EPL: Tale of two halves

EPL: Tale of two halves



Manchester United named their first unchanged first 11 in consecutive league matches for the first time since Nov 2012. What did you make of that?

HOUGHTON: I think the move backfired.

Louis van Gaal said after the match that he felt it was the best 45 minutes of football his side had played in the first half this season, and I completely agree with that.

But, in the second half, the whole team looked tired.

Strikers Radamel Falcao and Robin van Persie hardly touched the ball in the last 15 minutes.

Tottenham started the match brightly, but I felt the Red Devils had the better opportunities, more control and possession of the ball, and showed really good movement.

United have been unconvincing in some of their recent wins but they were great in the first half yesterday.

In you opinion, what could van Gaal have done differently in terms of selection?

You look at the squad and there didn't seem much he could have done differently, especially with stars such as Angel di Maria and Daley Blind out injured.

It's difficult. But then again, when you're Manchester United, you're expected to have options.

Perhaps he could have left either Falcao or van Persie on the bench.

One of them could have come in in the second half to give the attack a boost.

In the end, he made three substitutions and all the players he brought on - Rafael da Silva, Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw - were defenders.

Was it wastefulness or the heroics of Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris the reason behind United's failure to score?

I felt it was the latter. In fact, both goalkeepers were excellent today.

Lloris and David de Gea were commanding in their own box, led their backlines well and they bailed their team out of trouble a number of times by dashing off their lines.

United were wasteful only in two instances.

The first was in the 22nd minute, when Juan Mata's free-kick struck the post and United failed to put the ball in during the scramble in the six-yard box.

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