Manchester United 1, Tottenham Hotspur 0: Mauricio Pochettino keeps faith in title challenge despite Spurs slipping 10 points behind leaders Chelsea

 
Frank Dalleres
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Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Mkhitaryan struck his first Premier League goal for United in the 29th minute (Source: Getty)

Manchester United 1, Tottenham Hotspur 0

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino believes his team can still catch runaway leaders Chelsea despite a second defeat in three Premier League matches leaving them 10 points off the pace.

A ferocious first-half strike by Henrikh Mkhitaryan proved decisive on Sunday as Manchester United recorded a first top-flight victory at Old Trafford since September.

Read more: Kane declares Wembley curse lifted as Spurs stay in Europe

Pochettino pointed to the transformation of Antonio Conte’s Chelsea after a faltering start to the season as proof that his team could recover their title-challenging form of last term and rival the Blues.

“The Premier League is tough and Chelsea started very bad. They changed the system and look where they are now,” he said.

“That is our second game we lost, Chelsea and here. We are in a good position. It is a long way to the end of the season. It is a disappointing result but it was a very competitive game and we can take positive things from it.”

United boss Jose Mourinho, meanwhile, relished cutting the gap to fifth-placed Spurs to three points as his team look to keep up the chase for Champions League qualification.

“To win this match puts us in a position where we can feel them. We can be in touch,” he said.

Mourinho also played down an injury to match-winner Mkhitaryan, who had to be carried off in the closing stages following a tackle from Tottenham left-back Danny Rose.

Read more: Mkhitaryan sends United into last 32 but Saints crash out

He added: “We don’t think it’s a serious injury. I was afraid it was serious but it looks like it’s not. Maximum a couple of weeks.”

The Armenia attacking midfielder struck his first league goal for United in the 29th minute, haring onto Ander Herrera’s pass and slamming his finish high past goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

Tottenham laboured in attack but Paul Pogba came close to adding a second for United after half-time, thumping the bar with a free-kick and then forcing Lloris to tip another shot round the post.

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