal from the edge of the box that misses to the right of the target.4:28
Louis Saha has a drilled shot. Save made by David De Gea.4:17
Louis Saha takes a shot. Blocked by Rio Ferdinand.0:00
The match gets underway.
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